Two recent developments out of Annapolis pose new challenges for Maryland employers confronted with claims of harassment. Effective October 1, 2022, Maryland’s employee-friendly Senate Bill (S.B.) 450 and S.B. 451 lowered the applicable legal standard required to establish a harassment claim and extended the period within which a person may bring a civil action alleging an unlawful employment practice.
Every year, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry announces the inflation-adjusted minimum wage rate.
Though the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment in its entirety in Golden Glow Tanning Salon, Inc. v. City of Columbus, Mississippi, Judge James C. Ho’s concurrence raised an interesting issue of whether there is an unenumerated constitutional right to work that could limit the government’s ability to regulate business.
We recently reported on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request covering government contractors’ 2016–2020 Type 2 EEO-1 reports announced in the Federal Register, pursuant to which contractors had until October 19, 2022, to object to the disclosure of their data. The requesting investigative reporter and nonprofit news organization subsequently sued the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under FOIA, alleging that the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) violated FOIA in response to the FOIA requests. OFCCP began contacting companies for which it claims to have no record of objections to the FOIA request, via email on November 22, 2022.
A basketball player from the Dominican Republic could be the first prospective National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athlete to secure an O-1 temporary work visa for those with “extraordinary ability” in athletics to allow him to profit from his name, image, and likeness (NIL) while in school. The move comes as brands are looking to sign college athletes under the NCAA’s interim NIL policy, though international athletes have limited ability to do so under student visas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently announced that it is expanding a pilot program to eliminate admission stamps in passports. The record being eliminated is the ink stamp and not the “visa stamp” that a U.S. embassy or consulate affixes to passports.
On November 21, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Senate Bill S1958A, which amends section 215 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL) to enhance protections for employees who take legally protected absences. The law takes effect on February 19, 2023.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicked off on November 20, 2022, in a special late fall edition of the quadrennial tournament—highlighting the dangers of high-heat work environments. Typically held in June and July, the 2022 World Cup is being held in November and December this time to avoid the high summer temperatures in the Persian Gulf country—which average more than 100°F during the summer months—that can make it dangerous or difficult for players.
On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 6–3 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that expanded the right of Americans to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. More accurately, the Court significantly curtailed a state’s ability to restrict citizens’ right to carry firearms publicly for their self-defense.
On November 8, 2022, voters in Maryland and Missouri overwhelmingly approved ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana, becoming the 20th and 21st states to do so. And, as part of the ballot initiative in Missouri, the existing medical marijuana law was amended to include express employment protections for medical marijuana cardholders.
On November 16, 2022, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that would limit enforceability of nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions in pre-dispute agreements with employees and independent contractors relating to sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations. The bill, S. 4524, or the “Speak Out Act,” passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a vote of 315–109, the vote coming after the U.S. Senate passed the bill on September 29, 2022.
A collision between the Ontario government and unionized education workers escalated into one of the most significant moments in recent Canadian labour relations history.
On September 9, 2015, then U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates issued a memo, “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing,” that sent shivers down the spines of those in the workplace safety community.
On November 10, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued proposed revisions to its Employer Information Report (EEO-1) Component 1 data collection to streamline the process for large employers with multiple establishments.
On November 15, 2022, an investigative reporter and a nonprofit news organization sued the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The investigative reporter previously submitted multiple FOIA requests for federal contractors’ and first-tier subcontractors’ Type 2 Consolidated EEO-1 Report data to the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
On November 8, 2022, voters in Colorado passed a ballot initiative to decriminalize possession of and legalize limited use of psychedelic mushrooms and other plant- and fungi-derived psychedelic drugs by those 21 years of age or older.
Canada is considering implementing new laws regarding supply-chain due diligence and other obligations relating to forced labour and child labour. In late 2021, Canadian Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne introduced Bill S-211, An Act to enact the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act and to amend the Customs Tariff. It has since passed the Senate, and moved to the House of Commons where it is likely to pass and receive Royal Assent, becoming law.
The New Hampshire Paid Family and Medical Leave (NH PFML) Plan, otherwise known as the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan, is the nation’s first and only voluntary, state-sponsored paid leave plan.
On November 4, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to rescind the “election protection” rule published on April 1, 2020, and to restore the prior protocols, including holding the processing of an election petition in abeyance if a union files an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge—often referred to as a “blocking charge”—alleging an employer’s interference with the election process.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced countless businesses to transition their employees to remote work, and through this process, many learned that remote work can offer multiple advantages, including increased employee productivity and morale and decreased expense associated with commercial office space and employee parking. Even those companies continuing to prefer an in-person presence have permitted at least some remote work on a hybrid basis, if only to remain competitive in a tight labor market. Lurking in the background is the unavoidable suspicion that at least some remote workers are taking advantage of the situation, and, indeed, some are—and in a surprising way. An increasing number of remote employees are working multiple jobs at the same time, so much so that the phenomenon is now referred to as “overemployed.”
On November 11, 2022, the United States will celebrate Veterans Day, an annual holiday honoring military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The date was first recognized as Armistice Day, a holiday to celebrate the end of World War I.
On November 3, 2022, an Illinois circuit court judge dismissed a Biometric Information Privacy Act (Privacy Act or BIPA) putative class action against Samsara, Inc., a DashCam developer. DashCam is a safety technology for trucking companies such as Samsara’s customer and co-defendant, Beelman Truck Co. The DashCam device points an internet-connected dashboard camera at the driver to detect risky driving behaviors.
Happy Veterans Day to all who served in the military—whether in combat or not, overseas or state side, officer or rank and file, or in any other capacity. We owe you our respect and gratitude. In the United States, Veterans Day is a federal holiday observed on November 11 every year. In addition to honoring veterans for their service, Veteran’s Day also offers the opportunity to reflect on employment challenges facing veterans and what employers can do to improve opportunities to those who have served.
Millions of voters across the United States went to the polls on November 8, 2022, for the midterm elections, but as of November 9, 2022, control of both chambers of Congress for the second half of President Biden’s first term still hangs in the balance.
The U.S. Department of Education has terminated federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as a national accrediting agency. The loss of recognition will affect certain immigration beneficiaries because many immigration benefits are available only in cases in which a beneficiary has a degree from, or is currently enrolled in, a nationally accredited institution.
Issues related to whether individuals are independent contractors or employees receive significant attention by employers and governmental entities because of the critical impact of misclassification. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) recently published proposed rule restricting when individuals can be considered independent contractors is an example of this scrutiny.
After several months of discussion and uncertainty, on November 3, 2022, Mexico’s Senate of the Republic approved a bill that would modify articles 76 and 78 of Mexico’s Federal Labor Law (FLL) to entitle employees to more paid vacation days.
With the rise of inflation and other negative economic indicators, most news reports are suggesting that the U.S. economy is facing uncertain times. Some economists predict that the economy is headed for a recession or that the United States has already entered one, while others are more optimistic.