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?

One of the many services we provide to our clients is training on how to respond effectively to union organizing activity. In short, we provide the do’s and don’ts of how to respond lawfully to a union’s efforts to organize an employer’s workforce. During these trainings, we often stress the fine line dividing lawful and unlawful statements and conduct.

Continue Reading Here’s What Not to Do When Faced With Union Organizing Activity

In my occasional series of blog posts involving I-can’t-believe-they-said-that employee excuses, here’s one that made my jaw drop.

Many of you are familiar with the Wal-Mart greeter – that friendly person at the store entrance who used to welcome shoppers with a hello and perhaps an offer of assistance. (And I say “used to” because apparently the position has been replaced by a  “customer host” position that provides more customer service and theft prevention functions throughout the store). This position, which was created by founder Sam Walton, was a large part of the company culture.  It seems obvious that the essential function of a greeter is, well, to greet customers. Which would necessarily require the greeter to actually be present in order to do so, right?


Continue Reading Extraordinary Employee Excuses: Attendance Is Not An Essential Job Function of a Greeter?

OK, I’m a bit of a nerd about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and its regulations. And I would expect the Department of Labor to be the same. After all, they wrote the regulations! But I feel like they might have missed the boat a bit with their recent revisions to the Final Rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Continue Reading Does the DOL Really Know Its Own FMLA Regulations?

In Maryland, if your employment application includes criminal history questions, then you are not paying attention to Shawe Rosenthal’s electronic communications.  As we advised in an E-Lert, “Ban the Box” (the little box asking about criminal history that applicants check off) became the law in Maryland effective February 29, 2020.

Continue Reading Maryland Bans Another Box from Employment Applications (and Discussions)

Following last month’s federal court ruling that the U.S. Department of Labor had exceeded its authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in formulating certain regulatory provisions, the DOL has now issued a revised Final Rule, which becomes effective on September 16, 2020. These revisions do the following: (1) reaffirm the work-availability requirement, (2) reaffirm employer approval of intermittent leave, (3) modify the timing requirement for documentation, and (4) scale back the broad exemption for health care providers. Employers nationwide will need to make adjustments to their FFCRA procedures in accordance with the revised Final Rule.

Continue Reading DOL Revises FFCRA Final Rule: What This Means for Covered Employers

The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued, on August 28, 2020, a Notice concerning President Trump’s Presidential Memorandum concerning employers’ deferral of payroll taxes.  Here are the key points:

Continue Reading Treasury Department Provides Guidance on President Trump’s Deferral of Payroll Taxes

In light of the global racial justice movement, I know that all major (and most not-so-major) corporations are thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion right now. They are promoting DE&I initiatives in the workplace, and proudly trumpeting their activities to their workforce and the public. And that’s good, because this is an important issue. But what’s not good is when companies rush in blindly, because those anti-discrimination initiatives can (ironically) end up violating the anti-discrimination laws!

Continue Reading Hey CEOs – Be Careful About Diversity Hiring Quotas!

On July 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued additional Q&A resources to provide guidance to employers on COVID-19-related issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). While much of the guidance reiterates general principles under each of these laws, they offer some interesting insights on a few issues specific to COVID-19.


Continue Reading DOL Provides COVID-19-Related Guidance on FLSA, FMLA and FFCRA