Category Archives: Employee Handbooks & Policies

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Employers Concerned about State Abortion Access Restrictions Weigh Options for Medical Travel Reimbursements

There has never been an ERISA requirement to include elective abortion medical coverage in ERISA group health plans. Even so, many nationwide employers choose to offer it alongside non-elective abortion medical coverage.  Among those employer plan sponsors, there is new concern about how plan participants can practically access this covered medical care, if expensive travel … Continue Reading

The Boss is Watching – But Many States Impose Requirements for Surveillance at Work

With the rise of remote work, employers are increasingly considering measures to monitor employee’s work, whether for security purposes, or to monitor productivity. But employers take note: some states are starting to weigh in by passing laws that limit employer monitoring, or require employers to notify employees that they are monitoring them. And recording employee … Continue Reading

With U.S. Troops Heading to Europe, Employers Should Revisit Military Leave Policies

In the wake of the recent Ukraine invasion, more U.S. troops are being deployed to Europe to support NATO countries. Among these are members of the National Reserve and National Guard, who typically maintain civilian jobs throughout the year, but can be called for duty at any time. With that in mind, now is a … Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment Complainants Guaranteed Their Day in Court – Employers Beware the Implications

Since the onset of the #MeToo movement, allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace are frequently spotlighted in the news and on social media. Still, many claims between employers and employees are resolved outside of the public eye, through mandatory arbitration. New legislation passed this month by the U.S. House and Senate, pending President Biden’s … Continue Reading

Love is in the Air – And in the Workplace!

If you thought workplace romances vanished with the COVID-19 pandemic, think again.  According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), one-third of 550 U.S. workers said they are or have been romantically involved with a colleague in 2022. That represents an increase over 2020, when 27% of workers acknowledged a … Continue Reading

Sweeping Expansions to New York’s Whistleblower Protections Take Effect

New York employers, take heed: sweeping expansions to New York Labor Law (NYLL) Section 740 have fundamentally redefined the protections afforded to whistleblowers within the state. The revised law took effect on January 26, 2022, opening the door to a potential deluge of whistleblower claims against employers. Notable changes to Section 740 include the following:… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare but Blocks Vaccine-Or-Test Rule for Large Private Businesses

On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court prevented President Biden’s vaccination or testing mandate for large employers (issued as an OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)) from being enforced.  The Court allowed the vaccine mandate for certain healthcare workers issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to go into effect nationwide, initially … Continue Reading

Avoid Possible Tragedy In The Future By Preparing For Disasters And Emergencies Now

The series of tornadoes that ripped through parts of the county last month serves as a potent reminder to employers: having a disaster plan and preparedness training is important. In Illinois, six warehouse workers were killed when the roof collapsed at a distribution center during a tornado and workers from neighboring distribution facilities complained that they … Continue Reading

Weed in the Workplace – Marijuana Roundup

Marijuana was once again one of the hottest legislative topics across the nation in 2021, and while some states’ new legislation provided greater protections to employers with drug-free and/or zero-tolerance policies, others took a more employee-friendly approach. Employers will have to continue to review, update, and carefully navigate workplace drug policies to ensure legal compliance … Continue Reading

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

DOL’s Final Rule on Tipped Employees Takes Effect December 28th

Beginning December 28, 2021, employers must pay tipped employees the full minimum wage for periods when non tip-producing work is performed for a substantial amount of time, in light of a new Department of Labor (DOL) Final Rule taking effect that date. To comply with the rule, employers should revisit their current policies regarding how … Continue Reading

Biden Administration Unveils Long-Awaited COVID-19 Rules For Large Employers and Healthcare Workers

The wait is over for employers seeking clarity on the details of the Biden Administration’s vaccine and testing rules for private employers, first announced by President Biden in early September and now slated to take effect in part by an initial compliance date of December 6, 2021, with remaining requirements effective alongside federal contractor vaccine … 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

Colorado Employers May Need to Pay Out Accrued Vacation on Termination

Colorado employers should carefully review their vacation and paid time off policies following a recent decision from the Colorado Supreme Court. On June 14, 2021, the Colorado Supreme Court held in Nieto v. Clark’s Market that although the Colorado Wage Claim Act (CWCA) does not require employers to provide employees with vacation pay, if the … Continue Reading

Texas Expands Employer Liability for Sexual Harassment

Texas employers of ALL sizes should be aware that Texas has significantly expanded employee protection for sexual harassment claims with two new bills signed into law by Governor Abbott. The first opens the door for Texas employers of all sizes to be liable for sexual harassment. The second extends the statute of limitations for sexual … Continue Reading

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. … 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 … 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

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 … 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

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 … Continue Reading
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