Legislative Developments

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a tumultuous session for the Maryland General Assembly, whose 2021 session ended at midnight on Monday, April 12. Among the many bills that passed, there were a number of significance to employers, including protection for essential workers in a catastrophic public health emergency, bereavement leave, workplace peace orders, an extension of the time in which to file complaints of discrimination with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, modifications to the mass layoff law, and requirements for gender diversity on boards and in executive management in order to qualify for certain state benefits, among other things.

Continue Reading New Employment Laws in Maryland – Protection for Essential Workers, Bereavement Leave, Workplace Peace Orders, and More! (And a Webinar!)

As individuals beyond front-line healthcare workers are becoming eligible for the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just released a toolkit for employers of essential workers, to join those that it previously released for medical centers/clinics/clinicians, and long-term care facilities. Although targeted for these specific employers, the resources provide information and resources that are applicable to employers generally.

Continue Reading More Guidance from the CDC on Workplace Vaccination Programs

Following the shocking events of January 6, 2020, there have been many reports of individuals who have been terminated, suspended or resigned from employment as a consequence due to their involvement in the deadly storming of the Capitol building or their active support of President Trump’s “stolen election” narrative. But what exactly are the parameters of when an employer can take action against an employee for engaging in off-duty activities that an employer may find repugnant? We first blogged about this issue back in 2017, in light of the deadly white nationalist/supremacist rally in Charlottesville. But a refresher seems timely.
Continue Reading Can Employers Terminate for Off-Duty Conduct (Say, Like Storming the Capitol)?

Effective February 19, 2021, Montgomery County’s Ban-the-Box law is becoming far more restrictive and will apply to all employers – not just those with 15 or more employees.

As employers with employees in Montgomery County, Maryland should know, Montgomery County had previously enacted a Ban-the-Box law that prohibited inquiries about an applicant’s arrest or conviction record until the end of the first interview. (The “Box” refers to the box, contained on many employment applications, that must be checked if the applicant has a criminal record.) This law has now been amended, with expansive new protections for applicants and employees of all Montgomery County employers.


Continue Reading Montgomery County’s Ban the Box Law Is Becoming More Restrictive

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)

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

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?!!

On Sunday, March 15, 2020, we provided a comprehensive summary of the paid leave and other employment-related provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 13. This bill makes sweeping changes to an employer’s legal obligations: (1) imposing a paid sick and safe leave (“PSL”) mandate for COVID-19-related reasons on most employers with fewer than 500 employees; (2) temporarily and vastly expanding coverage and imposing a paid leave requirement on these same employers under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) for school and child care closures associated with COVID-19; (3) making unemployment benefits available for reasons associated with COVID-19; and (4) giving a tax credit for paid sick and paid family and medical leave.

Continue Reading U.S. House of Representatives Amends the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”