With the COVID-19 vaccine finally becoming a reality, healthcare employers, who were first to receive the vaccine for distribution to their workforce, are addressing questions of how to implement vaccination programs. Other employers are thinking about these issues as well, in preparation for the time when vaccines are more widely available. Below, we have addressed many common, and some not so common, questions about vaccines in the workplace.

Continue Reading Vaccines in the Workplace: A Practical Guide for Employers

As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough, it seems scammers have begun preying upon some of the most vulnerable and desperate:  unemployed job seekers.

A few weeks ago, I fielded a call from a client, who had an influx of angry job seekers complaining about its hiring practices. It turns out that scammers were monitoring job search websites, such as Career Builder, LinkedIn, and Indeed, and contacting job seekers who had posted resumes. The scammers then emailed the job seekers about fully remote jobs with generous benefits that paid $35/hour for little to no experience.


Continue Reading Go Phish:  Preying on Vulnerable Job Seekers

It’s that time of year when many folks look forward to seeing family members near and far. In the context of the pandemic, however, the CDC and many state and local officials are recommending that folks avoid travel and gatherings with those outside of the immediate household.  Given the workplace impact of employees’ holiday travel – with possible infections, exposures, and quarantines – employers are wondering whether they can prohibit employees from traveling during the holidays. And the answer, of course: It’s complicated.

Continue Reading It’s The Holiday Season – Can Employers Restrict Personal Travel?

In this new pandemic world, employers are grappling with many questions. One of them is when can they require employees to provide the results from any COVID-19 tests that they have taken, in the context of granting leave and returning to work.

Continue Reading When Can Employers Require Employees to Provide COVID-19 Test Results?

As the United States still struggles with testing capacity for active COVID-19 infections, employers are increasingly asking “may we require our employees be tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies?” This is particularly true following the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position that employers were permitted to test for the presence of active COVID-19 infection, set forth in its What You Should Know About COVID-19 resource (Q&A 6).

Continue Reading COVID-19 Antibody Testing:  Useful Screening Tool or Impermissible Medical Examination?

The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address the “necessity certification” in the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan application and to extend the repayment period of “unnecessary” PPP loans to May 18 in order to allow entities to review the new guidance. The loan application requires certification that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.”

Continue Reading PPP Borrowers Who Received Loans of Less than $2 Million Deemed to Have Made Certification in “Good Faith;” Safe Harbor Return Period Extended to May 18

Today, Governor Hogan announced an Executive Order, Number 20-03-23-01, closing all non-essential businesses to the general public at 5 p.m. today.  Although this is not a “shelter-in-place” directive, Marylanders are urged to stay home. This directive does close retail establishments that were previously permitted to remain open under earlier executive orders.

Continue Reading Maryland Orders Closure of Non-Essential Business To The Public

Last week, Montgomery County, Maryland became the first jurisdiction in the Mid-Atlantic area to ban discrimination—including in the workplace—based on natural hairstyle. The bill expands the definition of race to include “traits historically associated with race,” which includes “hair texture and protective hairstyles.” Specific hairstyles articulated in the legislation include braids, locs, Afros, curls and twists, which are often associated with African American or Latino individuals.

Continue Reading A new protected class in Montgomery County: Natural Hairstyle

A more conservative Supreme Court than we’ve seen in recent history is poised to consider whether Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination based on “sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a trio of cases in the 2019-2020 term, which begins in October. We previously wrote on this topic here as the Circuit split was developing.

Not even the federal government tasked with enforcing employment discrimination laws agrees on whether Title VII covers sexual orientation. The Department of Justice reversed course during the Trump administration and now takes the position that sexual orientation is not covered, whereas the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is holding firm to its position, first adopted in 2015, that sexual orientation is covered, as is gender identity. Additionally, under an Executive Order signed by President Obama (not yet rescinded by President Trump) and enforced by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, federal contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in addition to (and separate from) sex.
Continue Reading Does “Sex” Encompass Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity? The Supremes Will Soon Decide.