Conn Maciel Carey LLP Elevates Megan Shaked to Partner

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC), a boutique law firm with national practices in labor and employment, workplace safety (OSHA and MSHA), and litigation, is pleased to announce that Megan Shaked has been elevated to Partner.

Ms. Shaked, a seasoned employment litigator and Cal/OSHA practitioner based in San Francisco, CA, represents employers on a wide range of employment matters, including Cal/OSHA investigations and appeals of Cal/OSHA citations, claims of discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, and whistleblower actions.  She also conducts workplace harassment prevention training, and counsels employers on workplace safety compliance, the development of employee handbooks, hiring and termination decisions, leaves of absence and accommodations, and wage and hour compliance.

Ms. Shaked was an integral part of the expansion of CMC’s California Practice when she joined the firm back in 2018.  And now she is a key player in the next big expansion of the firm’s California Practice. Continue reading

The Story That Just Won’t End: Employment Arbitration Agreements

Last year, the United States Supreme Court in Viking River decided, in part, that where a valid arbitration agreement existed, individual PAGA claims could be compelled to arbitration and the remaining representative PAGA claims could be dismissed for lack of standing. For the full background on Viking River, our blog article on that decision can be found here.

At the time, we predicted that this would not be the last we heard about PAGA standing because the U.S. Supreme Court left open the possibility that it misunderstood PAGA and that the California courts would have the last word on the subject. Now the California Supreme Court has weighed in on the scope of PAGA standing.

Last week, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc. The Court, disagreeing with Viking River, found that PAGA plaintiffs retain standing to pursue representative claims on behalf of aggrieved employees in court, even when their individual claims have been compelled to arbitration. As the final arbiter of what PAGA requires, the California Supreme Court made it clear that PAGA standing “is not affected by enforcement of an agreement to adjudicate a plaintiff’s individual claim in another forum. Arbitrating a PAGA plaintiff’s individual claim does not nullify the fact of the violation or extinguish the plaintiff’s status as an aggrieved employee.”

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How Employers Can Prepare for the Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act

By Mark Ishu

On January 1, 2024, the Paid Leave for Workers Act (“Act”) will require Illinois employers to provide their employees with up to 40 hours of paid leave within a 12-month period, to be used for any reason.   Illinois is among only two other states and the first in the Midwest to require employers to pay mandatory time off to their employees.  Under existing law, Illinois employers are not required to provide their employees with any paid leave. Illinois employers need to review their own leave policies to ensure they are in compliance with the Act.         

Who is covered by the Act? Continue reading

The State of the Law Regarding Marijuana and Drug Testing [Webinar Recording]

On Tuesday, July 18th, Dan Deacon and Ashley Mitchell presented a webinar covering The State of the Law Regarding Marijuana and Drug Testing.

Recreational and medicinal marijuana are here to stay. Each year, it seems that several new jurisdictions legalize marijuana use in some form and momentum continues to build for change on the federal level. As such, it appears to be only a matter of time before marijuana is legalized throughout the entire country. However, with these changes comes the potential for more employees to be under the influence of both legal and illegal drugs at the workplace. So, what can employers do to maintain a safe workplace? What restrictions are there for testing employees for drug use? Can employers really impose a drug-free workplace policy considering these seemingly pro-marijuana laws?

This webinar explored the changing legal landscape concerning marijuana, analyze potential issues related to zero-tolerance policies and review tips for developing effective drug testing policies that will comply with fair employment laws as well as OSHA regulations.

Participants in this webinar learned: Continue reading

Mid-Year Employment Updates in DC, Maryland, and Virginia

We are mid-way through 2023, and there have been several changes to the employment laws in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia that employers need to take note of.  All of these laws, which were passed in 2022 or the more recent 2023 legislative sessions, went into effect on July 1, 2023, including amendments to minimum wage laws, leave laws, marijuana laws, and laws related to nondisclosure, confidentiality, and non-disparagement agreements.  Below is an overview of some of the key changes that employers need to carefully analyze to ensure existing employment policies and practices are up to date.

District of Columbia

Minimum Wage Hike. Beginning on July 1, 2023, DC minimum wage increased from $16.50 per hour to $17 per hour.  Tipped workers will see their base wage increase from $6 per hour to $8 per hour, and if their tips don’t bring their total hourly earnings up to $17 per hour overall, their employer needs to make up the difference.

Recreational Cannabis Use Protection in Effect.  Under the DC Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022, which went into effect on July 1, 2023, employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee because of the employee’s recreational cannabis use, participation in D.C. or another state’s medical cannabis program, or failure to pass an employer-required or requested cannabis drug test.  In simple terms, employers are prohibited from terminating, suspending, demoting, refusing to hire, failing to promote, or otherwise penalizing an employee for cannabis use, but there are two notable exceptions: Continue reading

Preeminent Cal/OSHA Attorney, Rachel Conn, Joins Conn Maciel Carey LLP as Chair of the Firm’s California Practice

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC), a boutique law firm with national practices in Workplace Safety – OSHA/MSHA, labor and employment, and litigation, is delighted to announce that attorney Rachel L. Conn has joined the firm’s San Francisco, CA office as Chair of the California Practice.

Ms. Conn comes to CMC from Nixon Peabody, where she was the Head of the OSHA Practice. At CMC, Ms. Conn will lead the team representing California and national employers in inspections, investigations and enforcement actions involving Cal/OSHA, Federal OSHA, and other State OSH Plans, especially the West Coast DOSH states. With strong experience in labor and employment law, she will also help lead the California labor and employment defense practice. Continue reading

The Supreme Court Just Changed the Undue Hardship Religious Accommodation Test

The Title VII prohibitions on employment discrimination extend to employers who refuse to accommodate employees with sincerely held religious beliefs or practices.  Previously, employers could only deny religious accommodations if the accommodation would impose an undue hardship or more than a minimal burden on the operation of the business. The undue hardship standard was initially developed in a 1977 case called Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison (1977). In that case, the Court held that an employer must allow religious accommodation unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. Notably, the Court defined an undue hardship as any accommodation that would cause more than a de minimis cost for the employer. Examples of instances that were more than de minimis or would qualify as undue hardships included: violating a seniority system; causing a lack of necessary staffing; jeopardizing security or health; or costing the employer more than a minimal amount. Continue reading

The Minimum Hourly Wage in Washington, D.C. is Increasing Again: What You Need to Know

By Kimberly Richardson

Beginning July 1, 2023, the minimum hourly wage for employees in the District of Columbia will increase from $16.00 per hour to $17.00 per hour, and the minimum hourly cash wage for tipped employees will increase from $6.00 per hour to $8.00 per hour. The District’s minimum wage for workers is now among the highest in the nation.

Each year, on July 1, the D.C. minimum wage increases based on the Consumer Price Index. This year is unique in that the minimum hourly cash wage for tipped employees will increase twice.

Increasing Minimum Cash Wages for Tipped Employees

Under the federal law and the laws of many states, an employer is allowed to count an employee’s tips toward the employer’s standard minimum wage obligation. This is called a tip credit.  Employers may pay employees a subminimum wage – the minimum cash wage for tipped employees – as long as the employee’s tip earnings added to the subminimum wage equal the standard minimum wage.  If not, the employer must pay the difference to ensure the tipped employee earns at least the standard minimum wage. Continue reading

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Launches Michigan Office With the Addition of Acclaimed OSHA Defense Attorney Valerie Butera

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC), a Washington, D.C.-based boutique law firm with national practices in workplace safety (OSHA and MSHA), labor and employment, and litigation, is pleased to announce the opening of a Detroit Metro Area, Michigan office and the addition of Senior Counsel, Valerie Butera.

Ms. Butera is among a group of only twenty-five Occupational Safety and Health Law defense attorneys rated by Chambers USA, and the only Michigan-based OSHA attorney rated by Chambers.  She has extensive experience representing employers and trade associations in the full range of workplace safety and health law regulatory and enforcement matters across a wide range of industries, from chemical and petrochemical manufacturing, to petroleum refining, and automotive, electric utility, manufacturing, construction, railway, grain, retail, hospitality, healthcare, and food services. Continue reading

Hot Topics in Wage and Hour Law [Webinar Recording]

On Tuesday, June 20, 2023, Mark Ishu and Megan Shaked presented a webinar regarding Hot Topics in Wage and Hour Law.

Wage and hour issues continue to be hotly litigated under the numerous federal and state laws governing employee wages, hours worked, meal and rest breaks and more. The availability of class actions and representative actions raise the stakes even higher for employers.

Participants in this webinar learned: Continue reading