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Family Medical Leave Compliance — A New Years’ Resolution You Should Keep

Given the rapidly spreading omicron variant, employers with as few as five employees are well advised to refresh themselves on their obligations under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and its California counterpart, the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). Generally, FMLA and CFRA provide 12 weeks of job-protected leave during a 12-month period. Private employers are … Continue Reading

Prepare Now for Anticipated Labor Law Changes in 2022

General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo of the National Labor Relations Board continues to make waves as she shares with employers, unions, and workers alike, her views on hot button issues at the NLRB.  During Abruzzo’s remarks at the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference last month, Abruzzo went beyond the guidance provided … Continue Reading

Illinois Imposes New Limits on Non-Competes Effective January 1

Illinois employers will be far more restricted in their ability to bind employees to non-competition and non-solicitation agreements as result of an amendment to the Illinois law governing such agreements. The law amends the Illinois Freedom to Work Act effective January 1, 2022, and imposes some initial hurdles and eligibility conditions on agreements executed after … Continue Reading

Objections to COVID-Testing and Asking Vax Status Up Front: Best Practices

Employers are being inundated with employee requests for exemptions, not just from mandatory vaccination policies, but also from policies requiring regular COVID-19 testing. How do employers square their duty to provide a safe workplace with the duty to try to accommodate employees who refuse even to be tested? And can they avoid some of the … Continue Reading

Handling Requests for Religious Exemptions from Mandatory Vaccination Policies

Employers implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policies are facing an avalanche of requests for exemptions as religious accommodations, far more than for medical exemptions. Fortunately, while employers are generally obligated to explore accommodations for requests based on a sincerely held religious belief, they are not necessarily obligated to grant exemptions.… Continue Reading

Reminder: Promptly Investigate Harassment Complaints

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the workplace has dominated the headlines recently, employers should be careful not to delay investigating non-pandemic-related complaints—particularly those of harassment. Failing to promptly investigate and correct harassing behavior can be costly. Based on a recent federal appellate court ruling, a month between complaint and action may … Continue Reading

Worker Injured on the Job? Don’t Forget Potential FMLA Rights

When an employee gets injured on the job, employers know to provide information about workers compensation coverage. But employers would be wise to remember to also consider whether the injury constitutes a “serious health condition,” triggering additional obligations under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or similar state leave statutes.… Continue Reading

Be Careful About Restricting Employee Communications with Media

Employers that bar staff from communicating with the media should take another look at those prohibitions, following a recent federal appellate decision finding such a policy unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). An employee’s critical letter to the editor might be embarrassing, but taking action against the author for writing it may be … Continue Reading

New Florida Corporate Espionage Act: Additional Protection for Trade Secrets?

Florida has given employers a new weapon in their trade secret protection arsenal: the Combatting Corporate Espionage in Florida Act. With the Biden Administration’s goal of curtailing non-competes and the Supreme Court’s narrow reading of a federal computer hacking law, employers are looking for additional ways to protect their sensitive business information. While seemingly targeted … Continue Reading

Tipped and Non-Tipped Work Back Under the Microscope

The old “80/20 rule” is back again for tipped workers under the latest proposed Final Rule issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) last month. Employers in the service industry, especially those employers who take a tip credit and/or implement a tip pool for their employees, should keep an eye on this latest Final Rule. … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Standard for Healthcare Employers

OSHA has issued a 916-page COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) setting forth a myriad of requirements for covered healthcare entities, including implementation of a comprehensive COVID-19 plan identifying and addressing hazards, patient screening and management protocols and transmission-based precautions, protocols for providing and requiring use of personal protective equipment (PPE), aerosol-generating procedure controls, requirements … Continue Reading

New Federal Guidance: Employers May Offer Incentives for Vaccination

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

Considering Incentives for Employee COVID-19 Vaccines – Tips and Traps

This blog was based on guidance which is now outdated. 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 … Continue Reading

Be Prepared For Increase In COVID-19 Inspections Under OSHA’s New National Emphasis Program

On March 12, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) designed to significantly reduce worker exposure to COVID-19 by targeting industries and worksites where employees may have a high frequency of close-contact exposures. The new NEP on COVID-19 has two main components:… Continue Reading

Do the Business Liability Shield Laws Give Employers Immunity From COVID-19 Lawsuits

Not really. Like the COVID-19 vaccines, these “business liability shields” may provide a layer of protection for some employers, but they in no way guarantee immunity from lawsuits. Since early last year, business leaders expressed concerns about continuing with operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—mainly because they feared exposing their businesses to lawsuits arising from the … Continue Reading

COVID Infections May Be Down But COVID Lawsuits Are Up: What Employers Should Consider

It comes as no surprise that employee claims against employers are on the rise. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a drastic decline in newly filed employment-related lawsuits. The decline was likely the result of shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions on working in the workplace. However, the months of November 2020 … Continue Reading

Employees Starting to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine – Now What?

Despite some employees receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, employers should still require workers to wear face coverings and remain physically distant to help prevent the spread of the virus, according to updated guidance by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, … Continue Reading

California Voters OK Independent Contractor Status for App Service Drivers

On November 3, 2020, nearly 60% of California voters approved a ballot measure to create a carve-out from the state’s expansive independent contractor law, AB 5, for drivers on technology platforms such as Lyft, Uber, Doordash, and Postmates. Proposition 22 essentially creates a new category of workers by allowing transportation technology companies to continue to … Continue Reading

Back to Pro-Labor: What Employers Can Expect From a Biden Presidency: Part II, Labor Relations Edition

While the final results are not yet certified, it appears that we have a new president. Employers across the country, both union and non-union, are wondering what they can expect from a Joe Biden presidency when it comes to organized labor. The Biden campaign was not shy about its strong support for labor unions, and … Continue Reading

Workplace Changes to Expect Under a Biden Administration: Part I

The networks have called the Presidential election for Joe Biden. Assuming those results are certified and President Trump’s legal challenges fail, what should employers expect under the new administration? In Part I of this two-part series, let’s explore what changes we might see in the workplace from the employment law perspective. In Part II, we … Continue Reading

California’s Sweeping Expansion of Employment Laws

California has enacted a host of new laws impacting family and medical leave, coronavirus reporting obligations, workers compensation, pay gap data, worker classifications, and more. Here are the highlights, including when employers must abide by the new laws.… Continue Reading

Screening for COVID-19? Update Your Protocol!

Employers screening for COVID-19 should consider updating their screening and other protocols following new guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and a new study on how long the coronavirus can live on surfaces. The new definition greatly expands persons who will be considered close contacts, and is just the latest change … Continue Reading

Can Employers Require that Employees Get the Flu Shot?

Flu season is upon us. Can employers require a flu shot? More importantly, should they? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that getting a flu vaccine this year is “more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on … Continue Reading
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