Since the early 1990s, criminal investigations and prosecutions by the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division have focused on massive price-fixing cartels, resulting in billions of dollars in corporate fines and many years of prison time for top-level executives.
The cartels involved industries such as air and sea cargo, vitamins, dynamic random-access memory computer chips, liquid crystal display computer monitors, and most recently a wide array of automobile parts.
Virginia recently amended its wage law in a very significant manner by enacting the Overtime Wage Act (Act). The Act took effect on July 1, 2021.
Key takeaways from the amendment include the following:
- The Act has changed the manner in which the regular rate of pay is calculated for salaried, non exempt employees. Under Section 40.1-29.2(B)(2) of the Virginia Code, the regular rate of pay for salaried, non exempt is now one fortieth (1/40th) of all wages paid in a particular workweek.
On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new guidance explaining when employers can offer incentives to employees to (1) voluntarily receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered by an employer; or (2) provide COVID-19 vaccination documentation without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”). The guidance answers questions related to who employers can offer incentives to and how they can do it.
In the last few years, we’ve heard a lot about non-disclosure agreements or “NDAs.” They are commonly used to protect against disclosure of confidential business information or financial data and similar types of highly sensitive information. Sometimes the question arises, what happens if someone breaches an NDA?
In a recent Maryland case, the answer had a whipsaw-like quality, as a jury returned a $20 million verdict only to see the trial judge reduce the award to $1.
On May 5, 2021, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) withdrew the Independent Contractor Rule which had been adopted by the Trump Administration which would have made it easier for employers to categorize individuals as independent contractors as opposed to employees.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires all employers to pay non-exempt employees at least the federal minimum wage for every hour worked in a non overtime work week.
Maryland may soon join Virginia and D.C. in establishing COVID-19 workplace safety requirements. The state’s House of Delegates and Senate recently passed the Maryland Essential Workers’ Protection Act, and it is awaiting approval from Governor Larry Hogan (even if Governor Hogan vetoes the Act, the legislature has the votes to override any such veto).
Under the new Act, each essential employer* must take certain actions related to occupational safety and health during an emergency.
A bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly on March 30, 2021 extends the Maryland Flexible Leave Act (“the Act”) to cover bereavement leave. The bill now awaits Governor Hogan’s signature.
Under the Act, covered Maryland employers must allow their employees to use earned paid leave to care for immediate family members (children, spouse, and parents) with an illness. Employees covered by the Act can use their paid leave to care for an immediate family member under the same rules that apply for an employee’s use of paid leave for their own illness.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the Act) became effective on March 11, 2021. It provides six months, from April 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021, of free health care coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) to laid off employees and their covered dependents.
The Act applies to employees who have been laid off, i.e., involuntary termination or involuntary reduction in hours, over the past year and who would have been covered by COBRA at the time of their termination.
In February, in a continued effort to protect workers in the District of Columbia and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the D.C. Council passed the Workplace Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2021. The Workplace Safety Resolution repeals, updates, and expands the previous Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 and the Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2021.
The COVID-19 vaccine raises many questions for employers. Should you mandate it? Should you recommend it? What policies do you need?
Lerch Early employment attorneys Marc Engel and Michael Neary on February 11 presented a webinar on how employers should handle issues surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and plan for the day when the vaccine is readily available.
To view the webinar on Zoom, click here.