Category Archives: Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention

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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

Cracking Down on Employers Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors

New Jersey has joined California and New York City by adding significant new penalties and requirements on employers doing business in the Garden State, including new penalties for misclassifying workers as independent contractors and new posting requirements effective April 1, 2020. Illinois, New York, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Florida considered various forms of legislation on worker misclassification in 2019, and … Continue Reading

Summary of Key Tax Provisions in Historic Senate CARES Act Legislation

On March 26, the Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), which advances legislation intended to help Americans and businesses survive a public health and economic crisis due to COVID-19. This article provides a summary of key tax provisions in the CARES Act. The bill now moves to the House, which is expected to … Continue Reading

New Unemployment Obligations for Georgia Employers

Employers faced with layoffs and furloughs need to pay close attention to state unemployment laws, which are in flux and in some instances may impose extraordinary burdens on employers. For example, Georgia has extended unemployment benefits and now requires employers to file for benefits on behalf some employees impacted by COVID-19 as a result of certain changes to state unemployment … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Inquiries and Disclosures in the Workplace

Once an employee has been exposed to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, what do you do? Once an employee has tested positive, what do you say? How does an employer walk the fine line between protecting the privacy of affected individuals and ensuring the safety of others in the workplace?

Because a national public health emergency has been … Continue Reading

Notice Requirements When Furloughing Or Laying Off Workers in the Pandemic

Employers contemplating layoffs or furloughs of employees as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak need to be careful. Even if they are not subject to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), they may be obligated to provide various notices under state “mini-WARN” acts or other state laws.

Below is a quick overview of how these federal … Continue Reading

Rocky Mountain Employers: Brace for Sweeping Changes to Compensation and Minimum Wage Laws

Employers operating in the Rocky Mountain region need to pay close attention to the 2020 Administrative Order issued by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) mandating broad changes to employee compensation and rights. It is different than similar orders issued previously, and makes significant changes to wage and hour laws in Colorado. CDLE recently adopted the Colorado Overtime Continue Reading

Paid Sick Leave and Other Relief Coming for Employees Affected by COVID-19

Employers with fewer than 500 employees will be required to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for certain employees impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and will receive a tax credit in return under an emergency bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this weekend. The Senate is expected to consider the bill this week and President … Continue Reading

Declaration of COVID-19 as a Pandemic Changes Rules for Employers

The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020 finally acknowledged that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a pandemic. That designation changes the rules for employers.

The standard for justifying disability-related inquiries and medical examinations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is now easier to meet, based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Guidance for Pandemic Preparedness from … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues Joint Employer Final Rule

Right on the heels of the Department of Labor (DOL) issuing a new joint employer liability test under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued its own employer-friendly final rule for determining joint employer liability under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRB’s final rule is scheduled to become effective April 27, 2020.… Continue Reading

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