Category Archives: Employee Handbooks & Policies

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NY Employers: Note New NY COVID-19 Guidance

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 … Continue Reading

What the CDC’s New Guidance on Fully Vaccinated Individuals Means for Employers

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

Weed and the Workplace: Recent Developments in New York, Virginia, and Colorado

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.… Continue Reading

Mandatory Versus Voluntary Vaccinations: An Employer Guide

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.… Continue Reading

ARPA COBRA Premium Subsidy – Time for Employer Plans to Update COBRA Notices

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 … 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This blog was based on guidance which is now outdated.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 on May 28, 2021. For Continue Reading

Facing Exposure: Dealing with Mask Refusers in the Workplace

As various states (Texas, Mississippi, Montana, Iowa, and many more) have done away with mask mandates and as vaccinations become more widely disseminated amongst the general population, many individuals may be emboldened to throw their face coverings in the trash and never look back. However, employers may be hesitant to lift mask requirements and other COVID-19 protocol in their workplaces … 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 transmission of the virus. Indeed, … Continue Reading

What Employers Should Do Based on the Revisions to the EEOC’s Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination

Employers have new obligations and employees have new rights under the EEOC’s newly finalized revisions to the agency’s Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination. The Compliance Manual does not have the force of law, but sets forth how the EEOC analyzes claims under the law, and provides useful guidance to employers. Although a large portion of the Religious Discrimination Section … Continue Reading

Biden Administration Heralds New Protections for LGBTQ Employees

While President Biden’s initial flurry of executive orders largely sought to address the pandemic and undo the regulatory legacy of his predecessor, one order places LGBTQ protection at the heart of the new Administration’s agenda. That order, “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” states the new Administration’s general policy: “Every person … Continue Reading

Employers May Compel COVID-19 Vaccinations, But…

Employers may require employees in the workplace to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to newly issued guidelines from the EEOC. But employers may not necessarily terminate an employee who refuses.

While the vaccine may still be months away for most Americans, employers should prepare now for the issues that will arise, including those relating to pre-vaccination screening, administering the vaccine, … Continue Reading

Five New States Approve Marijuana Use, Leaving Employers Dazed and Confused

Voters around the country recently approved a number of ballot initiatives legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational and/or medical purposes, further complicating the patchwork of existing marijuana laws found throughout the country. The confusion is compounded by the fact that marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, thereby making it illegal (at … Continue Reading

Just in Time for the Holidays, the EEOC Proposes Guidance on Religious Bias

It seems that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is getting into the holiday spirit and addressing religious bias for the first time in twelve years. Last week, the EEOC proposed updated religious discrimination guidance for public comment. This guidance (clocking in at well over 100 pages) is in line with the agency’s goal to revamp its stance on religious … 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

Traps for the Unwary: Responding When An Employee Quits

You may have been there: a valuable employee angered by some new development, announces “I quit!” and storms out, then shows up for work the next day as though nothing happened. Or a rapidly failing underperformer submits a written resignation, but it’s not effective until 60 days later. What’s an employer to do? Can/should an employer march them out the … Continue Reading

Background Checks and the Fair Credit Reporting Act: Keep It Simple!

Employers who conduct background checks, beware! It might be time to revisit your standard documents and screening processes to ensure they comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The number of lawsuits brought under the FCRA has more than doubled since 2009. FRCA litigation was the highest on record at the close of 2019, and continues to rise. Many … Continue Reading

The NLRB’s Division of Advice Has Spoken on COVID-19 in the Workplace, Providing Flexibility to Employers During the Pandemic

As employers continue to navigate these chaotic times, on July 15, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), through its Division of Advice (Advice), issued its first guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the workplace. In the form of five letters from Advice relating to the pandemic, the previously silent NLRB brought some beneficial clarity to employers who have no doubt … Continue Reading

Time to Update (or Implement!) Your COVID-19 Safety Plan

Do you have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place? If not, you had best get started.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have recommended having such a plan since the beginning of the pandemic, and have recently updated their guidance to spell out exactly what such plans should address. In some … Continue Reading

Employers Take Heed: CDC Modifies Return to Work Guidance

Over the past few weeks, the CDC has issued updated COVID-19 guidance on a number of topics affecting the workplace, including modifying the criteria employers rely on to determine when an employee with COVID-19 may return to work. As the CDC’s COVID-19 guidance evolves, employers must ensure their COVID-19 plans and policies likewise evolve. Given these recent changes, employers should … Continue Reading

The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Workplace

The Black Lives Matter movement, protesting racism, police brutality, and the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans, has not only been seen and heard in streets around the world; it has found a new voice in corporate boardrooms as well. The 8-minute, 46-second video of a police officer indifferently kneeling on the neck of Floyd, an unarmed Black … Continue Reading

It’s Official: Discrimination on Basis of Sexual Orientation/Transgender Status is Prohibited

Employers should take note that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status now clearly violates federal law. In a landmark decision issued on June 15th, in Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court held (6-3) that an employer who fires an individual for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of … Continue Reading

Re-Opening For Business: Is Your Workplace Ready?

Employers face a myriad of issues in thinking through whether and how to re-open for business after mandatory closures, or how to thoughtfully phase out teleworking models currently in place for ongoing enterprises. While federal, state, and local authorities haggle over who will decide which businesses can re-open and under what circumstances, employers should start preparing now. In particular for … Continue Reading

What Employers Need to Know about Coronavirus

Although there have only been a handful of confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV or the “coronavirus”) within the United States so far, employers are nevertheless well-advised to take affirmative steps to protect their employees from this rapidly spreading respiratory illness – even if the employers do not have any operations or employees based in China, where the … Continue Reading

Federal Contractors To Be Limited On Criminal Background Checks

Private employers with federal contracts will soon be prohibited from requesting criminal history information from candidates at the onset of the hiring process; instead, they will have to wait until after an offer is made.

The Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (Act) was discreetly tucked into the Defense Spending Bill approved on December 20, 2019. The … Continue Reading

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