On May 16, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor issued principles for employers (and developers) on the use of AI in the workplace. And unsurprisingly, given the Biden Administration’s pro-worker approach to employment issues, the “North Star” of these principles is the involvement of workers and their representatives in the implementation of AI in the workplace.Continue Reading The DOL’s AI Principles for Employers – An Emphasis on Worker Rights

On April 29, 2024, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its long-promised Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace. The document updates and replaces existing EEOC resources on workplace harassment and unsurprisingly (under this pro-worker administration) takes a very broad approach to the topic. Of particular interest to employers, the EEOC also provides specific direction on what it would consider to be best practices for employers in preventing and addressing workplace harassment, including as to policies, training and investigations.Continue Reading The EEOC’s New Harassment Guidance: What Employers Need to Know

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 3-2 to issue a Final Rule banning nearly all non-compete clauses in employment agreements nationwide. As set forth in the FTC’s fact sheet, non-compete provisions are “an unfair method of competition” and therefore violate the Federal Trade Commission Act. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, however, has already filed suit to block the Final Rule. Continue Reading FTC Bans Nearly All Non-Compete Agreements – For Now…

On Tuesday, April 23, 2024, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule raising the salary thresholds to qualify for overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule will become effective on July 1, 2024.Continue Reading DOL Significantly Increases Salary Threshold for Overtime Eligibility

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, has ruled that adverse employment actions need not be “significant” in order to constitute a violation of Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination. This ruling undercuts decades of court decisions that applied a heightened standard of harm, although recent federal appellate court rulings already showed a trend away from that standard.Continue Reading Supreme Court Lowers the Bar for Title VII Discrimination Claims

On April 15, 2024, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a Final Rule and Interpretive Guidance to implement the relatively new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which was enacted by Congress in December of 2022 and which already took effect on June 27, 2023. The Final Rule and Interpretive Guidance provide guidance, with many illustrative examples, on how the EEOC plans to interpret employers’ obligations under the PWFA – and in some cases, expands the obligations beyond even the heightened standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.Continue Reading The EEOC Releases Onerous Final Rule Implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Maryland General Assembly’s 2024 session ended at midnight on Monday, April 8. A number of employment bills that were passed will have a significant impact on employers, including another delay to the forthcoming paid family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program, a new wage range posting mandate, expanded pay stub notice requirements, and additional discrimination protections, including an expansion of the equal pay law. Employers will also face increased penalties for occupational safety and health violations. Additionally, there was a revision to the law restricting the use of non-compete agreements to make it applicable to certain health care providers and veterinarians.Continue Reading New Employment Laws in Maryland – Changes to Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Wage Range Posting Requirements, New Discrimination Protections and More (and a Webinar!)

According to some courts, no. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other courts, yes. And the EEOC is being the squeaky wheel regarding its position, as evidenced by a recent settlement announcement. Continue Reading Are Reasonable Accommodations Required for an Employee’s Commute?

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision rejecting affirmative action in college admissions, there have been well-publicized attacks on corporate diversity initiatives. And now the conservative advocacy group, America First Legal Foundation, is tackling the NFL and its Rooney Rule – a development of concern to employers who use diverse candidate slates in their hiring process. Continue Reading Wiping the (Diverse Candidate) Slate Clean?

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?