Category Archives: Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention

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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

The Ramifications of College Athletes Being “Employees”

Consider this: the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board has opined that some student-athletes at the collegiate level are “employees” for purposes of the right to engage in protected concerted activity, and the U.S. Supreme Court has found that student athletes are entitled to certain compensation. So, if student athletes have new rights … 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

Increased OSHA Activity Should Serve as a Warning to Employers: Adopt Safety Policies AND Enforce Them

OSHA has put employers on notice that they cannot succumb to COVID-19 burnout, and must remain vigilant when it comes to worker safety protocol. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently increased the issuance of citations against employers for failing to following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Employers should be aware of … 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

Federal Contractors Face Dec. 8 Vaccination Deadline

Federal contractors covered by President Biden’s recent Executive Order 14042 must ensure that covered employees are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 no later than December 8, 2021, subject to applicable exceptions, pursuant to new Guidance published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force). The Guidance was issued pursuant to President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan … Continue Reading

Appellate Ruling Clouds California’s Ban on Mandatory Arbitration Clauses in Employment

Employers in California may not condition employment on entering into an arbitration agreement, but at the moment, it appears they may continue to enforce such agreements. The situation is muddled as a result of a federal appellate court ruling blocking a 2019 California law that made it illegal for an employer to condition employment or … 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

Broad Vaccine Mandates Ahead

Private employers with 100 or more employees will be required to ensure their employees are either “fully vaccinated” or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week, under President Biden’s new six-prong COVID-19 Action Plan (the “Plan”) announced September 9, 2021. The Plan also includes vaccination requirements for employees of healthcare … Continue Reading

No Vaccination, No Service For Indoor Dining, Entertainment, and Fitness in NYC

Enforcement begins soon of New York City’s new executive order requiring certain indoor establishments to verify that staff and patrons have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before entering the establishment. The executive order took effect on August 17 and inspectors will begin enforcing its requirements until September 13. This mandate is … Continue Reading

Should You Consider Offering Cheaper Health Plan Coverage in 2022 for Vaccinated Employees?

If you still have unvaccinated workers in January, might you provide a financial incentive for employees to be vaccinated, by charging them higher healthcare insurance premiums? That is the question facing exhausted but dedicated corporate Human Resources leaders as they approach annual open enrollment season, in which employees are asked to lock in their 2022 … 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

OSHA Encourages Employers to Mandate Vaccines or Regular Testing

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recommended employers either require vaccination or regular COVID testing, in addition to mask wearing and physical distancing in updated guidance issued on August 13, 2021. With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission affirming that employers can mandate vaccines subject to certain exceptions, and the Department of Justice chiming … Continue Reading

New NLRB GC Memo Reveals Agency Strategy

All unionized and nonunionized private sector employers should prepare now for the anticipated legal changes contemplated in the National Labor Relations Board’s latest general counsel memorandum, GC 21-04. The Memorandum, released August 12, 2021, provides a detailed roadmap of the legal precedents and case-handling processes that new NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo will advocate changing … 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

The Cost of Meal and Rest Break Violations Just Went Up for California Employers

California employers finally have clear guidance on the implications of failing to comply with California’s meal and rest break requirements under the Labor Code. Most businesses in California are familiar with meal and rest break requirements, and, equally so, with the penalty mandated by Section 226.7 of the Labor Code for violations—one hour of pay … Continue Reading

Biden Order: Consider a Federal Rule on Non-Competes

Don’t be misled: President Biden’s July 9 Executive Order does not bar non-compete agreements. Rather, it “encourages” the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission to use rule-making to limit their use. In fact, the only text in the Order addressing non-competes reads, in its entirety: “To address agreements that may unduly limit workers’ ability to … 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

Supreme Court: Employees Do Not “Exceed Authorized Access” By Misusing Computer Data They Are Otherwise Authorized To Access

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 … 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

Deadline Looms to Notify Current and FORMER Employees of COBRA Premium Subsidy

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 … Continue Reading
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