State Of Maryland Cannot Be Sued In Federal Court For State Law Discrimination Claims

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that Maryland's employment discrimination statute (FEPA), Md. Code Ann., St. Gov't § 20-601 et seq., does not waive the State's immunity to be sued in federal court under that law for alleged employment discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation.  In Pense v. Maryland Dept' of Public Safety and Correctional Services, No. 18-1554 (4th Cir. June 11, 2019), the appellate court concluded that the State...
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Vaping and E-Cigarette Use Increasingly Included In "No Smoking" In The Workplace Bans

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
06/11/2019
In the past three months, four states [Florida, New Mexico, South Dakota and Minnesota] have put in place no vaping laws for most indoor workplaces.  Wisconsin may become the fifth, with a bill introduced last month that seeks to expand its no workplace smoking ban to include vaping and e-cigarettes.  Thus far, 17 states have general workplace bans on vaping and e-cigarettes, including our neighbors D.C. and Delaware.  Maryland presently does not...
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Maryland General Assembly Passes Several New Workplace Bills

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
04/18/2019
I recently wrote about Organ Donation Leave (HB1284/SB705), a bill likely to make job-protected organ donation leave a benefit to which Maryland employees are entitled.  Other bills that expand protections for employees were approved during the 2019 General Assembly session, and if they become law as anticipated, will have a significant impact on businesses.  Here’s a look at the highlights: Workplace Harassment (HB679/SB782). The legislation...
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Kentucky Court Holds That State Law Does Not Permit Associational Discrimination Claims

Nearly two weeks ago, in a post on associational discrimination claims, I pointed out that while these claims may be relatively uncommon, they are still possible under the ADA and Maryland law. By contrast, last week, a Kentucky state court held that the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) does not encompass associational discrimination claims.  The case is Barnett v. Central Kentucky Hauling, LLC, No. 2017-CA-001746-MR (Ky. Ct. App. Dec. 21,...
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Age and Wage Issues Among Many Resolved On Election Day

As votes in yesterday’s elections continue to be tallied, there were several developments of interest to employers and to labor and employment practitioners alike. Age: The ADEA Applies To Public Sector Employers Of All Sizes First, yesterday morning, the Supreme Court announced its first decision of the 2018-19 term.  In a unanimous (8-0) ruling, the Court held in Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act...
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D.C. Creates New Training And Reporting Obligations For Employers With Tipped Employees

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
11/02/2018
You may recall that earlier this year, voters in the District of Columbia passed an initiative (Initiative 77) that would have increased the minimum wage for tipped employees (who predominantly work in the restaurant, hotel, and retail service industries) incrementally up to $15.00 an hour by 2025. Recently, however, the D.C. Council changed course by passing the Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018 (the "Act").  Most directly, the...
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New Maryland Employment Laws That Took Effect October 1

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
10/03/2018
On October 1, 2018, several new employment  laws take effect in Maryland.  A previous blog post addressed new general contractor liability for its subcontractors’ failure to pay the subcontractors’ own employees. Under the new law, subcontractors’ employees can sue not only the subcontractor for wage claims, but also the general contractor, who likely has no knowledge of or control over the subcontractors’ pay practices.  The general...
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Think You Understand Employment Discrimination Law? Here’s a Test.

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
09/11/2018
If you are a student of employment law, you likely know the basics of employment discrimination and the concept of “disparate treatment” – the theory that it is impermissible to intentionally treat someone differently because they are a member of a protected class.  That’s where you get the most typical claims of discrimination.  The “I wasn’t hired because of my national origin,” or “I didn’t get paid the at the same wage because...
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Expanded Construction Contractor Wage Liability Takes Effect October 1, 2018

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
09/10/2018
Beginning on October 1, 2018, construction contractors doing business in Maryland may be held liable if their subcontractors fail to pay their workers.  To say that this expanded liability is significant would be an understatement. First, a bit of background.  The Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law permits an employee who has not been paid in accordance with his or her employer’s regular pay practices to sue the employer for the wages that...
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New Minimum Wage Rates Effective July 1 For Maryland And D.C.

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
06/13/2018
On July 1, 2018, new minimum wage rates went into effect for both Maryland and the District of Columbia.  All employees who do not qualify for an exemption must be paid in accordance with the new rates.  The changes provide a good opportunity for employers to audit pay practices to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws.  Defense of a pay claim comes at a substantial cost and a simple review now can serve to mitigate or even eliminate complex...
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