Employment lawyers on the management side of the “v” (as in verses for you lucky enough never to have been sued) are hunkered down with our clients on the phone these days. We are figuring out minute by minute how to foretell the COVID-19 future, to determine what the feds will require, what the governors will mandate, and how to balance operational needs, financial insecurity, employee fear, leave from work and needs of clients for services, including vulnerable clients (patients, individuals who need medical equipment after discharge, patrons who need food and prescriptions – all the vital services that we assume are available and that businesses seamlessly provide in normal times).

Continue Reading Love you!!

On Sunday, March 15, 2020, we provided a comprehensive summary of the paid leave and other employment-related provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 13. This bill makes sweeping changes to an employer’s legal obligations: (1) imposing a paid sick and safe leave (“PSL”) mandate for COVID-19-related reasons on most employers with fewer than 500 employees; (2) temporarily and vastly expanding coverage and imposing a paid leave requirement on these same employers under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) for school and child care closures associated with COVID-19; (3) making unemployment benefits available for reasons associated with COVID-19; and (4) giving a tax credit for paid sick and paid family and medical leave.

Continue Reading U.S. House of Representatives Amends the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”

On January 30, 2020, the Maryland General Assembly voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of the “Ban the Box” bill that was passed in the last legislative session, just as we predicted in our veto E-lert. The law will prohibit employers in Maryland from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until later in the application process. It takes effect on February 29, 2020, and Maryland employers should prepare now to comply with the new requirements.

Continue Reading Maryland’s General Assembly Overrides “Ban the Box” Veto – What’s Next for Employers

Pronouns – those articles of speech referring to the person other than by name – have become complicated. My law firm writes a lot (articles for L&E publications, monthly electronic E-Updates, E-Lerts to report actionable “new stuff” and, of course, this blog). In the “old days” we used the pronoun “he” as the universal. Then, in defiance of the “patriarchy” the term he/she or (s)he was substituted. We came to recognize that the language we use impacts attitudes about “who belongs.” 

Continue Reading Pronouns and Coworkers and Misgendering (Oh My!)

In Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar cried out “Et Tu Brute?” – translated “Even you Brutus?” – as he lay dying from the assassin’s sword that had been plunged into his chest by his friend and confidant, Marcus Brutus.  These words came to mind as I read an article about a sordid tale of rampant sexual misconduct by SEIU officials. Even them???

Continue Reading #MeToo (Et Tu SEIU?)

NLRB Delivers A “Holiday Gift” To Employers: New Union Election Timelines

On December 13, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule revising the Obama-era union election procedures (known as “R-Case” rules). The revision to the procedures will become effective 120 days from its publication in the Federal Register next week.

Continue Reading NLRB Delivers A “Holiday Gift” To Employers: New Union Election Timelines

Most human resources folks know that, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, eligible employees can take leave to care for a child with a serious health condition, and that the FMLA defines “child” as being under the age of 18. But what some perhaps don’t realize is the  FMLA has an additional definition of “child”: one over 18 years who  is “incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.” And even if they’re aware of that definition, they may not understand that the disability can be quite temporary in nature. A recent case, Gibson v. New York State Office of Mental Health, clearly makes this point.

Continue Reading FMLA to Care for Adult Child?

In a study published in 2000, two professors – one from Princeton, the other from Harvard –concluded that blind auditions exponentially increased the probability of female musicians being selected for seats on major symphony orchestras. In blind auditions, musicians play from behind screens, thus removing the distraction of the person, including the person’s race, age or (the focus of the study) gender. The study collected data from eight symphony orchestras over four decades. The problem is, according to a Wall Street Journal article, the data presented a “tangle of contradictory trends” that did not support the unequivocal bottom line presented by the authors. Indeed, “[t]he paper includes multiple warnings about small sample sizes, contradictory results and failures to pass standard tests of statistical significance. But few readers seem to have noticed. What caught everyone’s attention was a big claim in the final paragraph.”

Continue Reading Behind the Blind Selection Screen

By now most everyone has heard about the travails of WeWork arising from the swift downfall of founder Adam Neumann. If you have not heard, you are missing some fascinating stuff.  A Wall Street Journal piece was first to chronicle Neumann’s manic behavior (such as pondering how to become immortal and transporting large amounts of marijuana on a private jet trip, much to the chagrin of the jet’s owner!). In the wake of these disclosures, private equity investment firms that had committed tens of millions to WeWork became skittish, a planned IPO was pulled, and a faction of WeWork board members called for Neumann’s removal as a CEO. Indeed, within roughly a week of the WSJ article, he was forced to vacate his leadership role. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and other investment houses now have written down the value of their investments by tens of millions of dollars.
Continue Reading Executive Rules of Etiquette for RIFs