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.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Should Viral Tweet of CEO’s Response to Employee’s Mental Health Day Prompt Reevaluation of Your Company’s PTO Policy?


The concept of a “mental health day” is often overlooked when employers craft their vacation and leave policies.  However, a recent tweet by a San Francisco-based web developer has sparked a national discussion about mental health and the appropriate way for employers to handle these situations.

Friday, June 9, 2017

No Retaliation For Termination Based on Employer’s Mistaken Belief of False Report, Says Fourth Cir.

By: Jeffrey Hord, Associate

On June 7, 2017, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that, so long as an employer honestly believed its employee had made a false report of harassment, its decision to fire that employee cannot constitute unlawful retaliation...even if the employee’s report ultimately turned out to be truthful.


Friday, May 5, 2017

What Ever Happened to the New Overtime Rules?

By: Jessica B. Summers, Associate

The new overtime rules that were set to go into effect last December are still in limbo as the court order enjoining the rules remains in effect and the Trump Administration’s Department of Labor has not yet decided how it will handle the issue. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

As Congress Considers Changes to the Comp Time Rules – Is Your Business in Compliance Today?

By: Jessica B. Summers, Associate

Summary: The U.S. House of Representative will vote this week on a bill that would legalize the use of compensatory (comp) time by private employers. While it is unclear whether the bill will have sufficient support to pass the Senate, the renewed discussion on this issue is a good reminder for private employers that, for now, providing comp time to non-exempt employees in lieu of overtime is generally prohibited under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).