July 2020 E-Update
Maryland Expands Face Coverings Requirement to Most Workplaces and Imposes Travel Restrictions
Maryland’s Governor issued an Order expanding the mandated use of face coverings to almost all private workplaces, effective 5:00 p.m. on July 31, 2020. In addition, new travel restrictions were also announced, including “strongly recommending” 14-days quarantine periods for certain travel. For more, click here.
NLRB Advice Memos Offer COVID-19 Guidance to Employers
The Office of General Counsel (OGC) of the National Labor Relations Board issued a slew of Advice Memoranda this month that offer some guidance to employers, both unionized and non-union. Advice Memoranda contain the recommendations of the OGC to the Board on specific issues. For more, click here.
U.S. Supreme Court Holds Employment Discrimination Claims of Religious School Teachers Are Barred by the First Amendment
On July 8, 2020, the United States Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision held that the “ministerial exemption” which prohibits courts from considering employment disputes of certain employees of religiously affiliated organizations, applied to two Catholic school lay teachers. Therefore, their claims of discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act were foreclosed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. For more, click here.
NLRB Provides Guidance on a Multitude of Workplace Rules
Generally applicable to all employers – union and non-union alike – the National Labor Relations Board issued several decisions this month that explored what it deemed to be permissible and impermissible workplace rules under the National Labor Relations Act. For more, click here.
DOL Revises Model FMLA Forms and Solicits Input for Possible Revisions to FMLA Regulations. This month, the U.S. Department of Labor released revised and “streamlined” optional forms that employers can use in administering leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. For more, click here.
“NLRB Proposes Rollback of Requirement to Provide Unions with Personal E-mail Addresses, Phone Numbers. On July 29, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board issued a proposed rule that would repeal the Obama-era mandate that employers provide unions and other parties with employees’ personal e-mail addresses and phone numbers, if available, prior to union elections. Additionally, the proposed rule would allow employees on military leave to vote by absentee ballot. For more, click here.
NLRB Weighs In On Arbitration Agreements. The National Labor Relations Board issued two decisions addressing the legality of arbitration agreements. The Board has previously held that arbitration agreements that explicitly prohibit the filing of charges with the Board, or with administrative agencies generally, violate the National Labor Relations Act. For more, click here.
Don’t Delay in Providing Reasonable Accommodations. A recent federal appellate case offers a lesson to employers regarding the need to handle reasonable accommodation requests from employees with disabilities with reasonable promptness and appropriate follow up. For more, click here.
Title VII Covers Intersectional “Sex-Plus-Age” Claims. For the first time, a federal appellate court has recognized that Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex-plus-age – in agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s previously-asserted prohibition on intersectional discrimination. For more, click here.
A Genetic Mutation May Constitute a Disability Under the ADA. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a genetic mutation could, in fact, qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act – the first time this issue was addressed at the federal appellate court level – although whether it did so in this case was sent back to the trial court for resolution. For more, click here.
Federal Appellate Courts Apply Different Analyses of “Transitory and Minor” Impairments Under the ADA. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that an employee’s impairment lasting less than six months was “transitory and minor,” and therefore she was not entitled to the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Fifth Circuit’s holding, however, is at odds with that of the Third Circuit, which we discussed in the June 2020 E-Update. For more, click here.
Employers May Make Hiring Decisions Based on Applicant Interviews. A federal appellate court reiterated the should-be-obvious points that employers may make hiring decisions based on how applicants perform in interviews and that an applicant’s assessment of their own qualifications is not determinative under federal antidiscrimination laws. For more, click here.
NLRB Provides Guidance on In-Person Election Protocols. The National Labor Relations Board’s Office of General Counsel released a memo, GC 20-10, that provides guidelines for conducting manual elections during the pandemic. For more, click here.