Friday, December 23, 2016

Employer Seeks Appellate Review of NLRB Decision Striking Down Its Handbook Policies

By former Associate Jeffrey Hord

Earlier this week, an automotive parts manufacturing company petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review—and hopefully overturn—a recent order from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) concluding that the company had committed unfair labor practices. Regardless of the ultimate outcome of the company’s appeal to the D.C. Circuit, the Board’s decision (summarized below) highlights its continuing attack on common, seemingly neutral policies and procedures that could be read to discourage employees from exercising their right to engage in “concerted activity” regarding the terms and conditions of their employment.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

D.C. City Council Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

Summary: New law provides D.C. employees with 8 weeks of paid parental leave, 6 weeks of paid family leave, and 2 weeks of paid medical leave, and imposes new obligations on employers.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tips for a Liability-Free Holiday Party

By: Jack Blum, Associate

Summary: Employers holding holiday parties should follow commonsense tips to avoid potential liability.

It’s that time of year again, so your office administrative staff is likely planning your company’s 2016 holiday party. While holiday parties are a great way to build morale and show appreciation for your employees, they can also present risks for employers. As any fan of Dunder-Mifflin’s Party Planning Committee from The Office or the new movie Office Christmas Party knows, a holiday party can quickly go downhill for an employer that is not careful. With these tips, employers can avoid receiving a post-holiday party lump of coal in the form of legal liability.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New Overtime Rules Blocked by Federal Court

By:  Jessica B. Summers, Associate

Summary: Striking a significant blow to one of the Obama Administration’s biggest labor achievements, on November 23, 2016, a federal district court issued a nationwide injunction preventing the Department of Labor’s new overtime rules from going into effect on December 1, 2016.

Friday, November 18, 2016

DOL Overtime Regulations Challenged in Federal Court: Decision Expected November 22

By: Hope Eastman, Principal

Employer Takeaway: Don’t hold your breath and keep planning for the December 1 deadline.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY - Montgomery County Expands Sick and Safe Leave Law

By:  Jessica B. Summers, Associate

Effective immediately, the Montgomery County Council has expanded the County’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act, which just went into effect on October 1, 2016, to require that employees be permitted to use accrued sick and safe leave for absences surrounding the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Virginia Voters Facing a Tough Question on Election Day Regarding ‘Right-to-Work’ Law

By former Associate Jeffrey Hord

When Virginians head to the polls on or before November 8th, they won’t just be faced with a choice between Presidential candidates and the Congressional hopefuls from their District. Among the policy initiatives on the ballot this year are two questions concerning the Virginia Constitution, one of which may have a significant impact on the Commonwealth’s labor and employment laws.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Employment Law Day

Please join us for a very exciting Employment Law program on November 10th, hosted by Paley Rothman's Employment Law group. Four of Maryland’s key regulatory agency leaders have agreed to speak and share insight into their agencies’ expected priorities and handling of claims of discrimination or other violations. Our Employment Law attorneys will also speak on key issues facing employers, including the impact of the November 8 election, pay equity and employer issues with social media and after-hours behavior. Following the Paley Rothman presentations and the "Meet the Agencies" panel, we will have a wine and cheese networking reception. Please register in advance by clicking the Register button below. We look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

DOL Issues Final Rule on Paid Sick Leave for Government Contractors

By:  Jessica B. Summers, Associate

Under newly released DOL rules, most federal government contractors entering into new or renegotiated contracts on or after January 1, 2017, will be required to provide employees performing on, or in connection with, the contract with up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year.

SUMMARY:  Most federal government contractors (and subcontractors) entering into new or renegotiated contracts on or after January 1, 2017 will be required to provide employees performing work on, or in connection with, the contract with up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: GAO’s Disappearing Jurisdiction Over Civilian Agency Task Orders

By: Ryan Spiegel

Congress pulled a ghoulish Halloween trick this month, bringing to an end the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) jurisdiction over bid protests of civilian agency task orders and delivery orders. Before October 1, 2016, bidders could protest the award of a task order worth more than $10 million before the GAO, as established by prior amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA). But GAO’s jurisdiction over task order protests related to civilian agency contracts was temporary, scheduled to sunset at the end of the last Fiscal Year on September 30, 2016. 41 U.S.C. § 4106(f).

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Felons and Tax Cheats Beware: Regulators Want To Stop You From Winning Federal Government Contracts

By: Ryan Spiegel

A new final rule targeting tax cheats and convicted felons who try to bid on federal government contracts was published on September 30, 2016. The rule is effective immediately and makes permanent an interim rule published back in December 2015 which has already been in effect since February 26, 2016. The final rule adopts the interim rule in its entirety without any changes; only three public comments had been submitted in response to the interim rule, two of which were in support.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

“They’re heeeere” – Poltergeists Lurk Within Game-Changing Final Rule on Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces

After some two years of process – involving proposed rules, amendments, delays, and public comments – the final regulations implementing the President’s Executive Order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces were published on August 25, 2016. On that date, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council published a final rule and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published final guidance, but the two publications must be read in tandem. The regulations are many hundreds of pages long and represent a sea change in the way that labor laws are enforced and reported. Federal contractors should be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy learning about these new requirements, because poltergeist pitfalls are lurking everywhere.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

4th Circuit Broadens Grounds for Whistleblower Retaliation Suits Under the FCA

A new decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit seems to confirm that recent amendments to the whistleblower retaliation provision of the False Claims Act have substantially broadened the grounds under which a claim can be maintained.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Employment Law: 2016 Comprehensive Guide

On August 24, 2016, Jim Hammerschmidt, Jeffrey Hord, former Associate, and Jessica Summers will be featured presenters at a National Business Institute CLE seminar on employment law.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

D.C. Circuit Holds that Quicken Loans Workplace Policies Violate NLRA

By former Associate Jeffrey Hord

Over the past decade, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has increasingly and aggressively enforced Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) against private, non-union employers.  Our blog has previously noted this trend and discussed the possible risks and consequences to employers accused of unlawfully restricting their workers’ protected “concerted activities” (e.g., here and here).  However, as many recent Board decisions have shown, employers continue to run afoul of the NLRA by implementing well-intentioned work rules and policies that might inhibit employees from engaging in these protected activities.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: NLRB Leveraging Executive Order to Pressure Contractors to Settle

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently announced that it intends to lord a new disclosure requirement over the heads of federal contractors to squeeze them to settle any allegations of labor violations, even though regulations implementing the requirement have not been finalized.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fourth Circuit Applies 9-Factor Joint Employer Test; Affirms Dismissal of Discrimination Case

By former Associate Jeffrey Hord

In August 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued its decision in Butler v. Drive Automotive Industries of America, Inc., 793 F.3d 404 (4th Cir. 2015), wherein it expressly adopted the “joint employment doctrine” for cases brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This landmark case meant that employers in the Fourth Circuit—covering Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas—could be sued and potentially held liable for discrimination or harassment claims brought by workers who aren’t even on their payroll.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New Overtime Regulations - An Overview

This webinar provides an overview of the DOL’s newly released overtime rules and recommendations for businesses on what steps they need to take before the rules go into effect in December 2016. The rules may seem simple, however implementation is anything but.

D.C. Increases Minimum Wage in First of Several Expected 2016 Employment Law Changes

By former Associate Jack Blum

Increase to $15/hour by 2020 is the first major employment law initiative to pass; paid family leave and fair scheduling bills are on the horizon for employers.

Friday, May 20, 2016

NLRB Revisits Employee Handbook Issues

We have written before about the NLRB’s attacks on handbook provisions and other restrictions on employee communications, with warnings about restrictions on confidentiality of investigations, on using the company’s email system, on social media and policies about reporting complaints (Restrictions on Employee Communication Could Lead to Unfair Labor Practice Charges - Jack Blum Dec. 4, 2015).

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DOL Finalizes Changes to Overtime Exemptions

Take Away: Effective December 1, 2016, the minimum salary that employees must be paid to qualify for the white collar or the highly compensated exemptions to the FLSA overtime requirements will increase substantially. While many employers will need to make significant adjustments in their workforce to adapt to these increases - the final rule will not be as disruptive as it could have been because DOL did not make any changes to the duties tests associated with these exemptions.

Maryland Legislature Pursues Changes to Equal Pay Law

In the waning days of the legislative session, the Maryland Legislature enacted legislation addressing gender identity and making significant changes in the way employers will have to prove that pay differences are not discriminatory. The bill is awaiting signature by the Governor. He has not taken a position on the law and has given no indication thus far as to whether he will sign the bill. If he does, it will be effective on October 1, 2016.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Supreme Court Roundup: 2015-2016 Undecided Cases

Last week, we wrote to you about the 2015-2016 term cases that have been decided. Here is a preview of cases for private sector employers to watch, decisions for which are still pending.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Supreme Court Roundup: 2015-2016 Decided Cases

As the Court enters the last two months of its 2015-2016 term, here is a look at the decided cases that can affect private sector employers. A separate blog will follow, detailing those cases still pending that private sector employers should watch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fourth Circuit Reverses District Court’s Dismissal of Plaintiff’s Title VII Retaliation Claim

A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit serves to once again remind employers of the dangers of treating an employee unfairly simply because he or she engaged in protected activity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Conduct that may not rise to the level of a materially “adverse action” in a discrimination claim could still be sufficiently adverse to satisfy the lower standard applied in retaliation cases.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Supreme Court Opens Wide Door for Use of Statistics in Class Action Employment Cases

Summary: The Supreme Court, in a class action involving compensation for “donning and doffing” ruled in favor of the employees, ending hopes that the Court would put additional curbs on class actions. In fact, the Court opened the door to expanded use of statistics to prove liability in FLSA cases. The Court’s 6-2 majority distinguished the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes decision which had sharply limited the use of such statistics to establish liability in a class action suit. The case is expected to have sweeping repercussions for defending wage-and-hour claims generally, especially since the Court’s ruling was based on the fact that the employer had failed to keep records of the time and that the employees should not suffer as a result. Watch for plaintiffs’ lawyers who bring class action cases to push the envelope into other types of cases. Look closely too at the ways in which your companies track hours.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

DOL Changes to FLSA Overtime Rules Moving Towards Approval

UPDATE: The Obama Administration’s controversial new white collar overtime rules have gone to the Office of Management and Budget for approval. This is the final obstacle to making the regulations public and start the implementation process. Close watchers see an Administration attempt to get the rules through OMB before May 16, which would ensure time for an Obama veto if the Congress tries to step in to stop the regulations from taking effect and a likely late summer or early fall effective date. In the meantime, on March 17, 2016, members of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committeeon Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions introduced a bill to stop the regulations from taking effect.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Payroll Leap Year: What It Is and What To Do About It

Summary: Employers who pay their salaried employees every week or every two weeks will unavoidably encounter a year in which there is one pay day more than usual.  These employers should plan ahead to identify and address these “payroll leap years” in advance.  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

U.S. District Court in Roanoke Upholds Award of Double Damages in FMLA Leave Dispute

By former Associate Jeffrey Hord

Last week, [January 21, 2016] a U.S. District Court judge in Virginia upheld a jury verdict in favor of a terminated HR director who claimed her employer unlawfully interfered with her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and then retaliated against her when she requested leave for psychological distress.