During the past week or so, various federal agencies have issued additional COVID-19 guidance of significance (more or less) to employers, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). We summarize these developments below.

Continue Reading COVID-19 Agency Update: CDC and Essential Workers, EEOC and Non-Discrimination, OSHA and COVID-19 Recordkeeping/Enforcement, DOL and Unemployment Compensation Under CARES, and VETS and COVID-19 National Guard Service

The Department of Labor has issued several resources on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: a fact sheet for employers, a fact sheet for employees and a Questions and Answers resource. In particular, the last of these resources answers many, although certainly not all, of the multitude of questions that have arisen in the wake of the enactment of the FFCRA and its paid sick leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act requirements, which we discussed in our March 19, 2020 E-Lert.

Continue Reading DOL Provides Guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Employment lawyers on the management side of the “v” (as in verses for you lucky enough never to have been sued) are hunkered down with our clients on the phone these days. We are figuring out minute by minute how to foretell the COVID-19 future, to determine what the feds will require, what the governors will mandate, and how to balance operational needs, financial insecurity, employee fear, leave from work and needs of clients for services, including vulnerable clients (patients, individuals who need medical equipment after discharge, patrons who need food and prescriptions – all the vital services that we assume are available and that businesses seamlessly provide in normal times).

Continue Reading Love you!!

On January 12, 2018, the Maryland General Assembly overrode Governor Hogan’s veto of the “Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.” Therefore, Maryland employers are now required to provide paid “earned sick and safe” (ESS) leave to employees to use for themselves and to care for their family members. This law is currently scheduled to take effect on February 11, 2018, but Senator Middleton stated that they may be seeking an extension to make the law effective after 90 days instead. We will be holding a complimentary webinar to further discuss compliance with this new law, but we summarize its detailed requirements and obligations, as follows:
Continue Reading Maryland Paid Sick And Safe Leave Is Now Law

Earle K. Shawe, the founder of our firm, passed away on June 30, 2017, at age 104. Earle was present during the infancy of the modern labor law movement in the 1930s, and left his mark throughout the subsequent decades of his practice – truly a giant in the field of labor law.

Earle was a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School – an institution to which he remained devoted throughout his life. In 1996, he endowed the Earle K. Shawe Professorship in Employment Law at the school.
Continue Reading Earle K. Shawe – The Passing of a Labor Law Pioneer

no unionsOne of my partners, Liz Torphy-Donzella, recently sent me an opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal that amused me so much, I had to share it. Entitled “Big Labor’s McDonald’s Defense,” the article remarks on the fact that the Service Employees International Union, one of the most prominent unions in the United States, is fighting efforts to unionize it! (Whaaaat?!!) But wait, there’s more – although the SEIU funds the “Fight for $15” campaign, which seeks to increase the hourly minimum wage rate to $15, it pays its “Fight for $15” staff less than $15 an hour!!! (Let’s pause for a moment to let that sink in, shall we?)

And irony piles upon irony. As you may know, a major target of the “Fight for $15” is McDonalds. On the “Fight for $15” About Us webpage, McDonald’s is the only “low-wage” employer mentioned by name. And according to the Wall Street Journal article, “SEIU claims that it should be able to organize all McDonald’s workers everywhere across the country as a single bargaining unit.”
Continue Reading SEIU Fights Its Own Unionization

Imagine this: Your cobook 2mpany has policies in your employee handbook determined to be unlawful by the NLRB.  Then, you and the NLRB engage in a line-by-line revision of the policies to ensure compliance with Board law and thereafter you issue a new handbook, with policies approved by the Board, to your employees.  Everything is ok, right? Wrong!  This is exactly what occurred in Boch Imports, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board.  In affirming the NLRB, the First Circuit determined that the Employer failed to properly repudiate its prior, unlawful handbook policies even though it revised those policies in collaboration with the NLRB Regional Office.
Continue Reading Must Employers Repudiate Unlawful Handbook Policies?

2000px-Venus_symbol.svgOn Tuesday (June 14, 2016) of this week, the White House Council on Women and Girls together with the Department of State, Department of Labor, the Aspen Institute, and Civic Nation held the Summit on the United State of Women.   On that same day, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a Final Rule updating the OFCCP’s sex discrimination guidelines.  According to the OFCCP’s Fact Sheet, the revisions were to bring the guidelines, which are from what the OFCCP called the “Mad Men” era (1970’s), up to date.

The OFCCP published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on January 30, 2015 and received 553 comments on the proposed rule.   The Final Rule will take effect on August 15, 2016.
Continue Reading OFCCP Issues Final Rule Updating Sex Discrimination Guidelines

So, as I said in my last post, we have read this new persuader rule front to back and back to front. Last week, we told you why we are suing the government: the new interpretation is unfair and unlawful. This week, because the DOL went completely off the reservation, I thought we should poke a little fun at it for some of its ridiculous positions, so here goes.

DOL says it is interpreting the “advice” exemption, but it completely reconfigures the definition of persuasive activity. The statute refers to persuasive activity as activity with the direct or indirect object to persuade.  Somehow, DOL tangled itself in knots over this one. It now thinks that direct persuasive activity means the persuader has direct contact with employees and indirect persuasive activity means you do not have direct contact with employees. Do you see anything about that in the statute? Neither do I. That’s because it’s not there. The terms “direct” and “indirect” modify the objective, and have nothing to do with contact with employees. Obviously, you need to have contact with employees to directly or indirectly persuade them regarding their rights.

DOL’s rule conflates a principle put in place by the former rule, that persuaders need only report direct contact with employees, with the language in the statute, that activity with the direct or indirect object to persuade must be reported. In so doing, the DOL’s position is that all advice, which is expressly exempted from the reporting requirement, is now considered indirect persuasive activity that must be reported.


Continue Reading Bet You Didn’t Know that Your Interior Decorator is a Persuader