On May 2, 2022, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to Helix Energy Solutions Group Incorporated after Helix lost before the en banc United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in a sharply-divided opinion last year.  In Hewitt v. Helix Energy Solutions Grp., Inc., 15 F.4th 289 (5th Cir. 2021), the Fifth Circuit held 12-6 that employers must guarantee their day-rate workers a minimum weekly payment that is reasonably related to the amount those workers actually earn in that timespan for their workers to be exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements.  This minimum weekly payment must be a predetermined amount that does not change based on the number of days or hours actually worked, if the employer wishes to enjoy the FLSA’s exemptions to paying its day-rate workers overtime.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Will Consider Helix Day Rate Pay Case

On April 9, 2022, Maryland became just the tenth state (in addition to the District of Columbia) to enact a paid family and medical leave law that covers private-sector workers, after overriding Governor Larry Hogan’s (R) veto. 
Continue Reading Maryland Becomes the Tenth State to Pass a Paid Family Leave Law

On March 14, 2022, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued a technical assistance document providing guidance when it comes to claims of discrimination against employees and applicants with caregiving responsibilities in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic (“Guidelines”).  The Guidelines, entitled “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Caregiver Discrimination Under Federal Employment Discrimination Laws”, examine discrimination against employees and applicants based on pandemic caregiving responsibilities, noting that such discrimination may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) or Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), or other federal laws.
Continue Reading EEOC Provides New Guidance on COVID-19 Pandemic and Caregiver Discrimination

Lost in the weeds of recent COVID-19 news is the increasing number of states and localities that have legalized medicinal and recreational use of marijuana.  Such legalization brings with it varying degrees of worker protections and employer obligations.  Philadelphia, PA and the state of Montana are two of the latest jurisdictions to add their names to the sprouting list of jurisdictions that protect not only medical use, but also recreational use of marijuana.  These protections will undoubtedly usher in a new wave of test cases and compliance questions, particularly as many workplaces shift to remote models.
Continue Reading Philadelphia and Montana Join List of Jurisdictions That Provide Protections for Recreational Marijuana Use

Executive Order 12866 requires federal agencies to publish an agenda of regulations they plan to propose, promulgate, or review in the coming one-year period.  The Department of Labor’s regulatory agenda showed ambitious goals for its agencies in 2022, as does President Biden’s Build Back Better Framework. Employers should brace themselves for increased enforcement activity from agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”).
Continue Reading Labor Agencies Pursue Aggressive Agendas in 2022

On December 6, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio surprised employers by announcing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that, starting December 27, NYC will mandate vaccines for all private-sector workers.  The mandate is expected to affect around 184,000 employers.
Continue Reading NYC Mandates Vaccines for All Private-Sector Workers, But Will it Stick?

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed S.B. 4394, an amendment of Section 740 to the New York Labor Law that dramatically expands safeguards against employer whistleblower retaliation. The new law expands protected activity that entitles an employee to whistleblower protection, the categories of covered workers protected by the statute, and the definition of prohibited retaliatory actions, among other changes.  The new law takes effect on January 26, 2022. Some of the key provisions that New York employers should carefully review are listed below.
Continue Reading New York Substantially Expands Employee Whistleblower Protections

On October 11, 2021, Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, issued Executive Order GA-40, which proscribes entities from compelling individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine who object “for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.” Offending entities can be fined up to $1,000 for failing to comply with this order.
Continue Reading Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Prohibiting Vaccine Mandates in Texas