On May 15, 2018, Governor Hogan signed into law the “Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018” (the “Act”). The Act will go into effect on October 1, 2018, and contains two new obligations with which Maryland employers will need to comply.
On January 12, 2018, the Maryland Senate joined the Maryland House in voting to override Governor Hogan’s veto of House Bill 1, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which requires employers to provide paid sick and safe leave to hundreds of thousands of Maryland workers. The bill was enacted upon the Senate’s override and will become effective on February 11, 2018, unless the General Assembly passes emergency legislation that was introduced on January 23, 2018 to delay implementation of the law by an additional 60 days.
This emergency bill is designed to give both employers and state administrative agencies more time to implement the law’s requirements. It is not yet known whether there are enough votes to delay implementation of the sick and safe leave law, but we will continue to provide updates on the status of this bill in the coming days.
The sick and safe leave law requires employers with 15 or more workers to allow them to earn up to five days per year of paid leave, which employees may use for their own illnesses or to attend to issues related to domestic violence or sexual assault. Employers with fewer than 15 employees would be required to allow workers to earn the same amount of unpaid leave. We will update this post when more information becomes available.
Today we continue with our Year in Review segment, which looks at the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in New York, the DC Metro Area, Massachusetts, and California, while offering our thoughts about 2017. Today we turn to the DC Metro Area. In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017. Register here.
The District of Columbia, Maryland (including Montgomery County) witnessed an active 2016 with respect to new and amended workplace laws that impose additional responsibilities on employers, and expand employee rights and avenues of enforcement. Employers should be aware of these new requirements and take immediate action to comply with them. We highlight below the most significant updates in both D.C. and Maryland; there were no changes or additions of significance in Virginia.
This week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed its first lawsuits alleging sexual orientation discrimination under Title VII against employers in Pennsylvania and Maryland. In both cases, the EEOC seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief. The lawsuits are the latest step by the Commission to confirm its view that “sex” discrimination under Title VII encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Last month, a federal court in Maryland denied an employer’s motion to compel arbitration even though the plaintiff executed an arbitration agreement the employer had included in the plaintiff’s employment application. The court found the agreement unenforceable because the parties did not have a “meeting of the minds” at the time the employer asked the plaintiff to complete the employment application. This decision serves as an important reminder to employers to examine not just the content of the agreement itself, but also the context around which the contract is executed.
For those of you following the saga our Employee Mobility Practice Group has been documenting about the many ways in which social media appears to be impacting the non-compete world, I present to you yet another case that highlights the treasure trove of evidence that LinkedIn may provide.
Written by Gauri Punjabi
Fair Credit Reporting Act class actions remain on the rise. The latest one of note was recently filed in Maryland federal court against staffing agencies Aerotek, Inc. and Allegis Group, Inc., alleging that they violated the FCRA after they fired an employee without providing him with advance notice and an opportunity to dispute certain criminal history information identified on a background report.
Written by David Barmak
More bad news for employers: Maryland’s Court of Appeals (its highest court) has now put to rest any question about an employee’s right to recover treble damages in connection with an unpaid overtime claim.