BLOG: Use It Or Lose It – U.S. Supreme Court Holds Employers Who Wait Too Long to Raise EEOC Claim Objection to Title VII Discrimination Lawsuit May Forfeit Objection

Recently, in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, the U.S. Supreme Court was faced with a jurisdictional question: If a plaintiff fails to exhaust her remedies by first filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) claim, is she jurisdictionally barred from suing her employer for discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”)? In typical lawyerly fashion, the Supreme Court drew a distinction between “mandatory” and “jurisdictional” and answered with an “it depends.”  This blog addresses the . . . Read More

BLOG: Halting Employee’s Right to Report Cybersecurity Noncompliance Can Land Government Contractors in Hot Water

Last week signaled a potential rude awakening for government contractors subject to cybersecurity requirements. A California U.S. district court ruled that allegations against Aerojet Rocketdyne could progress following a former employee’s complaint that the company terminated his employment after he disclosed cybersecurity failures to the company’s board of directors and refused to sign documents indicating that the company was compliant. Among the employee’s chief allegations is a charge that the company violated the False Claims Act by falsely representing its . . . Read More

EEOC Announces New EEO-1 Pay Data Reporting Deadline

September 30, 2019, marks the newly announced deadline for employers who submit annual EEO-1 reports to report employee 2018 pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC revealed the new deadline in a federal court submission last week. The judge in the case will still need to approve of the EEOC’s plan before it becomes the official cutoff date. Employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees (and a contract or . . . Read More

Misclassifying Employees Can Have Major Consequences

Today’s economy is saturated with new ways to earn money without being subject to a set schedule or traditional employer demands. With so many individuals working part-time jobs with more autonomy than ever, companies are struggling to determine whether to classify those workers as independent contractors or employees. The distinction between those two categories is extremely important and can affect all aspects of your business, including benefits, overtime pay, and workers’ compensation. While determining employee classification is a fact-intensive process, . . . Read More

Buyer Beware: Outsourcing Labor Puts You at Risk of Prevailing Wage Violations

Recently, a Department of Labor (DOL) investigation found that four federal contractors were responsible for paying 53 current and former employees a total of $255,474 for violating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA). DOL determined the contractors failed to pay the correct prevailing wages and fringe benefits. In this case, the prime contractor subcontracted with a temporary staffing company that failed to pay cleaning service crews in accordance with DBRA requirements. The temporary employees were misclassified and not paid the . . . Read More

Is Cyber Insurance Worthless in the Age of Quasi-State-Sponsored Hacking?

I’m sure everyone has heard it before: commentators, pundits, and even members of the 809 Panel have stated that “we are at war!” Most of these claims revolve less around ground combat or air battles than the fact that more countries are investing in and deploying cyber assets to destroy not just the defense networks of other countries, but their economic systems as well. Thus, it stands to reason that some of the cyber threats seen in the wild are . . . Read More

In the Weeds: Testing Federal Contractor Employees for Marijuana Use

Consider the following scenario: Janie is employed as a help desk clerk to perform work on a federal government contract and is a model employee. She has a perfect attendance record, performs her job responsibilities with enthusiasm, and is always a team player. Pursuant to company policy, one day Janie is subjected to a random drug test. The results show she tested positive for THC, consistent with the use of marijuana. What options does her employer have? As a government . . . Read More

Key Considerations for Government Contractors Facing a Government Shutdown

A government shutdown is looming once again. Congress has already passed five of the twelve FY 2019 funding bills, which fund 70% of the government through September 2019, through two vehicles.  H.R. 6157  includes funding for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and related agencies.  H.R. 5895  provides funding for the Departments of Energy, the Interior (Bureau of Reclamation only), Veterans Affairs, and related and independent agencies, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers civil works projects, and the . . . Read More

Title VII’s Protections Don’t Extend That Far—4th Circuit Says Review and Copying of Confidential Files Not Protected Activity

Catherine Netter, a 19-year employee of the Guilford County, N.C., Sheriff’s Office, believed a disciplinary sanction she received in 2014, which impeded her ability to be promoted, was motivated by discrimination. Netter, who is African-American and Muslim, felt that other similarly situated officers who were neither African-American nor Muslim had not been disciplined in a similar manner, so she filed complaints with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC”) and the Guilford County Human Resources Department. So far, so good. But, . . . Read More

Recent Maryland Case Is a Reminder to Employers to Review the Language of Their Offer Letters, Employment Contracts, and Employee Manuals

The vast majority of states are at-will employment states, which means that an employer may terminate an employee for a good reason, a bad reason, or any reason at all, so long as the basis for termination does not violate a statute or public policy of the state. In Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and a number of other states, an employment relationship is strongly presumed to be at-will. Thus, even when the employee signed an employment contract, so . . . Read More