Employee Leave (FMLA and ADA)

As attorneys, of course we are delighted to answer questions from our clients – even basic ones. But the U.S. Department of Labor has provided many free resources for employers to educate them about and help them comply with their obligations under a multitude of workplace laws. A particularly useful tool that many employers may not know about is the elaws Advisors. Although the elaws Advisors are directed at workers and small employers, they provide an excellent overview of numerous federal employment laws for employers of all sizes.

Continue Reading Employers, You Don’t Always Have to Call Your Attorney First… Take a Look at the US DOL’s elaws Advisors

While there are plenty of employees who legitimately need and appropriately use Family and Medical Leave Act leave, there are some bad apples out there who abuse FMLA leave, typically to cover a day off here and there – and employers are often frustrated with how to deal with them. While the FMLA itself provides some limited recourse (mostly in terms of certifications and recertifications) for employers to question overall patterns of use, it doesn’t really address specific incidents of intermittent leave use. So what can employers do? Well, one option might be to hire a private investigator.

Continue Reading Employers May Use a Private Investigator to Validate an Employee’s Use of FMLA Leave

The Maryland General Assembly’s 2022 session ended at midnight on Monday, April 11. There were a number of bills passed of significance to employers, including the creation of a paid family leave program, an expanded definition of illegal harassment, an extension of the statute of limitations for employment discrimination and harassment claims, reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities, the possibility of recreational marijuana, revisions to Maryland’s Personal Information Protection law, and Juneteenth as a new State holiday. For more details about each of these bills and information about our upcoming webinar on April 28, 2022 to provide guidance on compliance, click here.

Continue Reading New Employment Laws in Maryland – Paid Family and Medical Leave, Expanded Definition of Harassment, Disability Accommodations and More (and a Webinar!)

If this bill becomes law, it will have a significant impact on all employers with Maryland employees. It provides for up to 12 weeks of paid leave for reasons that are mostly covered by the federal Family and Medical Act, and an additional 12 weeks if an employee requires both leave for their own serious health condition and to care for a child after birth/adoption/foster placement. There are many reasons why this bill is problematic for employers, as detailed below, which is why the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is urging employers to support a veto by Governor Hogan and to contact their state Senators to request that they not override any veto.

Continue Reading The Maryland General Assembly Just Passed Paid Family and Medical Leave – What’s Next for Employers?

With the play-in games underway, March Madness has officially descended upon employers everywhere. An estimated 40 million Americans will fill out tournament brackets, and chances are all of them will be imperfect (1 in 120.2 billion to be exact, and that’s only if you know a little bit about basketball).  During this time of the year, employers should keep in mind legal implications of any office bracket pools, and should plan to keep a closer eye on productivity given how much is typically lost in March.  Whether employees are working from home or from the office, chances are they may use their work time to make picks. And when the tournament begins, you can be sure that many employees will be checking scores during their work time, if not actually watching the game. This post will serve as a helpful guide to employers on March Madness issues  in the workplace, including gambling and lost productivity, and will provide helpful recommendations on how employers should navigate them.

Continue Reading An (Updated) Employer’s Guide to March Madness

It’s not surprising that employers don’t approve of employees “shredding the gnar”* when they’re supposedly unable to work because of a serious medical condition. And that’s exactly what happened in Botelho v. Mayorkas, where a former Behavior Detection Officer for the TSA who worked at the Honolulu International Airport was fired for Family and Medical Leave Act abuse after his employer discovered that he was making snowboarding movies while apparently using FMLA to take an extended vacation.
Continue Reading Extraordinary Employee Misconduct: Making Snowboarding Movies While on FMLA?

Here’s another installment in our occasional series on the I-can’t-believe-they-did-that actions of employees. Now, I know that there’s a more common term for these types of pictures of a guy’s personal junk, but one of my law partners (let’s call her “Lulu,” shall we?) insisted that I not use it. Even with asterisks. So … let’s see what lessons we can draw from this situation, shall we? Beyond the obvious, of course.

Continue Reading Extraordinary Employee Misconduct: No Pics of Your Privates at Work!

A day after President Biden announced his COVID-19 Action Plan (which we discussed here), leaders from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration held a short briefing to discuss its forthcoming Emergency Temporary Standard that will require employers with 100+ employees to (1) mandate vaccinations or weekly testing, and (2) provide paid vaccination leave. The President’s announcement regarding these requirements was sorely lacking in details, but the OSHA briefing provided a few (not many) useful tidbits for nervously wondering employers.  (Be aware, however, that the ETS is not yet written, and it is possible that some of what they said today might not end up being accurate….)
Continue Reading A Few More Answers from OSHA on the Impending Vaccination ETS…

As part of his COVID-19 vaccination push, President Biden recently announced that (among other things) the program that reimburses certain employers for providing paid leave to employees for particular COVID-19-related reasons would be expanded to include leave to get family/household members vaccinated (and, although not part of the Presidential statement, to care for them if they experience adverse effects to the vaccine). So I’ve been trying to figure out how this actually worked.

Continue Reading Small/Mid-Size Employers May Be Reimbursed for Paid Family Vaccination Leave!

So said a federal court in tossing an employee’s rather cheeky claims of interference with her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as retaliation for taking FMLA leave, when she was fired after taking a trip to Thailand – for which she had previously requested time off and was denied – while on FMLA leave.

Continue Reading “Taking a Trip Is Not Protected Activity Under the FMLA”