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?

In the COVID-19 recession, many employers made reductions in force en masse, thus avoiding selection decisions that might be challenged as discriminatory.  If the same employers recall or rehire employees en masse, they will continue to avoid such decisions.  But what if the employer’s need to recall or rehire is partial or gradual, such that some employees are brought back before others?  Such choices can give rise discrimination claims.  To protect itself, an employer will need to apply and document a non-discriminatory method of choosing among employees.

Continue Reading Selecting Employees for Recall or Rehire

Apparently inspired by the tidying up trend, the Department of Labor threw out two sections of its interpretation concerning the commission sales exemption from overtime that no longer gave it joy.  The commission sales exemption covers sales employees who are primarily paid by commission.  To come under the exemption, the employee must be employed in a “retail or service” establishment, must earn at least 1.5 times the minimum wage, and more than half the employee’s compensation for a representative period (not less than one month) must represent commissions.

Continue Reading DOL Streamlines Its Regulation Interpreting Commission Sales Exemption from Overtime

As businesses slowly begin to reopen, workers are being recalled to the workplace. Some of them are expressing reluctance to return due to increased health risks from COVID-19 based on underlying medical conditions or age. Others are struggling with child care issues as schools remain closed for the remainder of the academic year and summer care programs are canceled. Some employers have asked what are their obligations to such workers under the law? Can they terminate them, or do they have to accommodate them?

Continue Reading Recalled Workers Don’t Want to Return Because of Health Risks or Child Care – Now What?

On April 24, 2020, Governor Hogan issued “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,” his plan for reopening the state as the COVID-19 pandemic crisis begins to ease. This plan is of critical interest and importance to Maryland employers, and we outline the plan here. This Roadmap is quite general in nature, as would be expected, given that there are many moving parts in play. But it provides some overall guidance as to the order in which certain businesses can expect to resume operations.

Continue Reading What Does Governor Hogan’s Roadmap to Recovery Mean for Maryland Employers?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates that private employers with 500 or fewer employees (with exceptions for certain small employers as well as health care providers and emergency responders) and some public sector employers must provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency Family and Medical Leave Act leave for specific COVID-related reasons. The Act, however, did not address what documentation, if any, an employer could request in order to substantiate the leave and receive the tax credits that will fund the leave. The DOL initially provided guidance in its Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers, but subsequently retracted it, directing employers to the Internal Revenue Service for further guidance. And on the eve of the FFCRA’s effective date of April 1, 2020, the IRS finally provided such guidance.

Continue Reading IRS Identifies What Documentation Can Be Required by Employers for FFCRA Leave, and Much More on Tax Credits

I don’t like it when the federal agencies don’t play fair. I previously blogged about the EEOC’s sneaky change in its position on whether sexual orientation discrimination is covered by Title VII (it revised its guidance without any kind of announcement. It was just suddenly… the exact opposite). And now, the Department of Labor has pulled the same trick with regard to its guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act!

Continue Reading Wait – the DOL Made Their FFCRA Guidance LESS Useful?!!

Governor Hogan has issued an Executive Order, effective 8:00 p.m. on March 30, 2020, requiring all Maryland residents to stay at home except to conduct essential activities. Certain employees of essential businesses and non-essential businesses, however, may continue to travel to work, as described below.

Continue Reading What Does Governor Hogan’s “Stay-at-Home” Order Mean for Employers?