Richards Layton employment lawyers don’t just know employment law—we understand workplace relationships and develop a solid understanding of our clients’ employment issues and policies. Our customized solutions help ensure compliance with federal and state labor laws, minimize disputes with employees, and maximize strategic advantage if litigation is necessary. We combine responsiveness and skill for the creative planning and aggressive advocacy that meet the specific needs of each client.
Effective Federal and State Practice
Employers of all sizes and in many business sectors in both regional and national markets rely on Richards Layton for proactive employment law advice and defense in employment law disputes. We are experienced at keeping our clients in compliance with federal and state employment and labor law, and defending them in court when controversies arise under those laws.
We have the broad employment law knowledge to handle the wide variety of issues that arise in workplace relationships. That gives us the ability to act quickly and provide customized solutions. Our lawyers are available to employment law clients whenever and wherever necessary. The potential cost and distraction of employment problems like sexual harassment allegations or noncompete disputes demand immediate attention, and we provide it.
We keep issues of employment law compliance from becoming major concerns when assets, businesses or companies are bought or sold—particularly in transactions involving Delaware entities or those governed by Delaware law. Our lawyers can identify potential issues, then structure and document transactions in a way that protects clients while ensuring completion of the deal. We ask the right questions about compliance policies, compensation arrangements, employee benefits and employment contracts in order to eliminate problems and avoid risk from employment law violations or litigation after the deal closes.
Our lawyers are fully prepared to defend employers in claims made under federal and state employment statutes. We represent employer clients in complaint investigations and administrative proceedings by federal and state agencies, and have successfully litigated and resolved matters in federal district courts, bankruptcy court, and state courts involving allegations and claims of:
- All discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, harassment claims
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations, including pregnancy
- Wrongful and retaliatory discharge
- Family Medical & Leave Act (FMLA) violations
- Wage and hour violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) violations
Disputes over noncompete agreements are the kind of time-sensitive controversies at which we excel. We are very experienced in representing employers and individual employees, and are skilled at securing restraining orders and permanent injunctions or resisting invalid ones as needed to protect our clients, especially in cases governed by Delaware law or tried in the Delaware courts. The insights we gain in resolving noncompete and nondisclosure disputes enable our lawyers to draft effective restrictive covenants that, as needed, can help to prevent the disclosure of customer lists, trade secrets and other sensitive or proprietary information.
Contract Negotiation and Drafting
Our lawyers negotiate and draft employment contracts, effective severance agreements for use in the termination of employees, for obtaining valid releases of claims, ensuring that the employer’s rights to confidential or sensitive information are fully protected and that the employer meets all the procedural requirements of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. Draft policies and handbooks.
Problem Prevention and Compliance Training
Our lawyers help clients develop and implement a sound and consistent approach to effectively avoiding workplace controversies and resolving employee concerns without resorting to litigation.
Policies and Procedures
We draft workplace policies and procedures that can prevent potential problems and disputes with employees. Our compliance advice is founded on asking the right questions about current employment compliance policies in order to find areas that may be out of date or need improvement. The goal is to help eliminate problems and avoid risk, and the key to that is developing personnel policies tailored to the individual employer that meet all legal requirements and minimize the likelihood of employment-related claims and lawsuits.
Growing focus on conducting internal investigation of harassment, discrimination or retaliation claims at their early stages, to recommend the best litigation-avoidance approach as well as to help prevent future workplace issues. We also offer guidance on sensitive issues such as alcohol and drug testing and background checks in hiring. We have the experience to minimize workplace problems while respecting the employees’ privacy and avoiding employee claims of retaliation.
We help clients comply with the federal WARN Act requiring advance notice of covered plant closings and mass layoffs. Because such notices must be provided not just to employees and their representatives, but also to the appropriate units of state and local government, effective planning for WARN notification is a must. Richards Layton has advised on numerous notification and possible exemption issues.
May 18, 2022
On May 10, 2022, Governor John Carney signed the Healthy Delaware Families Act (“HDFA”), a state-run leave program that will provide paid family and medical leave to most employees in the private sector. Employees will be able to take advantage of the paid leave benefits beginning January 1, 2026. Generally, the HDFA will require Delaware employers…
December 3, 2021
On November 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a Final Rule that increases the minimum wage for employees who work on federal contracts to $15 per hour, implementing an executive order that President Biden executed on April 27, 2021. This rule will take effect on January 30, 2022. It applies in all 50 states,…
November 10, 2021
In an effort to boost lagging vaccination rates across the country and as part of its Pathway out of the Pandemic, the Biden Administration charged the Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to clarify and implement its recent COVID-19 mandates through rules for…
June 14, 2021
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued updated guidance regarding vaccines for all employers and new mandatory safety rules for health-care settings, respectively, related to workplace practices and COVID-19. EEOC Guidance: Workplace Practices Related to COVID-19 Vaccination On May 28, 2021, the EEOC…
Delaware Laws & Programs Affecting Business presents an introduction to Delaware and an overview of the laws and programs relating to doing business in the State. Our economy is diverse, and our legal framework is intentionally crafted to foster robust business activity. Our widely copied business laws lead the nation in clarity and predictability. Government…
December 23, 2020
On December 16, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued guidance for employers regarding COVID-19 vaccine policies and their interplay with various federal equal employment opportunity laws. According to the EEOC, under the Americans With Disabilities Act, employers with mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements cannot automatically exclude from the worksite an employee who refuses to…
September 1, 2020
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL) published new frequently asked questions for workers and employers about qualifying for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) with regard to the reopening of schools. This guidance explains paid leave eligibility under the various online and in-person formats and alternative…
July 27, 2020
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued an update to its Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 16-20 including a Q&A responding to questions submitted by states. The update provides additional guidance regarding Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act). The CARES Act expands weekly…
June 18, 2020
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance stating that employers cannot require employees to take COVID-19 antibody tests. According to the EEOC, an antibody test is a medical examination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and it “does not meet the ADA’s ‘job related and consistent with business necessity’ standard for…
June 16, 2020
Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an update to its COVID-19 technical assistance publication. The update provides new guidance on various topics, including initiating discussions with employees about accommodations and flexible work arrangements for returning back to work, age- and pregnancy-related discrimination, caregiver responsibilities, accommodating employees with high-risk family members, and safeguarding employees…
April 27, 2020
On April 23, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that employers will be allowed to test employees for COVID-19 before they enter a work site without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While the ADA requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity,” employers…
April 20, 2020
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a memo addressing OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements for employers regarding recording cases of COVID-19. Effective immediately, OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements mandate that COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers with more than 10 employees must record cases of COVID-19 if the case: Is confirmed as…
April 2, 2020
On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a temporary rule to promulgate temporary regulations for the implementation of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which took effect April 1. The rule provides…
March 31, 2020
As contemplated by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the United States Department of Labor continues to issue compliance assistance to employers and employees. The DOL, in its most recent updated guidance, adds more questions and answers to include topics such as the extent to which certain small businesses (less than 50 employees) can be…
March 26, 2020
As we reported on March 19, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was recently passed to provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to certain eligible workers for specified reasons related to COVID-19. (Our prior alert can be found here.) The FFCRA goes into effect April 1. This means that those…
March 25, 2020
To fight the spread of COVID-19, Delaware Governor John Carney, on Sunday, March 22, 2020, issued modifications to the State of Emergency declaration ordering Delaware residents to generally stay at home and closing all non-essential businesses in Delaware. The modifications provide requirements for employers operating an essential business regarding the care and screening of their employees.…
March 19, 2020
On March 18, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”), to provide eligible workers with guaranteed paid sick and family leave and additional resources. Employers will initially pay for the sick and family leave, but eligible employers will be reimbursed by the federal government through refundable tax credits…
January 7, 2020
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced a final rule that provides clarity to employers regarding the types of compensation that should be included to determine an employee’s “regular rate” of pay when calculating overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule marks the first significant update to the regulations governing regular…
Lex Mundi | December 10, 2019
Director Jennifer Jauffret is the author of the Delaware chapter of Lex Mundi’s newly published Global Employment Law Guide. This guide gives relevant and timely information on important employment laws in more than 50 jurisdictions and draws on the expertise of Lex Mundi’s member firms from around the world. …
September 26, 2019
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced a final rule that updates the earning thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. It also allows employers to count certain nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy a portion of the required salary…
May 3, 2019
Employers with at least 100 employees (and federal contractors with at least 50 employees and at least $50,000 in contracts with the federal government) must file an EEO-1 form with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Component 1 of the EEO-1 form requires listing the number of employees by job category, race, sex, and ethnicity. The…
March 11, 2019
On March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its highly anticipated proposal for a new overtime rule in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Overtime Update (NPRM). This proposal would raise the overtime salary threshold required to qualify for the Fair Labor Standard Act’s “white collar” exemption from $23,660 to $35,308 per year. The…
February 14, 2019
Last week a jury awarded a Delaware worker, Autumn Lampkins, $25,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages against her employer, a fast-food restaurant franchisee. The lawsuit, filed in Delaware District Court, claimed that Ms. Lampkins’ supervisors and co-workers made it difficult for her to pump breast milk during her shift. This ultimately led…
January 24, 2019
Recently, Delaware’s 150th General Assembly passed House Bill No. 1, amending Article I of the Delaware Constitution to provide equal rights on the basis of sex. This amendment provides that the Constitution shall state: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex.” The bill also contains a statement…
August 30, 2018
On August 29, Governor Carney signed a bill against sexual harassment, effective January 1, 2019, requiring Delaware employers to provide notice and mandatory training to their workers. Read more about this new law in our July 9 alert.…
July 20, 2018
Recently, Governor John Carney signed Senate Bill No. 170 and House Bill No. 483. SB 170, in conjunction with HB 483, requires Delaware employers to raise the minimum wage over the next two years from $8.25 an hour to $9.25 an hour with the following schedule: $8.75 an hour by January 1, 2019 $9.25 an hour…
July 9, 2018
Delaware’s General Assembly passed House Bill 360, which broadens protections for Delaware workers against sexual harassment. The bill is aimed at combatting sexual harassment in the workplace while ensuring the safety and dignity of all Delaware workers, including state employees, unpaid interns, applicants, joint employees, and apprentices. H.B. 360 applies to all Delaware employers with four…
July 3, 2018
The Delaware legislature recently passed the Delaware Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “Act”), which is the state’s version of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“federal WARN Act”). It awaits the Governor’s signature. The Act requires certain employers to provide 60 days’ advance written notice prior to an employment loss due to…
June 20, 2017
On June 14, 2017, Governor John Carney signed into law a bill (H.B. 1) that bars Delaware employers and their agents from asking applicants about their compensation history.
April 27, 2017
This week the Delaware House of Representatives introduced an amended bill that would bar employers from asking applicants about their previous compensation history. The goal of House Bill No. 1 (H.B. 1) is to address the wage gap between men and women in Delaware. If H.B.1 is enacted, the new law would prohibit employers and their…
March 8, 2017
The Delaware Department of Labor has recently updated the labor law poster that employers are required to display. The new poster reflects the recent law that protects employees from discrimination by employers with four or more employees on the basis of their family care responsibilities and reproductive health decisions
October 12, 2016
Delaware has passed new laws that impact employers and provide employees with additional protection from discrimination.
Delaware Banker | Summer 2016
Delaware’s 148th General Assembly recently enacted legislation that expands the landscape of protections afforded to employees and applicants for employment under Delaware law.
July 7, 2016
Delaware has recently passed several new laws that impact employers and provide employees with additional protection from discrimination.
June 7, 2016
Effective July 5, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will increase the maximum penalty for failing to post the required federal nondiscrimination notices from $210 to $525 for each posting violation. Employers covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act must…
May 18, 2016
On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its Final Rule raising the overtime salary threshold required to qualify for the Fair Labor Standard Act’s “white collar” exemption to $47,476 per year, more than double the current threshold of $23,660.
May 17, 2016
The Defendant Trade Secrets Act of 2016 was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 and allows companies for the first time to directly file a federal civil lawsuit in federal court for the theft of trade secrets.
February 23, 2016
In consideration of the increasingly diverse business models in today’s workforce, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently issued guidance on identifying those scenarios in which two or more employers jointly employ an employee and are therefore jointly liable for compliance under the FLSA.
September 15, 2015
Beginning on December 30, 2015, Delaware employers with four or more employees will be prohibited from discriminating against an employee or an applicant for employment because he or she has been the victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking.
June 3, 2015
On May 27, 2015, the Department of Labor published new Family Medical Leave Act notices and medical certification forms.
September 19, 2014
Delaware Passes Legislation Protecting Pregnant Workers from Discrimination and Retaliation and Requiring Accommodations On September 9, 2014, Governor Markell signed into law Senate Bill No. 212, as amended, which enacts new provisions to the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act. These amendments clarify that it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire, to discharge, or…
April 3, 2014
Sponsored by the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association, this CLE-accredited program will inform attendees of the latest updates in benefits compliance, gender identity nondiscrimination, EEOC trends and enforcement policies. Mark Purpura will speak on a panel entitled “Benefits Compliance following U.S. v. Windsor.”…
February 14, 2014
Jennifer Jauffret and Lori Brewington will speak during this dinner meeting addressing the Delaware and federal law updates affecting labor and employment. …
November 7, 2013
Jennifer Jauffret and Lori Brewington will speak at this annual conference at the University of Delaware.
June 26, 2013
Last week, Governor Jack Markell signed a bill into law that protects individuals in Delaware from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.
May 10, 2013
On May 7, 2013, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed into law the Civil Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom Act of 2013, which will allow same-gender couples to enter into marriages.
November 8, 2012
Jennifer Jauffret and Lori Brewington will speak at this Delaware State Human Resources conference in Newark, DE.
April 20, 2012
The D.C. Circuit Court has temporarily blocked the National Labor Relations Board from requiring employers to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
December 6, 2011
Lori Brewington will speak at this National Business Institute seminar in Wilmington, Delaware.
November 11, 2011
The events at Penn State shed light on a company’s obligation to promptly investigate and resolve, as appropriate, any and all allegations of wrongdoing.
September 8, 2011
On August 30, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule that requires all employers subject to the NLRB’s jurisdiction to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
This guide presents an introduction to Delaware and an overview of the laws and programs relating to doing business in the State.
June 1, 2011
Recently, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed the Civil Union and Equality Act of 2011 legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples in the state.
March 31, 2011
On March 24, 2011, the EEOC issued final regulations to implement the ADAAA which become effective June 24, 2011.
November 18, 2010
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued final regulations interpreting the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which will become effective on January 10, 2011.
June 30, 2010
The U.S. Department of Labor clarified the definition of "son and daughter" under the Family and Medical Leave Act to ensure that an employee who assumes the role of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave regardless of the legal or biological relationship to the child.
May 11, 2010
Richards Layton director Jennifer C. Jauffret and associate Lori A. Brewington will be speaking on ADA Regulations at this Wilmington, Delaware program.
April 14, 2010
As part of the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA"), the Fair Labor Standards Act has been amended, effective immediately, to require breaks for nursing mothers.
March 22, 2010
On March 18, 2010, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (the "HIRE Act") was enacted into law.
November 4, 2009
Information regarding a new law that expands FMLA coverage, exigency leave and caregiver leave.
July 15, 2009
Recent judicial decisions address E-Verify Rules and discrimination based upon sexual orientation under Title VII.
November 20, 2008
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued the final regulations under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) clarifying certain employer and employee leave rights under the law
November 1, 2008
October 1, 2008
President George W. Bush signed into law amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) that will clarify and expand the protections afforded to disabled individuals.
Inside the Minds | May 2008
When you first have the opportunity to defend an employee discrimination suit, it may seem like a daunting task. But in reality, the defense of such matters differs little from other types of litigation. By using a step-by-step approach, you will greatly enhance your client’s chances for success. The purpose of this chapter is to review…
Delaware Banker | Spring 2008
The delicate balancing act between employers’ and employees’ needs and desires and equal employment laws has recently captured the attention of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Specifically, the EEOC has issued new enforcement guidance on unlawful disparate treatment of workers with caregiving responsibilities. Discrimination against caregivers is also known as Family Responsibilities Discrimination or…
February 14, 2008
On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law the first legislative expansion of rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") since its enactment in 1993.