Delaware News & Analysis

  • Title VII bars LGBTQ bias, Supreme Court finds

    The ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender identity, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an unexpected 6-3 decision on June 15, 2020.

  • 'Similarly situated' employees can collectively sue for unpaid wages

    The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay minimum wage as well as overtime to eligible employees who work in excess of 40 hours per week. Employees who are denied those rights can sue their employers for unpaid wages, not only on behalf of themselves but also on behalf of other "similarly situated" employees. This is called a collective action.

  • Deceased employee's family sues former employer in PA's first COVID-19 death case

    The world's largest beef processing company is facing Pennsylvania's first wrongful death and survival action for the coronavirus-related fatality of an employee who worked in a 1,400-worker plant in Souderton. The case, recently filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, alleges unsafe conditions—such as working in tight quarters without proper personal protective equipment (PPE)—resulted in the employee contracting COVID-19. The complaint argues his death from the virus was both "predictable and preventable" but the company opted to "ignore worker safety" and carry on business as usual. The case is a warning to employers about the importance of heeding federal agency guidelines and recommendations for safely operating during the pandemic. It's particularly noteworthy as more employees are permitted to return to work even while the virus continues to claim additional lives each day.

  • Virginia set to begin series of minimum wage hikes

    As we predicted in the January issue of Mid-Atlantic Employment Law Letter, the Virginia General Assembly has increased the state's minimum wage for the first time in 10 years and established a mechanism to raise it again in the coming years. Minimum wage workers in Virginia will now see a substantial raise next year and in the years that follow—potentially more than doubling to $15 an hour by 2026. (This is an update to an article originally posted in May 2020.)

  • Takes two to tango: Employees must participate in the interactive process

    On March 31, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania employers) affirmed the district court's dismissal of discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims filed by an ex-accountant of a local board of health. The employee filed claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as a common law claim for wrongful termination, but the appeals court found no discrimination or retaliation occurred and the wrongful termination claim was based on the same facts as the discrimination and retaliation claims.

  • The Old Dominion adopts restrictions on noncompetes

    Virginia has always allowed you to impose reasonable restrictions on your employees' ability to compete after the termination of the employment relationship. While this right was not unfettered, you could take steps to protect your business by preventing a former employee from taking customers or clients with them upon their departure. Such agreements were permitted so long as the restrictions were for a reasonable time and scope. But all of that is about to change for certain of your employees!

  • New Jersey eases up on employers, modifies looming changes to state's WARN Act

    In response to employers' growing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy recently signed legislation (S2353, or the "April 14th Amendment") making two significant changes to the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (S3160, or NJ WARN), which he had signed on January 21, 2020. Initially scheduled to take effect July 19, 2020, NJ WARN required employers to provide longer notice periods and mandatory severance pay in connection with a large layoff or facility closure.

  • Virginia allows almost limitless damages for discriminatory discharge

    In previous issues of Mid-Atlantic Employment Law Letter, we've highlighted the Virginia Legislature's historic expansion of worker protections during the 2020 legislative session. Most notably, the legislature passed the Virginia Values Act, which is effective July 1 and expands the scope of the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA). Previously, the VHRA prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, and disability. The Values Act adds sexual orientation/gender identity to the list of protected categories and expands the existing prohibition on race discrimination to encompass protections for hair texture and styles.

  • Back to business, New Jersey: Essential FAQs for return-to-work planning

    Now is the time for employers to formulate action plans for returning employees to the workplace. We have developed the following FAQs to guide the development of your return-to-work plan.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    HR pros respond to crisis by linking laid-off workers with employers. As unemployment soared past record highs during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some HR professionals and their organizations launched efforts to bring together companies laying off or furloughing employees with companies in urgent need of workers. People + Work Connect was designed by chief HR officers from Accenture, Lincoln Financial Group, ServiceNow, and Verizon, according to an announcement from Accenture. The People + Work platform is designed to enable companies to share the experience and skills of their laid-off or furloughed workers with other companies on the platform that are seeking workers. Censia also announced its ReadyToHire initiative, which allows companies to add their displaced employees to a specialized website to help them find jobs with organizations that are hiring. In addition to allowing employers to put people on the ReadyToHire list, individuals can add their own names. The company's AI technology matches workers to open positions suitable for their skills. Both initiatives are free to use.