The scenario is familiar, and frustrating, to employers: an employee, preparing to leave to join a competitor, accesses sensitive product, customer, and sales data using his or her own credentials, copies it to a flash drive, and takes it to a competing firm. Employers have had a variety of legal tools available to take action in response, but one previously potent tool is now seemingly off the table due to a June 3, 2021 opinion by the United States Supreme Court. That decision, Van Buren v. United States, reminds employers that litigation, even under expansive anti-hacking statutes such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), is no substitute for strong preventative actions to protect sensitive competitive information.
An employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community, according to new guidance issued by the EEOC on May 28, 2021. Continue Reading
With the COVID-19 landscape in New York changing rapidly, employers may be understandably confused about what rules to abide by when it comes to things like masks, social distancing, and safety protocols. Significant changes may be on the horizon, but employers should not pull the trigger on any sweeping changes to their policies just yet. Despite recent guidance from the CDC, New York employers should continue to stay their course and follow the previous industry-specific guidelines issued by the State, which are still in effect at this time.
With the CDC’s May 13 announcement lifting the mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals in most non-healthcare settings, many Americans are excited at the thought of a return to normalcy. However, employers should consider these questions before lifting their own mask requirements for workers who are fully vaccinated. Continue Reading
Employers, if you had employees who had been on your group health plan who were involuntarily terminated or whose hours were reduced as early as November 1, 2019, read this! If those employees became eligible for COBRA and did not elect COBRA coverage when it was first offered, OR if they originally elected it but are no longer enrolled, employers must notify them by May 31 of a special COBRA subsidy available to them.
Last month, President Biden rolled out “the American Families Plan,” a proposal that would phase in paid family and medical leave for employees with certain medical and family obligations. The proposal would cost around $225 billion over 10 years, which, according to the White House, would be paid mostly by upping taxes on the wealthy. According to a White House fact sheet, President Biden’s proposed plan would guarantee workers 12 weeks of paid leave, which they could use to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness, or take time to deal with the death of a loved one. The program would provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers. The program would phase in paid family and medical leave over a 10-year period, guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid parental, family, and personal illness/safety leave by the 10th year.
Employers should continue to track and keep records of the percentage of time tipped wage earners spend performing non-tip eligible tasks, as the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has pressed pause on several provisions of the Trump Administration’s 2020 Final Rule addressing Tip Regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Among the provisions paused is one that effectively eliminated the so-called “80/20” Rule and allowed an employer to still take a tip credit for certain non-tipped duties.
Employers take note: recently New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use through Senate Bill 854A, and Virginia is not far behind. These and other developments related to marijuana continue to impact the workplace.
With COVID-19 vaccines now available to every adult in the United States, employers are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel after a year of uncertainty. But for employers whose workforces spent a year away from the office, a safe return to normalcy presents new legal, practical, and ethical questions.
Employers should be busy preparing tailored COBRA continuation coverage notices for certain individuals, addressing complicated election and altered COBRA premium topics that took effect only in recent weeks. Below, we offer practical summaries and specific timing suggestions for the anxiously awaited model notices that have now been released. Notices will soon reach Americans who could receive up to six months of free COBRA coverage after having lost their active employee coverage within a certain time frame due to either an involuntary termination of employment or a reduction in hours.