Maryland News & Analysis

  • Maryland casino wins again! No pay for dealer training school

    In our June 2016 issue, we reviewed a published decision by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Maryland employers) about wage claims filed by several individuals who attended a dealer training school (see "4th Circuit: Maryland casino may go broke on wage and hour gamble" on pg. 1 of that issue). The trial court dismissed the initial action, which alleged violations of federal and state employment laws. Upon review, however, the 4th Circuit reversed that decision, finding that the request to dismiss shouldn't have been granted and sending the case back for further consideration.

  • DOL loosens rules for association health plans

    Employers may soon have new options to obtain group health insurance through association health plans (AHPs) under new regulations recently issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). A brief primer on the mechanics of insurance may be helpful before we dive into the new rules and what they could mean for you.

  • County schoolteachers not protected under Maryland Whistleblower Protection Law

    In the first time it has ruled on the issue, the Maryland Court of Appeals determined that because a county board of education is not an entity of the state or a unit of the executive branch of state government under the Maryland Whistleblower Protection Law, its teachers aren't protected by the statute. Let's take a closer look at this interesting decision.

  • 'Fair-share' fee ruling brings new day for public employers, employees

    With proponents of a U.S. Supreme Court decision against the collection of "fair-share" fees claiming a victory for First Amendment rights and critics calling the ruling an example of the Court siding with billionaires against workers, employers are adjusting to a major change in the world of agency shops in the public sector.

  • UPS Ground Freight's policy of paying disabled drivers less violates the ADA

    On July 27, 2018, a federal judge in Kansas ruled that UPS Ground Freight violated federal law by having a policy, contained in its current union contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, of paying its disabled drivers only 90 percent of what nondisabled drivers earn when they temporarily move to nondriving jobs.

  • Governor signs law preserving the right to report sexual harassment

    As we reported in our April issue, House Bill (HB) 1596, captioned "Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018," was the sole employment law passed by the Maryland General Assembly this session (see "Annapolis roundup: Only 1 bill sent to governor this year" on pg. 1 of that newsletter). The legislation is designed to prevent employers from asking employees to waive their future right to report sexual harassment. It also requires employers with 50 or more employees to disclose how many settlements of sexual harassment allegations they have reached, how many times they have settled allegations of sexual harassment involving the same employee, and the number of settlements that included nondisclosure provisions.

  • 4th Circuit disconnects cable company's arbitration agreement

    As most Maryland employers know, before any employment disputes may be sent to arbitration, the parties must have a valid, enforceable arbitration agreement in place. If the agreement isn't mutual—i.e., if it doesn't require both parties to arbitrate any disputes—it may be unenforceable.

  • High court upholds arbitration agreements that bar class actions

    In recent years, one of the most highly disputed issues in employment law circles was whether an employer could require employees to waive their right to participate in a class action lawsuit and instead submit employment-related disputes to binding arbitration. Such a requirement has become a common condition of employment contracts, typically entered into at the beginning of an employment relationship, and/or as a condition of continuing employment.

  • Planning and education are key to successful HSA

    Over the past decade, the percentage of employers offering a health savings account (HSA) to their employees has grown dramatically. HSAs are a form of "consumer-driven health plan," a category of employee benefit that strives to place more responsibility on employees to be better consumers of health care. In short, employees pay 100 percent of the deductible under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). In return, they are given the opportunity to contribute to an HSA, which offers substantial tax benefits.

  • UD shells out $2.66 million to settle equal pay lawsuit

    On June 1, 2018, the University of Denver (UD) agreed to pay $2.66 million and furnish other relief to settle a pay discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a group of female law professors. The EEOC alleged that UD violated federal law by paying a class of female full professors at Sturm College of Law less than it pays their male counterparts who perform substantially equal work under similar working conditions.