December 2022 E-Update
New Federal Law Requires Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers: What Employers Need to Know
New Federal Workplace Protections for Nursing Mothers: What Employers Need to Know
In addition to the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act discussed elsewhere in this E-Update, the 2023 federal omnibus spending act also included the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP” Act). This new law expands the existing lactation accommodations for nursing mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For more, click here.
Employers, Don’t Forget About the Flu!
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers did not have flu-specific policies and procedures (healthcare employers being one significant exception). However, seasonal flu can be a serious and dangerous illness, and employers should not treat it lightly. For more, click here.
Employers May Need to Bargain Over Their Compliance with the Law. Although unionized employers have no choice but to comply with the law, they may have choices about how to accomplish that – and may be required to bargain with the union over those decisions, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently reiterated. For more, click here.
An Employee “on Thin Ice” Cannot Insulate Herself with the FMLA. The Family and Medical Leave Act protects the use of qualifying leave for an employee’s (or their family member’s) serious health condition – but does not insulate the employee from all attendance and performance issues, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently reminded employers. For more, click here.
NIOSH Offers Best Practices for Protecting Temporary Workers. In a recent blog post, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health noted that temporary workers provided to a host employer by staffing companies experience higher injury rates than regular employees. For more, click here.
Fourth Circuit Sets Forth Standard for Retaliatory Hostile Work Environment Claims. Title VII prohibits discrimination based on the creation of a hostile work environment – meaning that working conditions are so “permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult” that they “alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.” For more, click here.
US DOL Provides New Resources for Workers Impacted by Cancer. In a December 8, 2022 blog post, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has created new resources to help workers who have cancer or have family members with cancer. For more, click here.
D.C. Expands Employment Protections for Certain Groups and Lowers the Standard for Harassment. The District of Columbia City Council has passed bills that expand protections for several categories: domestic workers, interns, independent contractors and the homeless. It also enshrines into law a definition of harassment that will result in more employees bringing and winning harassment claims before D.C. agencies and courts. For more, click here.
Another Blow Against the Contractor COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate. As federal contractors may recall, President Biden issued an Executive Order that required their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in accordance with guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. For more, click here.
TOP TIP: New Minimum Wage Rates for 2023 in the Mid-Atlantic and for Federal Contractors/Subcontractors
The federal minimum wage remains $7.25, with a tipped wage rate of $2.13; however, most states in the mid-Atlantic region have implemented higher minimum wage rates. (The tipped wage rate for tipped employees, together with any tip credit, must meet the minimum wage. Employers are responsible for making up any shortfall.) For more, click here.