July 06, 2023

Labor and Employment Newsletter

3 min

We Want to Hear from You

What legal issues are keeping you up at night?

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.


The California Supreme Court Clarifies Employee Whistleblower Protections

Can an employee still be protected as a whistleblower under California law if they are not the first to blow the same whistle? Per the California Supreme Court, the answer is yes: “[A] protected disclosure under [Labor Code] section 1102.5(b) encompasses reports or complaints of a violation made to an employer or agency even if the recipient already knows of the violation.”

Responding to Mental Health Accommodation Requests

Many employers have experienced an increase in employee requests for accommodations in the past few years. A federal jury’s recent award in Lisa Menninger v. PPD Development L.P. reminds employers that accommodation requests, particularly those requested for mental health issues, should be handled carefully, or employers could risk paying millions for failing to accommodate such requests.

Supreme Court Redefines Burden on Employers Facing Religious Accommodation Requests

On Thursday, June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Groff v. DeJoy, unanimously decided to clarify the standard under which employers must evaluate religious accommodation requests. In doing so, the Court made it significantly more difficult for employers to reject such requests.

Education Roundup: Union Activity on Campus: How Institutions of Higher Education Can Prepare for Unionization Efforts by Student Workers

Union organization campaigns are on the rise again, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). Institutions of Higher Education (“IHEs”) are wise to take notice. This past year, resident advisors and other student workers at IHEs across the United States, including Boston University and Columbia University, announced plans to unionize and filed NLRB petitions for union organization. IHEs interested in avoiding union activity should prepare now, before a union shows up on campus. Below are some practical tips for IHEs to address union organization issues.

Tip of the Month

Robin BurroughsRobin Burroughs: In many jurisdictions, July 1 is when new laws (including new employment laws) will take effect. District of Columbia employers should take note that as of July 1, 2023, the minimum wage for most employees is increasing to $17.00 an hour. On the same day, the base minimum wage for tipped employees in DC is increasing to $8.00 an hour. Employers should take care to meet these minimum wages, and should consider whether any other employee wages need to be adjusted in line with the higher minimum wage.

About the Labor and Employment Group

The national, 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.