Category Archives: Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention

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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

Department of Labor Addresses Court Ruling By Issuing New FFCRA Leave Regulations

In response to a New York federal court striking certain aspects of the Department of Labor’s regulations interpreting the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), last week the DOL issued a revised Temporary Rule (the “Revised Rule”), in some ways resisting and in others yielding to the court’s ruling. In particular, the Revised Rule maintains the DOL’s prior positions … Continue Reading

Employees Are Responsible for Logging Remote Work Hours

Employers have struggled with identifying remote working hours for non-exempt employees juggling telework, child care and/or virtual learning during the pandemic. Employees will now bear the burden of properly recording those hours, under new enforcement guidance issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) in late August.… Continue Reading

Labor Day – More than just Barbecues and Parades

As summer winds downs, employers and employees alike look forward to a leisurely three-day weekend typically spent with family and friends, enjoying the remaining days of summer warmth, perhaps readying kids to go back to school or college. Except this Labor Day will likely be anything but typical. With crowded activities such as parades and fireworks displays canceled due to … Continue Reading

Screening Employees for Symptoms: Perils and Pointers

Screening employees for symptoms of COVID-19 is critical to limiting both the spread of the virus and a company’s exposure to claims that it did not do enough to protect its employees. But screening itself can create other liabilities, so you will want to be sure your process follows recommended federal, state and local regulations and guidance. Both the U.S. … Continue Reading

Longer Than Expected Layoffs May Trigger Notice Requirements

Back in the spring, when COVID-19 first forced the shutdown of many businesses, did your company temporarily furlough or lay off workers? If so, pay attention to that calendar, as six months may be rapidly approaching. As we noted in our prior blog, certain layoffs and reductions in hours that last longer than six months trigger federal notice requirements … Continue Reading

Common Sense Finally Prevails: Employers No Longer have to Tolerate Abusive and Offensive Conduct in the Workplace  

Your employee has just cursed at you, calling you every racist and/or sexist name in the book. Naturally, that employee must go! Just as you are ready to sign off on the termination, a thought occurs to you: “Uh-oh. He was standing on a picket line when he called me those names. Am I still allowed to discipline him, or … 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

State and Local Paid Family and Sick Leave Laws Continue to Sweep the Country

Even before COVID-19 hit the United States, state and local governments were busy passing paid family and/or sick leave laws. Unlike the federal, state, and local leave laws which were enacted in response to COVID-19, these laws do not expire and have a broader application. In 2019, paid family leave laws in Washington, D.C. and Washington state, and paid sick … Continue Reading

Don’t Get Bitten—COBRA and Costly Consequences of Non-Compliant Notices

COBRA: an acronym that strikes fear (and understandable confusion) into the hearts of many employers. If you have 20 or more employees, you are subject to the often equivocal requirements of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act—and the consequences of non-compliance can be poisonous. Given the increase in COBRA-related lawsuits and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) recent revisions of its … 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

Navigating the NLRA in the Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Workplace: What Both Union and Nonunion Employers Need to Know

As shelter in place restrictions ease and U.S. workplaces begin to reopen, both union and nonunion employers may find themselves facing a host of new challenges. Employers may wonder what they should be doing to keep their employees safe at work. They may wonder what kinds of medical tests they can perform on employees before allowing them into their facilities. … 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

Chicago Prohibits Retaliation Against Employees Who Follow Orders Requiring Them To Stay At Home

Employees in Chicago have been granted new protections if they must stay at home to comply with a state or local stay order or to care for someone under such an order under a new Chicago City Council ordinance enacted late last month. The Anti-Retaliation Ordinance, SO2020-2343 protects employees who work as few as two hours in a two-week period … Continue Reading

Managing a California Workforce During COVID-19

While some states have moved quickly to re-open for business, California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a four-stage plan to modify the statewide stay-at-home order, beginning with expanded testing and contact tracing measures, and culminating with the re-opening of live-audience sports, concerts, and other large events. As California employers begin implementing that plan, they must keep California’s unique employment law … 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

Buyer Beware – FBI Warns of Fraud Involving Procurement of PPE and Other COVID-19 Supplies

Many employers are now making plans to have their employees return to the workplace. Based on recent alerts from the FBI, part of preparing to protect workers from COVID-19 at work should include protecting the company from falling prey to fraudsters. To do that, employers should put in place procedures to carefully screen vendors from whom they will purchase COVID-19 … Continue Reading

Paycheck Protection Program Open for Business

Small businesses can begin applying for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program today, April 3, 2020, but should keep in mind that under new interim guidance, 75% of the forgiven amount over the eight week period following origination of the loan must be used for payroll purposes. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply starting April 10, 2020. … Continue Reading

Relief for Employers in the CARES Act

The Federal Corona Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), approved Friday in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, provides businesses with a myriad of opportunities for relief, including expansion of unemployment benefits, advance refunding of tax credits for employers that provide expanded FMLA leave and emergency paid sick leave, small business loan programs, debt forgiveness, and more. Summaries of the … Continue Reading

CARES Act Impacts to Employer-Sponsored Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

Health and welfare benefit plans and insurers are affected by various provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed on March 27, 2020. In addition to provisions impacting tax-qualified retirement plans and executive compensation (summarized here), the CARES Act affects coverage of diagnostic testing, preventive services, telehealth services, and drug reimbursement. Here are the … Continue Reading

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