Recently I was updating an employee handbook and beefed up the work from home policy. I made sure the policy specified that the employee must have a dedicated work location, free from distraction, and must use only company-issued laptops. A reliable internet connection with appropriate security was a must-add, as was the requirement to only use the secure company portal for work (no emailing yourself documents). All the usual things.

Continue Reading Could Headphones Have Averted a Work-From-Home Tragedy?

This is true in the context of existing race discrimination concerns and complaints in this particular (non-union) workplace, according to the National Labor Relations Board in a case involving Home Depot. Notably, the Board asserted that, “Insofar as BLM has become a well-known abbreviation, and the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter,’ when displayed in the workplace, could reasonably be understood as referring to issues of racial equity and equality at work, it is arguable that displaying the phrase in the workplace, standing alone, would support a mutual aid or protection finding.” However, the Board stated that it was not deciding that issue here (and we add, “yet.”).

Continue Reading Display of BLM Insignia = Protected Concerted Activity

The National Labor Relations Board’s (the Board) General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo ,has sought stronger remedies for violations of the National Labor Relations Act. Her newest proposed remedy would, in some cases, allow a union to decide who must be hired by the employer.

Continue Reading Is the NLRB Overstepping? Proposed Remedy Would Give Unions Hiring Control

On February 5, 2024, Laura Sacks, Regional Director for Region 1 of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), ruled that players on Dartmouth’s men’s basketball team are “employees” within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  While this decision may not come as a surprise in light of NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s GC Memo 21-08 titled “Statutory Rights of Players at Academic Institutions (Student Athletes) Under the National Labor Relations Act”, this decision is likely to accelerate the transformation of college athletics that has already began with the NCAA’s suspension of name, image and likeness rules.

Continue Reading March Madness in February? Unionization Heats Up College Sports Landscape

On January 29, 2024, the Maryland Department of Labor’s (MDOL) issued “draft” regulations to implement Maryland’s paid family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) law, and invited public comment. Starting January 1, 2026 (caveat below), this law will provide most Maryland employees with 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, with the possibility of an additional 12 weeks of paid parental leave, as we have previously detailed in our E-lerts from April 12, 2023 and April 12, 2022. We have identified the following items of interest or significance to employers in the regulations.

Continue Reading Maryland’s “Draft” FAMLI Regulations – What Do They Say?

And employers should take heed, because making assumptions about employees when making employment decisions can certainly make you look like an ass (and by that, I do mean the donkey-like animal and not the body part. Honestly, keep your mind out of the gutter!). That was the lesson learned by Walmart, according to a recent EEOC press release.

Continue Reading Employers, “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.” – Oscar Wilde (or not?*)

Say, like the Secretary of Defense. The media has been abuzz with the story of Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recent medical issues – and particularly the fact that the White House, as well as the Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks (who takes over the Secretary’s responsibilities in his absence) were not notified until after the Secretary Austin had been in the hospital for three days! Various members of Congress are calling for an investigation, among other things. But that raises the question for employers – what is an employee’s responsibility to notify the employer when they will not be at work for medical reasons?

Continue Reading When One of Your Employees Fails to Report to Work…

On December 15, 2023, the Maryland Department of Labor (“MDOL”) issued proposed regulations to implement the Maryland Economic Stabilization Act (“the Act”), which requires employers to provide notice of a mass layoff or a reduction in force in certain circumstances.  The proposed regulations are intended to provide guidance on how the MDOL plans to interpret obligations under the Act and enforce the Act, and the public is invited to provide comment on the proposed regulations before the MDOL issues final regulations. 

Continue Reading The Maryland Department of Labor Issues Proposed Maryland Economic Stabilization Act Regulations

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just announced a resolution of its investigation into Groupon’s recruitment and hiring practices, with a rather unusual term that specifically benefits Black individuals – an issue of heightened sensitivity as employers have struggled with the employment implications of the Supreme Court’s recent decision banning affirmative action in college admissions.

Continue Reading An Interesting Resolution to an EEOC Race Discrimination Investigation…

This week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a $6.875 million settlement (ouch!) with Scripps Clinical Medical Group over its mandatory retirement age policy. Which reminded me that the EEOC has also sued Yale New Haven Hospital for its “Late Career Practitioner Policy,” requiring certain doctors age 70+ to undergo certain medical testing. Since my husband is a doctor (of a certain age), I am particularly interested in these developments – but I note that these principles apply across all employers.

Continue Reading Mandatory Retirement or Medical Exams Based on Age?