As a part of the ongoing efforts to fully implement the recent Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Labor Department has recently announced updates to their policies. Among these updates includes a change in the way that the Family Medical Leave Act is administered.
Many residents of Maryland understand that employment discrimination is illegal in almost every form. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of race, nationality, gender, age, and disability among other things. One of the lesser understood types of workplace discrimination is that which affects victims of domestic violence.
Anyone who has been pregnant knows that pregnancy can be debilitating at times. Even in the healthiest and least complicated of pregnancies, women can be brought down by nausea and have to stop doing routine tasks at home and work due to doctors' orders to stop lifting. For many women, these are only minor inconveniences because they will pass and there are people to help out in the meantime. For other women, such side effects of pregnancy may lead to a job loss.
Some Maryland residents may know that our state's lawmakers have recently debated both whether the state's minimum wage should be raised and whether the state should require all employers to offer paid sick time off to all workers. While both bills are controversial, a new poll shows that the majority of Maryland voters do support the paid sick time initiative.
This week marked a very important milestone in federal employment law. Twenty years ago Tuesday the Family and Medical Leave Act became law. Many people in Maryland are most familiar with the FMLA as the law that grants working mothers maternity leave; however the FMLA actually affords various leave rights to workers.
Many companies hire out for independent contractors in order to supplement their workforce and assume that all legal obligations and benefits are dealt with through and by the staffing company which provides them. What they don't realize is that when it comes to certain benefits, the relational status between the staffing company, employer, and independent contractor can sometimes blur the lines that define who is on the hook and to what extent.
Under federal law, most workers have the right to take 12 weeks of job-protected leave for the birth or the adoption of a child, a medical issue, or to care for a sick child, spouse or parent, among a couple of additional situations. Often, employers do not realize the rights that employees have under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, and they sometimes wrongly deny this right.
Many Maryland workers whose parents are aging may be going through the unique transition of becoming their parents' caregivers. Caring for an older parent is becoming a new challenge for many Metro D.C. families as changing demographics mean more households have two people in the workforce and more Americans are reaching older ages.
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, new parents are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave following the birth of a child. However, companies with less than 50 employees are not required to offer maternity or paternity leave, and no companies are required to pay employees for these leaves of absence.
In Greenbelt and throughout the metro D.C. area, workplace discrimination is not the same issue that it once was--it exists, but it has evolved. Companies do not often publicly fire a worker because she is a woman or because he has a disability, as this type of blatant discrimination has become unpopular over time. But, discrimination still plays an unfortunate role in hiring and firing decisions as well as daily life in the workplace.