D.C. Scales Back Non-Compete Ban

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
08/03/2022
In 2021, the District of Columbia City Council enacted the Ban on Non-Compete Amendments Act of 2020.  The law was slated to prohibit the use and enforcement of non-compete agreements for nearly all employees working in D.C., with limited exceptions.  The law would also prohibit anti-moonlighting and other workplace policies that bar an employee from performing work for another employer, even if a direct competitor, or operating their own...
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Disabled Student’s Inappropriate Touching Did Not Create a Hostile Work Environment

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
08/02/2022
In a recent decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals considered the difficult circumstances in which special education teacher often operate and how that environment can intersect with protections against workplace discrimination and harassment.  The case, according to the court, brought “to light the difficult balance that schools must find between ensuring that all students have access to a public school education while simultaneously...
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Court of Appeals Holds that Maryland Law Does Not Implicitly Adopt Federal Portal-to-Portal Act

Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson
07/29/2022
Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals held that the federal Portal-to-Portal Act--which provides that time spent by workers traveling to and from work is not compensable--has not been implicitly adopted into Maryland law.  Put another way, Maryland law does not define “compensable work” to exclude travel time. At issue in the case--which was actually two separate cases consolidated for purposes of the appeal--was whether construction workers...
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Court Dismisses Hostile Work Environment Claim

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently dismissed a claim of hostile work environment  under the Rehabilitation Act.  Katz v. Department of Justice, No. 1:20-cv-554 (June 20, 2022). In dismissing the case, Judge Ellis found that the plaintiff's own pleadings doomed his claim.  The plaintiff was employed as a Special Agent for the DEA from May 1996 until April 2020. In 2017, Katz was diagnosed with a brain...
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Fourth Circuit Allows Claim of Color Discrimination to Advance

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
07/22/2022
While claims of employment discrimination are somewhat commonplace, it is far less common to see cases of discrimination based on color. In Felder v MGM National Harbor, No. 20-2373, the United States Court of Appeals for the Court Circuit reversed a trial court and allowed a claim of color discrimination to proceed beyond the Motion to Dismiss stage.  The case arose when the plaintiff, Britney Felder, filed suit alleging that she was...
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Federal Judge Halts EEOC Guidance on Protections for LGBTQ Employees

Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson
07/22/2022
A federal judge in Tennessee took the rare step of issuing a preliminary injunction to block the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from issuing guidance regarding employment discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity.  The case stems from the EEOC’s attempt to implement the Supreme Court’s landmark 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination applied to...
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MarylandSaves: A Private Employer Retirement Savings Program, Launches September 1, 2022

Jordan Dunham
Jordan Dunham
07/13/2022
Maryland employers need to be aware that, effective September 1, 2022, certain employers must set up a mandatory retirement program for employees. In 2016, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 1378 creating the Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program and Trust, or “MarylandSaves” for short.  Initially planned to go into effect in 2020, but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the law creates an obligation on employers...
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Whole Foods Survives Challenge to Dress Code Related Discipline

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
07/01/2022
It was not that long ago when most workers who were working in person wore masks or other face coverings as a safety precaution.  Masks come in many variations – a single color, patterned, or even descriptive, with slogans, logos, and other messages and images.  Whole Foods’ dress code “prohibits employees from wearing clothing with visible slogans, messages, logos, or advertising that are not company-related.”  Prior to...
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Kiss, Hugs, and Rude Comments Not Enough for Viable Sex Harassment Claim

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
06/28/2022
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) makes it unlawful for an employer to “discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s . . . sex.”  42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1).  Title VII’s prohibitions cover sex-based harassment that is “sufficiently severe or pervasive” such that it amounts to an actual change in an individual’s...
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Lack of Comparator Dooms Discrimination Claim

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
06/24/2022
The Seventh Circuit recently reaffirmed the need to identify a relevant comparator in discrimination claims.  In Abebe v. Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Ms. Abebe worked as a dental assistant starting in 2014.  Her behavior during her employment was marked with multiple concerns about her attitude and interactions with others.  In 2016, she received a poor review for "respect" due to her negative attitude and poor interactions...
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