Category Archives: Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention

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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

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 transmission of the virus. Indeed, … 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 of the Religious Discrimination Section … Continue Reading

COVID Infections May Be Down But COVID Lawsuits Are Up: What Employers Should Consider

It comes as no surprise that employee claims against employers are on the rise. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a drastic decline in newly filed employment-related lawsuits. The decline was likely the result of shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions on working in the workplace. However, the months of November 2020 and December 2020 saw a … Continue Reading

New Guidance from DOL Regarding the Suspension of Certain Employee Benefit Plan Deadlines Due to COVID-19

Last minute guidance affects employers sponsoring group health plans, and answers a much-discussed question as we approach the one-year anniversary of  past COVID guidance.  Today the Department of Labor issued long-awaited guidance concerning whether certain employee benefit plan deadlines will continue to be suspended or whether the clock begins ticking again as of March 1, 2021.  As we explain, the … Continue Reading

Employees Starting to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine – Now What?

Despite some employees receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, employers should still require workers to wear face coverings and remain physically distant to help prevent the spread of the virus, according to updated guidance by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, as of February 14, … Continue Reading

Non-Union Employers Beware: The NLRB Pendulum is Pushed Pro-Union

Employers that want to maintain non-union status must be aware of the significant and rapid shift of the NLRB toward pro-union positions. Everyone expected the NLRB pendulum to swing pro-union, but few observers expected the pendulum to be immediately and forcibly pushed as it has been. First was the prompt and unprecedented ousting of the General Counsel and Deputy General … Continue Reading

Biden Administration Heralds New Protections for LGBTQ Employees

While President Biden’s initial flurry of executive orders largely sought to address the pandemic and undo the regulatory legacy of his predecessor, one order places LGBTQ protection at the heart of the new Administration’s agenda. That order, “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” states the new Administration’s general policy: “Every person … Continue Reading

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