Washington, D.C. employers will not need to scrap all their non-compete agreements after all.  On July 12, 2022, the D.C. Council (the “Council”) passed the Non-Compete Clarification Amendment Act of 2022 (B24-0256) (the “Amendment”), which among other things, tempers the District’s near-universal ban on non-compete provisions to permit restrictions for highly compensated employees.  For further analysis on the original D.C. Ban on Non-Compete Act, please see our previous articles here and here.

The Council delayed the initial ban several times in response to feedback from employer groups.  However, barring an unlikely veto or Congressional action during the mandatory review period, the amended ban will take effect as of October 1, 2022.  We detail the key revisions to the ban below.

Continue Reading Washington, D.C. Scales Back Ban on Non-Competes

On June 7, 2022, the District of Columbia Council approved the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Support Act of 2022 (“Act”), which includes an increase to the number of weeks of paid leave available to eligible employees through the Universal Paid Leave Act (“UPLA”) (also known as “Paid Family Leave,” or “PFL”).  Generally, as we previously explained, PFL-eligible employees are those who spend at least 50 percent of their work time – whether full time or part time – in D.C.

Continue Reading UPDATE: Washington, D.C. Universal Paid Leave Increases Will Begin October 2022

On March 28, 2022, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed D.C. Act 24-350, postponing the applicability date of the Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-563) (the “Act”) until October 1, 2022.  As we previously reported, the D.C. Council will likely use the coming months to consider various amendments, which will hopefully offer clarity to employers.

Continue Reading UPDATE: Washington, D.C. Ban on Non-Competes Postponed Until October 2022

The D.C. Council (the “Council”) is poised to further postpone the Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-563) (the “Act”). On March 1, 2022, Councilmember Elissa Silverman introduced emergency legislation (B24-0683) that would push back the Act’s applicability date from April 1 to October 1, 2022. Councilmember Silverman simultaneously introduced and the D.C. Council adopted an emergency declaration resolution (PR24-0603) allowing the measure to proceed directly to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s desk for signing after a single reading.

Continue Reading Washington, D.C. Ban on Non-Competes Postponed Until October 2022

On Monday, December 20, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a “situational update,” declaring a state of emergency due to the “Winter 2022 Surge” in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta and Omicron variants. The District will combat the current rise in COVID-19 cases with a six-pronged approach outlined in an action plan (the “Plan”) published by the Mayor’s Office and implemented under Mayor’s Order 2021-147 (the “Order”).  The Plan includes expanding free testing programs, a new indoor mask mandate, and a vaccine mandate for city employees and contractors.

Expanded Testing

The District has been operating a program called “Test Yourself DC,” which provides free PCR testing kits for use at home. On December 20, 2021, nine new pick-up/drop-off sites were added to the program, making a total of 36 locations available. The Test Yourself locations are in addition to the eight public testing sites staffed by health professionals administering free PCR COVID-19 tests. Further, the program will be expanded to include “Test Yourself Express,” which will offer free at-home rapid antigen COVID-19 testing kits at eight DC public libraries. District residents who provide proof of residency will be permitted to get two free rapid tests per day and must report their results via an online portal.

Continue Reading More Tests, Mandatory Masks, and Another Vaccine Mandate: The District of Columbia Steps Up Its Battle Plan

Washington, D.C. employers have more time to get their non-compete ducks in a row. On August 23, 2021, Mayor Bowser signed the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Support Act of 2021 (B24-0373) (the “Support Act”), which includes various statutory changes necessary to implement the D.C. FY 2022 budget. As expected, the Support Act postpones the applicability

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the nation, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia all recently have implemented additional mitigation measures that impact business operations.  Below is a summary of the key restrictions of which businesses within the DMV should be aware.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia maintains a compilation of

As COVID-19 cases once again surge across the country, Washington, D.C. employers must remember to provide both paid and unpaid leave under the new District of Columbia Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-130) (the “Act”).  Although passed in July 2020, the Act formally became effective on October 9, 2020

On August 6, 2020, in Rose’s 1 LLC, et al. v. Erie Insurance Exchange, a District of Columbia trial court granted an insurer’s cross motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether COVID-19 closure orders constitute a “direct physical loss” under a commercial property policy. Plaintiff insureds (“Insureds”) own several restaurants in Washington D.C. that were forced to close and suffered serious revenue losses stemming from the Mayor’s orders to close non-essential businesses and ordering people to stay home. As a result, the Insureds made claims to Defendant Erie Insurance Exchange (the “Insurer”) under their policies that included coverage for “loss of ‘income’ and/or ‘rental income’” sustained “due to partial or total ‘interruption of business’ resulting directly from ‘loss’ or damage” to the property insured. The policy also stated that it “insures against direct physical ‘loss.’”

Dictionary Definitions Open to Interpretation

As the Court framed the issue, “[a]t the most basic level, the parties dispute whether the closure of the restaurants due to Mayor Bowser’s orders constituted a ‘direct physical loss’ under the policy.” To support their argument, the Insureds relied on dictionary definitions of “direct” as “[w]ithout intervening persons, conditions, or agencies; immediate;” and “physical” as pertaining to things “[o]f or pertaining to matter, or the world as perceived by the senses; material as [opposed] to mental or spiritual.” The policy defined “loss,” as “direct and accidental loss of or damage to covered property.”

The Insureds relied on these definitions to make three arguments. First, they argued that the loss of use of their restaurant properties was “direct” because the closures were the direct result of the Mayor’s orders without intervening action. The Court rejected that argument because those orders commanded individuals and businesses to take certain actions and “[s[tanding alone and absent intervening actions by individuals and businesses, the orders did not affect any direct changes to the properties.”

Second, the Insureds argued that their losses were “physical” because the COVID-19 virus is “material” and “tangible,” and because the harm they experienced was caused by the Mayor’s orders rather than diners being afraid to eat out. The Court also rejected that argument because the Insureds offered no evidence that COVID-19 was actually present on their properties at the time they were forced to close and the mayor’s orders did not impact the tangible structure of the properties.

Third, the Insureds argued that the policy’s definition of “loss” as encompassing either “loss” or “damage,” required the insurer to “treat the term ‘loss’ as distinct from ‘damage,’ which connotes physical damage to the property,” and thus “loss” incorporates “loss of use.” The Court rejected that argument and held that the words “direct” and “physical” modify the word “loss” and therefore any “loss of use” must be “caused, without the intervention of other persons or conditions, by something pertaining to matter—in other words, a direct physical intrusion [onto] the insured property.” The Court held that the Mayor’s orders did not constitute such a direct physical intrusion.
Continue Reading D.C. Judge Rules COVID-19 Closure Orders Do Not Constitute “Direct Physical Loss”