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As employment law constantly changes, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman stay up to date on the law as it develops. Our blog topics focus on those changes and what you need to know about them, ranging from severance agreements and the FLSA to social media in the workplace and recent court decisions. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts from March 2013.

Lab Results

Does your wellness program ask employees to take a health risk assessment? Do your employees undergo a fitness for duty examination? Or do you have employees who have requested to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

If so and you have 15 or more employees, you need to ensure that you are in compliance with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

GINA prohibits employers and other covered entities, such as health insurance companies, from requesting or requiring genetic information with respect to an employee or family member of the employee. It also prohibits employers from discriminating, harassing or retaliating against employees or job applicants on the basis of genetic information.

Background Check Photo (00297714).jpg

On January 29, the Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) issued Directive 306, which encourages federal contractors and subcontractors not to ask about criminal convictions on job applications. According to OFCCP, such questions can result in individuals being treated differently because of their race, national origin, sex, or other protected characteristics.

OFCCP issued the directive to address its concern that hiring policies and practices that exclude employees and potential employees with criminal records violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). In support of its statement, OFCCP cites a study which found that one in three adults has a criminal history record. Of those adults, a high percentage were Hispanic and African-American. Based on the study, OFCCP reasons that employers who have a blanket policy of not hiring individuals with criminal convictions will exclude a greater number of Hispanic and African-American individuals resulting in “disparate impact” on these individuals, which would likely be in violation of Title VII. Thus, because of the impact, OFCCP recommends that employers “refrain from asking about convictions on job applications."

socialmedia.jpgSeveral of my prior posts have discussed revising a company’s social media policy to create limits as to what employees may post online about the company and/or other employees.  In this newly emerging area of law, early cases supported employer policies that prevented employees from posting derogatory or defamatory statements about an employer on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and personal blogs.

As more cases are heard on the issue of what protections are afforded to social media speech, there appears to be a shift in rulings on cases involving companies’ social media policies.

Washington DCFor employers located in the greater Washington, DC metro area, keeping up with multiple states’ employment law requirements can be challenging. Virginia and Maryland closely track the federal laws that govern employers on issues such as the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, with only some minor variations.

However, the District of Columbia has implemented more stringent requirements for employers to comply with under several employment laws. In this month’s article, I will focus specifically on one law the District of Columbia has passed that Virginia and Maryland do not have and how employers can comply with it.