February HR Tip

VOLUME 7 | FEBRUARY 2018

  

 The Need to Go Above and Beyond the ADA in Maryland: Disabled Applicants/Employees Need Individualized Assessments

By: Adam E. Konstas, Esquire

In light of developments in Maryland employment discrimination law, employers are strongly encouraged to re-examine their reasonable accommodation policies and procedures. When confronted with a reasonable accommodation request, employers should be mindful that Maryland’s Fair Employment Practices Act (“FEPA”) imposes some important obligations on employers beyond those required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

  1. Under the ADA and FEPA employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities unless doing so would cause an undue hardship to the employer.
  2. Under FEPA it is an unlawful employment practice to “[f]ail to make an individualized assessment of a qualified individual’s ability to perform the essential functions of a job, unless the qualification standard, employment test, or other selection criteria under which the individual was disqualified meet the requirements of a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business or program.” COMAR 14.03.02.04(B)(3) (emphasis added).
  3. In conducting the “individualized assessment” an employer should not only consider the essential functions of the job the employee previously held but should consider the essential functions of other positions for potential reassignment.
  4. Employers are considered to be in a far better position than the employee to determine whether another position exists that the employee with a disability could perform. Simply referring an employee to the employer’s job posting website is often not enough, and a formal application by the employee is generally not necessary.
 

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PK Law’s Human Resources’ Tips (HR Tips) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations.

January HR Tip

VOLUME 7 | JANUARY 2018

  

 Maryland Sick Leave Act Will Be Law in Maryland in 30 Days

Contact information@pklaw.com for information on our flat rate reviews of existing paid leave policies or development of a new policy.

On January 12, 2018, the Maryland Senate voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of the General Assembly’s paid leave bill from last year’s legislative session. As such, the paid leave bill (formally known as the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act) will be become law in Maryland in 30 days.

 
The law requires employers with over 14 employees to provide paid sick and safe leave.  
 
In order to get ready for implementation of this legislation employers should act immediately to avoid costly compliance issues.
 
  1. Employers should compare their existing paid leave policies, if any, to the requirements of the Act. The general requirements of the Act may be found HERE.
  2. Employers should ensure their time keeping systems have the capability of tracking the accrual of paid leave.
  3. Employers should ensure that existing leave policies allow for the use of paid leave in all the situations contemplated by the Act.
  4. Employers who do not currently have an existing paid leave policy should develop one by the implementation deadline. 
 

Read Full Article on Paid Sick Leave Legislation

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PK Law’s Human Resources’ Tips (HR Tips) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations.

December HR Tip

VOLUME 6 | DECEMBER 2017

 Paid Sick Leave Legislation Appears Inevitable for Maryland Businesses
 
Last legislative session the Maryland General Assembly passed the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (HB1/SB230) (“the Act”), which required employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick and safe leave. Although Governor Hogan later vetoed the Act, the Act had passed with enough votes to override the Governor’s veto, leading many to speculate that the legislature would override the Governor’s veto at the beginning of the new legislative session in January 2018. But the Act passed the Senate with exactly the number of votes needed for an override, meaning that a defection of even one senator could result in the inability to override the Governor’s veto.  
 
In recent days, at least one Democratic delegate who originally voted for the Act has publicly expressed concerns about the Act’s impact on small businesses. Although this delegate’s potential defection would not affect the ability of both the Senate and the House of Delegates to override the veto, the delegate’s break from party ranks has caused speculation as to whether the political will to override the veto is eroding. To further complicate things, Governor Hogan recently issued an emergency compromise bill which will be filed on the first day of the upcoming legislative session. 
 
Since legislation of some sort is likely to become law, employers should be preparing now.
 

Read Full Article on Paid Sick Leave Legislation

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PK Law’s Human Resources’ Tips (HR Tips) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations.

November HR Tip

VOLUME 5 | NOVEMBER 2017

 Staying Dry During the Flood of Sexual Harassment Claims – Steps Your Company Can Take to Create a Non-Discriminatory Work Environment

By: Adam E. Konstas, Esquire

Since news broke of the allegations of sexual harassment against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, the dam has breached, and the news has been flooded with reports of sexual harassment allegations against other high profile media figures, journalists, and executives. Sifting through each troubling new development, one cannot help but notice the sheer volume of reports and the many years over which the alleged abuse took place. As we await what seems to be the inevitable – news of yet another claim of sexual harassment against a high profile figure, employers should take this moment to review their own policies and practices for handling claims of sexual harassment to ensure that their company does not get swept up in the deluge.

When you put the latest newsbreak down, here are some important steps to take:

  1. Review company policies and procedures
  2. Conduct routine training
  3. Set the tone for a positive workplace culture

Read Full Article On Workplace Sexual Harassment

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PK Law’s Human Resources’ Tips (HR Tips) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations.

October HR Tip

VOLUME 4 | OCTOBER 2017
 Obama’s Proposed Overtime Rule is Overruled

In 2016, the Department of Labor issued a new overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new rule was scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016; however, prior to the new rule taking effect a federal court in Texas issued a nationwide temporary injunction. On August 31, 2017, that federal court followed up its injunction with a ruling invalidating the new overtime rule permanently. What if any action the Department of Labor will take in light of this ruling is unclear.
In light of the uncertainty regarding potential changes to the federal overtime rules, employers should do the following:

  1. Remain vigilant in applying the current rules to determine whether an employee may be classified as overtime exempt.
  2. Bear in mind that regardless of whether an employee meets the salary threshold of $455/ week they must also satisfy the duties test for overtime exemption.
  3. Engage an employment attorney to conduct an objective audit of the overtime classification of their workforce to ensure compliance and avoid costly investigations and enforcement actions.

Read Full Article On Obama’s Proposed Overtime Rule is Overruled

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PK Law’s Human Resources’ Tips (HR Tips) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations.