REVISITING WHEN AN EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK IS A CONTRACT UNDER MARYLAND LAW

Is your employee handbook a contract? Thirty years ago, Maryland’s courts ruled that a jury had to decide that question, unless the handbook contained a “clear and conspicuous” disclaimer stating that it was not a contract.  Since then, most Maryland employers have wisely introduced disclaimer language to avoid litigation seeking damages because something in the More

Maryland Wiretapping Law vs. Workers’ Rights Under the NLRA

With the omnipresent smartphone making its way into the workplace, employers have tried to address some of the concerns that come along with such devices. Secretly recording the conversations of others with a cell phone can be very easy given today’s discrete technology. Predictably, many employers would (and do) take issue with such activity.  Moreover, More

Employee Benefit Plans and the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program

The Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (“VFCP”), sponsored by the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the Department of Labor, provides relief from civil liability and an exemption from excise taxes under the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”). VFCP is designed to encourage self-correction of certain violations and fiduciary breaches of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of More

Robert L. Ferguson, Jr. and Ann D. Ware Win Another Coverage Case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

  Robert L. Ferguson, Jr. and Ann D. Ware won another appeal argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  This is their second successful 4th Circuit appeal in the span of a few months.  In this most recent matter, Mr. Ferguson argued that a Crew Provision in a marine insurance More

Must a Public University Provide Closed Captioning for Hearing-Impaired Spectators Attending Live Athletic Events?

Dr. Joseph Innes, Daniel Rinas, and Sean Markel (“Plaintiffs”) filed a lawsuit against the University of Maryland claiming that the university does not provide an equal opportunity to enjoy, benefit from, or participate in watching athletic events equivalent to that of individuals without hearing disabilities. The Plaintiffs, all of whom have a hearing disability, contend More

Employee Courtesy and Other Workplace Conduct Standards: Why The NLRB Says They May Violate Federal Law

Most employers think (incorrectly) that they can decide what conduct will be deemed appropriate in their workplace.  What they don’t appreciate is that the federal government is looking over their shoulder and, increasingly, ruling that many common sense standards for workplace behavior violate federal law. Take this quick quiz. Is it permissible to prohibit an More

Anti-Retaliation Protections Under the Affordable Care Act

Employers are typically familiar with prohibitions against retaliating against their employees for engaging in protected activity under a statute.  Employers, however, may be unaware of additional anti-retaliation provisions that have been established under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). One of the lesser known provisions of the ACA is its amendment to the Fair Labor Standards More

Can Employers Become Contractually Bound to the FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects employees who work for employers that have more than 50 employees within seventy-five miles of the employee’s worksite.  However, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has suggested that employers, even if not specifically covered by the FMLA, may bind themselves to the More

OFCCP Adopts Final Rules Expanding Veteran Hiring Requirements for Federal Contractors

The past few years have seen a flurry of regulatory activity by the Department of Justice’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).  A previous post discussed the newly-revised rules concerning disability hiring requirements for federal contractors.  Another important development has been the adoption of new rules imposing requirements for the hiring of veterans, now More

OFCCP Adopts Final Rules Expanding Disability Hiring Requirements

Over the past several years, the Department of Justice’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has undertaken several revisions to its regulations governing equal employment opportunity.  One of the more important revisions amended Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 60-741: Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Obligations of Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Regarding More