Category Archives: Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention

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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 not be prompt enough.… 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 facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid … 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 the first of its kind … 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 benefit plan year’s elections. As … 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 in that such mandates … 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 during her four-year term.… 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 harassment claims in Texas from … 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 at the employee’s “regular rate … 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 change jobs, the Chair of … 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. Under the Trump Administration, the … 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 for physical distancing, physical barriers, … 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 in response, but one previously … 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 are no longer enrolled, … Continue Reading

Family and Medical Leave: What’s New and What’s Not

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 … Continue Reading

Not So Fast: DOL Pauses Aspects of FLSA Tip Regulations Final Rule

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 … 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

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

Growing State and Local Equal Pay Protections

Pay equity will be a focus of the Biden Administration, as was made clear in the White House Proclamation on Equal Pay Day last week. But states are not waiting on the federal government to act; several are moving forward with pay transparency and equity laws. California is the first state to enact its own pay data reporting law, with … 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

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

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