Category Archives: Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention

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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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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, … 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, … 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 … 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 … Continue Reading

Biden Quickly Shifts Immigration Policies – What Employers Need to Know

With the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021, immigration reform is on the near horizon. Employers are advised to stay abreast of fluid immigration policies that could have sweeping effects on the sponsorship of various foreign national workers.  In addition, several immigration rules … Continue Reading

Labor Department Issues New Rule for Independent Contractor Status

With no clear guidance and different factors being given different weight by different courts, employers have struggled for years with whether workers can be properly classified as independent contractors, rather than employees, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Now, the Department of Labor has issued a new rule  making clear what factors should be … Continue Reading

Five New States Approve Marijuana Use, Leaving Employers Dazed and Confused

Voters around the country recently approved a number of ballot initiatives legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational and/or medical purposes, further complicating the patchwork of existing marijuana laws found throughout the country. The confusion is compounded by the fact that marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, … Continue Reading

What California Employers Need to Know About The Emergency Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Regulations

Nearly all California employers must take steps now to comply with the requirements imposed by the new slate of emergency regulations intended to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in California workplaces. These regulations, adopted by CAL/OSHA on November 30, 2020 are immediately effective. Here is what employers need to know now to protect their businesses … Continue Reading

Just in Time for the Holidays, the EEOC Proposes Guidance on Religious Bias

It seems that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is getting into the holiday spirit and addressing religious bias for the first time in twelve years. Last week, the EEOC proposed updated religious discrimination guidance for public comment. This guidance (clocking in at well over 100 pages) is in line with the agency’s goal to … Continue Reading

California Voters OK Independent Contractor Status for App Service Drivers

On November 3, 2020, nearly 60% of California voters approved a ballot measure to create a carve-out from the state’s expansive independent contractor law, AB 5, for drivers on technology platforms such as Lyft, Uber, Doordash, and Postmates. Proposition 22 essentially creates a new category of workers by allowing transportation technology companies to continue to … Continue Reading

New Obligations for Colorado Employers

Two new statutes affecting all employers operating in Colorado, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEWA) and paid sick leave through Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, will add to the compliance burden of all employers operating in Colorado effective January 1, 2021. The impact of each new law on employers is discussed below.… Continue Reading

Back to Pro-Labor: What Employers Can Expect From a Biden Presidency: Part II, Labor Relations Edition

While the final results are not yet certified, it appears that we have a new president. Employers across the country, both union and non-union, are wondering what they can expect from a Joe Biden presidency when it comes to organized labor. The Biden campaign was not shy about its strong support for labor unions, and … Continue Reading

Screening for COVID-19? Update Your Protocol!

Employers screening for COVID-19 should consider updating their screening and other protocols following new guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and a new study on how long the coronavirus can live on surfaces. The new definition greatly expands persons who will be considered close contacts, and is just the latest change … Continue Reading

New York State Releases Guidance on the State’s New Sick Leave Law

New York employers waiting for clarification on the newly effective New York State Sick Leave Law (“Sick Leave Law”) need wait no longer: on October 20, 2020, the state issued initial guidance – titled the New York State Paid Sick Leave FAQ (the “Guidance”) – interpreting the law. The Sick Leave Law applies to all … Continue Reading

Can Employers Require that Employees Get the Flu Shot?

Flu season is upon us. Can employers require a flu shot? More importantly, should they? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that getting a flu vaccine this year is “more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Related Litigation Surges: What Employers Can Do To Minimize Exposure

The much-anticipated surge of COVID-19 pandemic-related litigation has begun. As the pandemic continues to lay siege to the United States economy, claimants’ lawyers and government agencies have begun setting their sights on employers.… Continue Reading
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