Tag Archives: employment decisions


Donald Morrow Joins Marcus & Millichap

Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Service has named Donald Morrow regional manager of its Phoenix office.
“Donald’s many years of experience in leadership roles within the commercial real estate industry will make him an extremely valuable resource for our agents and clients,” says John J. Kerin, president and chief executive officer of the Phoenix office. “He will strengthen our presence by recruiting experienced investment professionals to join our nucleus of agents in Phoenix and will expand our services to clients throughout the region.”
Prior to joining Marcus & Millichap, Morrow was with Grubb & Ellis Co. for 30 years as an agent, president of the western region and managing principal/partner for the firm’s Phoenix office. During his tenure with Grubb & Ellis, its Phoenix office grew from 49 agents to 80 agents with revenue growth of more than 300 percent. Morrow has also been a partner/owner with Biltmore Holdings, where he was an asset manager and property manager for a 1 million-square-foot institutional-quality office and industrial property portfolio.
Morrow received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Arizona State University and has been on the advisory board of the Arizona chapter of the Urban Land Institute.

SVN-Bella Verde Image

Sperry Van Ness Negotiates $4.4M Sale of Bella Verde Apartments

Neil Sherman and Danny Lee, Principals in the Phoenix office of Sperry Van Ness, negotiated the sale of Belle Verde Apartments at 3030 N. 35th Avenue in Phoenix. Bella Verde closed at a sales price of $4,400,000, or $24,309 per unit, on August 30.
The 181-unit apartment complex is approximately 71,760 square feet and was built in 1978. Bella Verde is a garden style- rental community and is situated on approximately 4.0 acres. This multifamily asset is ideally located near Grand Avenue, I-17 and I-10 Freeways, providing convenient access to many other Phoenix metropolitan cities and amenities.
“This sale of Bella Verde Apartments marks the third successful closing for us on this property since April of 2010,” says Neil Sherman. “The buyer was a perfect fit for this asset, having recently sold a similar smaller property in Central Phoenix.”
Sherman and Lee represented the seller, Sans Souci Apartments, LLKP. The Buyer was represented by Pete TeKampe of Marcus and Millichap.

Using Social Media Content to Inform Employment Decisions

Social Media Series: Using Social Media Content to Inform Employment Decisions

This article is part of an ongoing series about social media in the workplace. We’re interested in your feedback/questions, so please comment and the authors may address your issue in their next article.

Assuming that employers properly obtain personal information about an applicant from social media sites, employers still need to be careful to avoid certain risks associated with using such information to make employment decisions. While it may seem a great idea to use information obtained through social media to help make hiring decisions, it may not always be wise to do so.  In certain instances, using information provided by Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites may expose employers to liability for such claims as discrimination and negligent retention and hiring.

In addition, if the employer learns from Facebook information about an applicant’s protected characteristics that is not apparent from the application or interview, such as the fact that the applicant is pregnant or disabled or has a father with cancer, and the employer does not hire that applicant, the employer may be exposed to liability.  Such characteristics about an individual generally are protected by state and federal discrimination laws.

If the employer used this information to make a decision not to hire the applicant, the employer likely is liable for discrimination. Even if the employer did not use this information in the hiring decision, the fact that the employer obtained this information prior to making a determination may cause the applicant to believe that discrimination has occurred and file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

On the other hand, there may be instances where an employer’s use of such information is appropriate.  For example, if a private employer discovers that an applicant has posted disparaging remarks about the employer, its clients or other individuals, the employer generally may use that information in deciding whether to hire the individual. Such disparaging remarks are likely not protected speech in this instance and, indeed, may be an indicator of the individual’s ability to be successful at the particular place of employment.

An interesting conundrum may arise in other situations, such as where an employer learns of information about an applicant that suggests a negative tendency, yet the employer still hires the person. For example, if a private school discovers that a teacher applicant was bragging online about partying with his students, and the school still hired the applicant, the school may expose itself to a possible negligent hiring claim down the road if the individual engages in misconduct with his students.

The message is that there is no single bright line rule for using information from social media sites to make hiring decisions about prospective employees.  The answer largely depends on such factors as the type of employer involved and the type of information at issue.  To facilitate proper use of such information, an employer should have a social media policy in place and should train its managers on the policy.

Lori Higuera, a director with Fennemore Craig and a member of the firm’s Litigation Section, co-authored this story.

[stextbox id=”grey”]More than ever, employers need guidance about social media in and around their workplaces. We’d like to hear from you about your issues and questions related to social media and your business. Please post a comment below this story and we may address your issue in the next edition of our Social Media Series.[/stextbox]


The Do's and Don'ts of Termination

Letting Go Of Employees: The Do’s And Don’ts of Termination

Letting go of employees is never easy, but there are ways to make the situation as painless as possible

Most employers know that terminations should be handled carefully. However, mistakes in the termination process, even by well-intended employers can, and frequently do, contribute to unnecessary, protracted and expensive litigation. While each termination is different, we offer the following reminders on the “do’s” and “don’ts” of terminations.

Don’t terminate an employee on the spot unless the actions are so egregious that it requires immediate removal from the workplace, such as violence against others. In most cases, consider a suspension first in order to give you some time until you can get everything in order to manage the termination seamlessly.

Do fully understand the details about the incident(s) of misconduct, or of the employee’s performance upon which your decision is based. Oftentimes, the incidents are documented by a supervisor or manager and not the person actually handling the termination. A good pre-termination strategy is to review both the employee’s file, and all relevant policies, practices and agreements to ensure that:

  • The employee either knew, or should have known, that termination could occur for the reason given.
  • The employer followed all office policies and agreements.
  • The employee was not singled out for discharge, but was treated the same as anyone else would have been under those circumstances.

Do review the decision to terminate. Terminations affect not only the employee, they also the employer’s bottom line. Turnover costs include not only severance pay, but also the cost of lost productivity while the position is vacant, recruitment costs, and the inefficiencies of training a new employee.

Don’t ignore the possibility of unexamined bias. Conduct periodic self-audits of your employment decisions, such as promotions, terminations and pay rates to ensure that these decisions do not suggest a pattern of discrimination that may become the subject of litigation.

Do calculate any wages that will be due for work already performed, and have a check prepared. In Arizona, wages may include sick time, vacation time, commissions, bonuses, or any other type of compensation. For involuntary terminations, Arizona law also requires that any wages due be paid within three working days, or at the next regular pay period, whichever comes first.

Don’t go into a termination meeting without knowing what you are going to say. Allow approximately 10 minutes for the meeting, and have an opening statement prepared that will set the tone for the meeting, briefly explain the reason(s) for the termination, and the effective date. Explain any final pay and any severance benefits that will be offered. Explain any continuing obligations to protect confidential information, and address any possible security issues. Provide this information in writing to the employee, since he may not recall the specifics during what may be a difficult experience.

Don’t do it alone. Have a second management person come in and take notes, so you can focus on the conversation. Respect the privacy and confidentiality of everyone involved by meeting in a private area.

Do be honest with the employee. Avoid offering reasons that are inaccurate or untrue. If you do not have any intention of rehiring the employee, don’t suggest it.

Don’t suggest that the decision was unfair or improper.

Don’t insist that the employee sign a severance agreement on the spot, or discourage him from seeking legal advice. Give the employee adequate time to consider the amount being offered, and the associated releases. Otherwise, the validity of the agreement may be subject to challenge.

Do treat the employee respectfully and think about what you can do to ease the transition. An appropriate letter of reference or financial assistance toward outplacement are not only nice gestures, they may even reduce any damages an employee could later claim.

Don’t be impersonal when terminating an employee. By following the advice above, you will be able to be both professional and empathetic.

Do consider consulting legal counsel before terminating an employee. In many instances, a call to legal counsel that understands your business specifically can prevent expensive mistakes.

Most wrongful termination lawsuits can be easily avoided by following these simple do’s and don’ts. Understanding the path that needs to be followed to termination can save any business a lot of pain and financial burden.