Harford County hotel owner ordered to pay back wages, damages to employees

A federal judge has ordered a Baltimore-area hotel owner and manager to pay $157,150 in back wages and damages to 34 of his current and former employees. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigators say Akhilbhai Patel, manager of Blissful Enterprises LLC and owner of ENA Hotels LLC in Edgewood, violated overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a department news release Tuesday. Patel did not immediately return messages requesting comment Tuesday. The department also fined Patel a $6,440 penalty for the “willful nature” of the violation, the release states. (Balt. Sun)

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Leidos emerges mostly unscathed from shutdown, anticipates growth in 2019

The recent government shutdown had an "immaterial" effect on Leidos Holdings Inc.'s fourth-quarter earnings, through which the Reston contractor said it saw continued revenue growth. The shutdown was in effect for four working days at the end of the fiscal year when many employees take vacations, resulting in minimal impact to the company's business, CFO James Reagan said on an earnings call Tuesday. In all, Leidos (NYSE: LDOS) disclosed an overall revenue hit of $11 million from the 35-day shutdown and the need to furlough some employees who work with Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, both of which were affected by the budget impasse. (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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House committee considers wage history bill once more

For the third year in a row, activists, attorneys and business groups met Tuesday afternoon at the House Economic Matters Committee in Annapolis to consider a bill that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. House Bill 634, titled Wage History and Wage Range, would require employers with 15 or more employees to include salary information in job announcements and prohibit certain employers from seeking salary history information from prospective employees during the interview process and when considering raises and promotions for current employees. (Daily Record)

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AFL-CIO opposes Johns Hopkins Bayview expansion

The AFL-CIO is opposing an expansion of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center that would add another building to its campus and renovate existing structures. In a 25-page letter, the union organization called on the Maryland Health Care Commission to reject a Certificate of Need for the expansion for the project, which is required under state law to move forward. The group cited a number of problems it claims Bayview has, including a failure to comply with charity care requirements for low-income patients, proposed rate hikes to support the project, and quality of care issues. The AFL-CIO said Hopkins brought thousands of lawsuits against patients to collect medical debts. (Balt. Sun)

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Veteran-owned Ellicott City IT firm wins $45.5 million federal contract

An Ellicott City firm has been awarded a five-year, $45.5 million contract to provide IT and cybersecurity services for the Defense Health Agency. Veteran-owned Data Computer Corporation of America (DCCA) will provide technical support services to DHA’s e-commerce system, which supports a Department of Defense health care program called TRICARE. TRICARE delivers military health and private sector care services to active duty and retired military personnel, other uniformed service personnel and their families. About 9.5 million people use TRICARE to provide for their health care needs, according to the federal program's website. TRICARE is part of the U.S. Military Health Care System. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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New York developer wants to build 'true loft apartments' on Baltimore's Howard Street

New York City developer Alan Bell is looking to bring a residential product to Baltimore that he says the city is currently missing. The self-described "urbanist" and founding principal of the Hudson Cos. Inc. is planning to build 15 "true loft apartments" in two historic buildings at the corner of North Howard and Saratoga streets on downtown's west side. Bell's residential firm B&B Urban is developing the project. The Crook Horner Lofts at 301 and 305 N. Howard St. will feature apartments between 1,500 and 1,700 square feet, as well as retail spaces on the ground floor. The project is Bell's first foray into Baltimore, or any city outside of New York, where he has specialized in building affordable and market rate housing over his more than 35-year career. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Md. lawmakers consider brewing bills with thousands of barrels of beer on the line

Small Maryland breweries could see the volume of beer they are allowed to brew double later this year, or state lawmakers could opt to limit the change to certain counties. The Frederick and Montgomery county delegations each unanimously supported bills earlier this session to double the annual barrel limits of microbreweries in their counties from 22,500 to 45,000 barrels. The Brewery Modernization Act of 2019, however, would allow the change to occur statewide. (News-Post)

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FAA tells Southwest to fix calculations of baggage weight on jets

Federal officials have told Southwest Airlines to fix the way it calculates the weight of luggage loaded on flights after finding frequent mistakes. Southwest said Tuesday that it made improvements in its methods for calculating weight and the balance of loads during 2018. The airline says it voluntarily reported the issue to federal safety officials last year, and isn't facing any enforcement action. The investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper said internal FAA documents show widespread mistakes in calculations and luggage-loading practices that could cause errors when pilots compute their plane's takeoff weight. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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