Monday, November 13, 2017

As Use of Service Dogs—and “Fake” Service Dogs—Rises, Employers Faced With New Questions

By: Jeffrey A. Hord, Principal

Over the past few years, the D.C. area—along with the rest of the country—has seen a dramatic rise in the presence and use of service animals, therapy animals, and emotional-support animals for all manner of medical conditions.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The NLRB Targets Independent Contractor Misclassification

By: Jack Blum, Associate

Written with assistance from Daniel Bosworth, law clerk.

After the Department of Labor withdrew its Obama-era guidance taking a restrictive view of the situations in which workers can legitimately qualify as independent contractors, as opposed to employees, many speculated that the Trump administration would be giving up its predecessor’s campaign against contractor misclassification and that further developments would be driven by state and local government agencies and private plaintiffs. In the last few weeks, however, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has entered the fray over worker misclassification with a recent enforcement action asserting that misclassifying employees as independent contractors is a standalone unfair labor practice under the theory that misclassification interferes with rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) (which applies only to employees, not contractors) by asserting that the workers in question do not have NLRA rights at all because they are not employees. The development of a new front in the battle over misclassification at the NLRB should be closely monitored by employers.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Administration Halts New EEO-1 Pay Data Requirements

By: Jessica B. Summers, Associate

Summary: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has stayed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) new pay data reporting requirements pending OMB’s review. This means that the prior version of the EEO-1, that employers are familiar with from last year’s filing, will remain in effect for the 2017 filing year.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

EFFECTIVE SEP. 18 – Employers Must Use New I-9 Form

By: Jessica B. Summers, Associate

SUMMARY: Effective September 18, 2017, employers must start using the new version of the Form I-9.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Does Title VII Cover Sexual Orientation? Courts Weigh In. EEOC says Yes. Trump DOJ says No.

Takeaway: Splits in the federal Courts of Appeals may send this issue to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, however, the EEOC is basing its enforcement actions on its position that Title VII covers sexual orientation as a form of sex discrimination. It has filed a number of amicus briefs in support of plaintiffs who have asserted sexual ­orientation discrimination claims under Title VII. Employers also need to follow their state and local laws. For example, Maryland and the District of Columbia ban sexual orientation discrimination. Virginia does not, but both the City of Alexandria and Arlington County do. This pattern is repeated across the country. For now, employers should retain their policies on sexual orientation discrimination, include them in any EEO training and continue to investigate allegations of such discrimination.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Status Update on the New Overtime Rules


Summary:  Earlier this week, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking comments regarding the rules that establish which employees can be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.  This request, combined with the DOL’s latest position in the key case challenging the version of the overtime rules that were finalized by the DOL last May, strongly suggest that the new overtime rules will never go into effect but that other changes to the preexisting rules may be forthcoming.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Employers Can Be Liable for Failure to Reasonably Accommodate Employee’s Medicinal Marijuana Usage


            In the 21 years since California became the first American state to legalize medicinal marijuana usage, there has been a sea change in societal attitudes towards the drug.  Fast forward to 2017, and the vast majority of states have now legalized medicinal marijuana with several states and the District of Columbia going even further to legalize recreational marijuana use in the absence of a prescription or medical need.  A recent case from the highest court of Massachusetts suggests that the courts may be catching up in the area of employment discrimination to these societal developments, and could carry major implications for employers in Maryland and the District of Columbia.