Be Wary of Disclosing Employees’ COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Jordan Dunham
Jordan Dunham
02/23/2021
As vaccines are being administered throughout the country, the end to the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight.  As a result, many employers are wondering what information can be shared regarding employees’ vaccination status. The answer is, or at least the cautionary one is, not much. Employers are facing inquiries regarding their employees’ vaccination status.  Customers and clients would like to know if the employee they are working with is...
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Maryland Federal Court Rules Transgender TGI Friday’s Cook Can Proceed To Trial On Bias Claims

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
02/19/2021
Though Maryland workers have been protected from gender identity discrimination under State law since 2014, it wasn’t until last year that the Supreme Court made clear employees are protected under federal law too.  You can read about the landmark Title VII decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, No 17-1618 (U.S. June 15, 2020), here. A recent district court decision offers useful guidance about the circumstances courts in this jurisdiction may...
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Maryland DOL Urges Employers To Review Benefit Charge Statements For Fraudulent Activity

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
02/16/2021
According to a press release issued by the Maryland Department of Labor, states have seen a “significant spike” in fraudulent unemployment activity since passage of the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act.  Part of the stimulus package signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020, the Act extends pandemic unemployment relief measures through March 14, 2021, with certain modifications.  Key provisions include expansion...
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Scabby the Rat Gets a Reprieve from NLRB

Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson
02/10/2021
Anyone who has ever passed by a labor protest is no doubt familiar with Scabby the Rat—a large inflatable balloon deployed by unions protesting an employer or contractor who uses non-union labor.   The rat balloons are usually 12 feet tall (sometimes larger), and are grotesque, featuring large teeth and a scabby stomach.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), under former General  Counsel  Peter Robb, had sought to prohibit Scabby from...
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Employer Alert: The Maryland Essential Workers’ Protection Act

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
02/03/2021
After cutting short the 2020 legislative session because of the pandemic, the Maryland General Assembly has returned this January with confronting COVID-19 among its highest priorities.  One item employers should be keenly aware is the Maryland Essential Workers’ Protection Act, which would impose multiple new mandates on Maryland employers. The legislation, cross-filed as House Bill 481 and Senate Bill 486, is scheduled for a hearing in the...
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OSHA Provides Further Guidance on Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
01/29/2021
Earlier today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued its Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.  The Guidance is not legally binding but does detail recommended best practices around managing COVID-19 in the workplace.  OSHA has reiterated that workers should continue to maintain at least a six-foot distance from others when possible, wash hands, properly wear a face mask (covering nose...
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Biden DOL Revokes Three Eleventh-Hour Trump DOL Opinion Letters

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
01/27/2021
In its final days under the Trump administration, the Department of Labor (DOL) had advanced three opinion letters on independent contracting and tip-pooling rules.  On Tuesday, the DOL's Wage and Hour Division revoked the letters under the Biden administration's regulatory review freeze.  The independent contracting rule would have permitted a simpler legal standard for classifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees covered...
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Court Rules That DOL Definition of "Workweek" Under the FMLA is Incorrect

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
01/21/2021
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the Department of Labor incorrectly defined “workweek” for purposes of time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  You can read the details, as well as the dissenting opinion, at Scalia v. State of Alaska, 9th Cir., No. 19-35824, 1/15/21 The FMLA grants eligible employees a “total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period” to attend to qualifying...
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DOL Issues Four New Wage & Hour Opinion Letters

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
01/20/2021
The U.S. Department  of Labor issued four new opinion letters on January 19, 2021: FLSA2021-6 A trade association of staffing firms asked for an opinion on whether the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) “retail or service establishment” exemption applies to staffing firms that recruit, hire, and place employees on temporary assignments with clients.     Qualifying for the exemption would mean there is no overtime requirement under the...
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First Amendment Protections Mean Officer’s Claim Proceeds

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
01/13/2021
That pesky old First Amendment “freedom of speech thing” has been in the news a lot lately.  The issue of whether a public employee’s speech is protected has Supreme Court underpinnings. In Pickering v. Bd. of Ed. of Twp. High Sch. Dist., 391 U.S. 563 (1968) the Court created a balancing test that looks to whether an employee (1) spoke on a matter of public concern; (2) spoke as a private citizen rather than a public employee; and (3)...
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