District of Columbia Displaced Workers Right to Reinstatement and Retention Act of 2020

Earlier this year, the D.C. Council amended its displaced workers law to include special provisions for those workers separated because of the COVID pandemic.

Beginning February 1, 2021, and as positions become available, employers NOT in the hospitality industry (bars, restaurants, clubs, nightclubs, hotels), “shall offer each eligible employee reinstatement to the employee’s previous position or to a position performing the same or substantially similar duties, and that requires essentially the same skills, as those performed by the eligible employee before the eligible employee ceased working for the contractor or at the covered establishment.”

The most important exception is that this law does NOT apply to employees classified as exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Workers who would otherwise have been terminated for cause are also not eligible.

The job offer must be in writing and delivered by mail to the last known address of the employee and remain open for at least 3 calendar days from the date of the offer.  If accepted, the employee has 7 days to return to work.

There is no requirement that all former employees are reinstated or that either compensation or available hours be the same for reinstated employees. If several employees are eligible for reinstatement, simultaneous offers may be made and available jobs offered on the basis of seniority.

If there is a change of control of the business, a new employer can impose a fixed, 90-day probationary period before deciding to retain an eligible employee.

Willful violators are subject to a make-whole remedy plus treble damages plus compensatory or punitive damages plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

EEO-1 Report Portal to Open on April 26

The EEOC announces EEO-1 Report portal to open on April 26th.  EEO-1 Report filers can get more information here.

OFCCP AAP Verification Coming Soon

The DC Insider-Employer Update Podcast is Now Live

The DC Insider – Employer Update™ brings you insights and expertise from Washington, DC attorneys at FortneyScott. Each episode provides key updates and analyses employers need to know to stay on top of developments affecting the workplace.

President Biden Signs Executive Order Guaranteeing Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

 

 

Jennifer Abruzzo Tapped to be General Counsel of the NLRB

President Joe Biden has nominated Jennifer Abruzzo, an attorney for the Communications Workers of America, to be general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, further cementing the Administration’s ties to the labor movement. A contentious nomination process is expected as a result of Biden’s terminating the sitting general counsel, Peter Robb.

COVID Relief Bill Extends, Ends Benefits

Although the focus of attention regarding the COVID Relief bill has been on the amount of one-time checks, other provisions of the new law may have long-term impact.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PAU), which provides unemployment assistance to independent contractors, gig workers, and self-employed, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC), which funds states to provide up to 13 weeks unemployment benefits to those who have already used all available state benefits, have been extended.

However, the paid sick and family leave benefits provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) have not been extended under the new bill. As of January 1, 2021, employers are not required to provide these supplemental benefits. However, the new act is designed to incentivize employers to use tax credits to underwrite a continuation of these or similar benefits.

Employers should quickly decide if and/or how they intend to utilize this opportunity and communicate it to employees, especially if an employer aims to end the special paid sick and family leave benefits.

Employers should be aware that among the goals of the Biden Administration is an extension of the FFCRA with all changes made retroactive to January 1, 2021.  If such a retroactive extension is enacted, employers who stopped offering FFCRA benefits may be faced with having to make back-pay or time-off awards.