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We are continuing to monitor key trends and significant updates that affect employers across a wide variety of industries. We want to make sure we touch upon issues that are of concern to you. We invite you to take a moment and let us know what you would like to hear more about in this newsletter. Click below to email our team of attorneys.
Marijuana Users Scoring New Employment Protections
A little more than a decade ago, marijuana use was illegal in every state. Marijuana use is now fully legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia, and an additional 18 states allow use for medical reasons. Going along with this rapid trend toward legalization, states have enacted various workplace protections for marijuana users, including prohibitions on adverse employment actions for off-duty marijuana use. Taken together, these changes in state law create potential difficulties for employers over enforcement of workplace drug policies—particularly when those policies are required by federal law. At the federal level, marijuana remains illegal, is still covered by the Drug-Free Workplace Act, and is still prohibited under Department of Transportation testing requirements.
Internship Laws In Review: Ensuring Your Next Internship Program Does Not Run Afoul of State and Federal Labor Laws
Internships are generally intended to be educational opportunities for students or recent graduates to learn invaluable on-the-job skills, how to effectively work in a specific environment and perhaps earn academic credit or supplement their education post-graduation. Depending on the purpose of the program and a variety of other factors, the internship may be paid or unpaid. In most cases, interns will be considered employees subject to minimum wage and overtime pay, as well as other "employment" obligations such as Workers Compensation, and Unemployment Insurance and federal and state tax withholding.
Education Roundup: Peacocks in Class? Not Quite. What IHEs Need to Know about Service and Emotional Support Animals
Fall has arrived and the academic year has kicked off for a majority of institutions of higher education (IHEs). In addition to the normal considerations for onboarding new students and faculty, IHEs will likely encounter individuals who wish to bring pets and other animals to campus with them as service animals, or the increasingly popular practice of having an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) to help combat the growing mental health concerns at IHEs. Most IHEs will have policies in place limiting the presence of animals on campus either in dormitories or on-campus facilities; however, many IHEs may find themselves confronted with these potentially legitimate requests.
The Risks of Noncompetition Agreements for Remote Employees
Given the prevalence of remote work arrangements over the past three years, most employers are familiar with many of the challenges raised by engaging remote employees. However, one often overlooked issue is whether noncompetition agreements vetted for in-state workers are enforceable against remote, out-of-state employees.
Christine Carey: I transitioned into practicing labor and employment law after assisting on a large, multi-plaintiff lawsuit that lasted many years, where we defended a local government against a variety of discrimination and retaliation claims. That lawsuit presented interesting issues daily, and I enjoyed the intellectual stimulation. It also allowed me to work with and get to know many of Venable's amazing employment lawyers in several different offices. At the conclusion of that case, when invited to work on more employment law matters, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this talented group and to be able to help employers address workplace issues quickly to prevent other such lawsuits.
About the Labor and Employment Group
The bicoastal, 40-person Labor and Employment team at Venable provides guidance and support across the full spectrum of workplace dynamics – helping employers control costs, avoid disputes, and defend themselves when litigation arises. As co-editors of this newsletter, Michael Volpe and Doreen Martin invite you to share the content with your colleagues and reach out with any questions.