California is Poised to Become the First State to Ban Caste Discrimination

  Update - On October 7, 2023, Governor Newsom vetoed SB-403.  In his veto message, Governor Newsom stated "[b]ecause discrimination based on caste is already prohibited under ... existing [protected class] categories, this bill is unnecessary." On September 5, 2023, the California legislature passed SB-403, sending it to Governor Newsom’s desk for signature.  Largely expected to be signed by Gov. Newson, California is set to become the first...
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Maryland Minimum Wage To Increase to $15/Hour On January 1, 2024

The legislature has updated the scheduled increases to the State’s minimum wage.  For small employers (those with fewer than 15 employees), the State minimum wage is $12.80 per hour as of January 1, 2023.  For employers with 15 or more employees, the State minimum wage is $13.25 per hour as of January 1, 2023. The minimum wage rate will increase to $15 per hour on January 1, 2024 for all employers, regardless of size. The legislature also...
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Maryland Considering Tax Breaks for Four-Day Workweeks

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
02/13/2023
The Maryland General Assembly is considering legislation that would make the Free State the first in the nation to give employers tax incentives to give their employees more free time. The proposal would offer employers with 30 or more employees tax incentives if they tested a four-day workweek schedule and allowed the state Department of Labor to research the impact of the change through employee surveys, interviews and "other information...
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House Passes The Speak Out Act

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
11/16/2022
On November 16, 2022, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will nullify some nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) signed by employees who assert claims of sexual harassment or assault. The bill, known as The Speak Out Act (S. 4524), passed the Senate unanimously in September. It will now head to President Biden for his signature. In the findings prefacing the bill, Congress wrote, “[n]ondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions in...
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A Deeper Dive Into Maryland's New Paid Family Leave Law

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
04/29/2022
As Eric Paltell blogged about earlier this month, Maryland is now the 10th state to offer paid family leave to employees.  Likely, many other states will follow suit.  Below is a Q&A to unpack further what is required by the "Time to Care Act." What Employers Are Covered? Any public or private entity that employs at least one individual in Maryland. Employers may be eligible for an exemption under the Act if they can establish that they...
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Maryland General Assembly Passes Paid FMLA Law

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
04/04/2022
On March 31, the Maryland Senate approved the  “Time to Care Act,” which will provide paid family leave to employees of businesses with 15 or more employees. The bill now goes to Governor Hogan, where it may be vetoed. However, the General Assembly passed the law with enough time to override a veto, should the Governor choose to do so. The Time to Care Act offers employees 12 weeks of partially paid family leave each year to care for themselves...
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Maryland Senate Bill Changing Definition of Sexual Harassment “Crosses Over” to House of Delegates

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
03/24/2022
Monday, March 21, 2022, was “crossover day” in the Maryland General Assembly.  As a quick Maryland civics lesson, the Maryland General Assembly is comprised of two chambers, the Maryland State Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates.  Bills are proposed and debated in both chambers.  On crossover day, those bills that have passed by vote in one chamber are crossed over to the other chamber for further debate and vote.  Any bills that did...
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Maryland Poised To Increase Damages Caps For Discrimination Claims

The Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) is the state analog to federal anti-discrimination laws.   The law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, and disability.  If an employer is found to have engaged in an unlawful employment practice under FEPA the remedies can include compensatory damages, back pay, injunctive...
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Maryland General Assembly Passes the Maryland Essential Workers’ Protection Act, Bill Currently Awaits Governor Hogan’s Action

Last week, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Maryland Essential Workers’ Protection Act (“EWPA”) (HB 581).  The EWPA, formally titled Labor and Employment – Employment Standards During an Emergency (Maryland Essential Workers’ Protection Act) was passed as emergency legislation and will take effect on the date it is signed by the governor (or the date any veto is overridden, if applicable).   The EWPA solidifies how an essential...
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Maryland Flexible Leave Act Expanded To Apply To Bereavement Leave

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
03/30/2021
The Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation expanding Maryland’s Flexible Leave Act (MFLA) to apply to bereavement leave.  The legislation now goes to Governor Hogan’s desk for signature. The MFLA has required that Maryland private sector employers with at least 15 employees who provide paid leave to their employees allow an employee to use earned paid leave to care for immediate family members (children, spouse, and parents) with an...
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