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Legal Alerts

  • 6.5.20

    New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy just issued an executive order lifting some of the existing restrictions that were designated to limit person-to-person contact for the food, beverage, and retail sectors. Specifically, the order permits the provision of in-person, outdoor service at areas designated for food and/or beverage consumption and permits brick-and-mortar premises of non-essential retail businesses to reopen, subject to certain conditions. The order will go into effect at 6:00 A.M. on Monday, June 15. What do employers need to know?

  • 6.5.20

    The CDC and the U.S. Department of Labor just released interim guidance for all agriculture employers to provide an action template to protect agriculture workers from COVID-19. Primarily, the guidance addresses exposure risk to agriculture workers, and encourages employers to develop a COVID-19 assessment and control plan to protect themselves and farmworkers, in accordance with the CDC Interim Business Guidance for Businesses and Employees and General Business Frequently Asked Questions.

  • 6.5.20

    Just as the 2020 legislative session wrapped up, the Missouri legislature passed a bill increasing the standards for pleading and making it harder to prove claims for punitive damages – especially in employment cases. S.B. 591 is expected to be signed by Governor Parsons, and, if so, will apply to causes of action filed after August 28, 2020. This new law will be welcome news for employers. What do you need to know about the impending changes?

  • 6.4.20

    After much discussion and debate, Congress just passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which will implement substantial changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law. Among other changes, the bill extends the time that businesses have to spend PPP loan funds and alters the forgiveness rules, including a reduction in the percentage of the loans that must be used for payroll purposes.

  • 6.4.20

    In an exclusive Q&A interview with Wolters Kluwer, Letitia Silas and Kerry Martin, partners in the firm’s Labor Relations practice, address the complexities of labor relations in the American workforce during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 6.3.20

    A nursing home in Georgia has received the first citation issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The citation alleges six nursing home employees were hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 that was contracted while at work and the nursing home failed to report the hospitalizations to OSHA within the statutorily mandated time period. The citation alleges the employees were hospitalized around April 19, but the nursing home did not report the hospitalization to OSHA until May 5. OSHA has proposed a $6,500 fine for the alleged violation and classified the violation as “other than serious.”

  • 6.3.20

    Inevitably, a mine operator will receive a citation or order it disagrees with. The operator may attempt to conference the citation or order, discussing the merits of an enforcement action with the MSHA district. To request a conference, the operator should submit a written request to the district within 10 days of its issuance. However, it is within MSHA’s discretion whether to even conduct a conference.

  • 6.3.20

    After nearly three months of stay-at-home orders and the shutdown of non-essential retail businesses, New Jersey is slowly starting to reopen. Non-essential construction projects resumed, non-essential retail businesses have reopened with curbside pickup options, and Governor Murphy recently announced that non-essential in-person retail, outdoor dining, and daycares and summer camps can reopen as early as June 15, and salons and barbershops can reopen June 22.

  • 6.3.20

    Employers are looking for better ways to monitor whether individuals entering their workplaces have been exposed to or are infected with COVID-19 – and the use of more sophisticated thermal scanning cameras or similar systems that can process many people quickly has emerged as a possible solution. Before implementing such technology in the workplace, however, you should consider the pros and cons of using them and the logistical hurdles required for implementing them.

  • 6.2.20

    Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer just lifted the state’s shelter-in-place order, permitting certain businesses to reopen under a specified timetable and operate subject to specific workplace safety requirements. Meanwhile, a variety of businesses must remain closed for the time being. What do employers need to know about this next step toward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • 6.2.20

    The National Labor Relations Board took the opportunity last week to double down on its recent reversal of the Purple Communications doctrine, holding that T-Mobile USA did not violate federal labor law by implementing a rule barring call center employees from using the company’s email system to discuss union organizing activities. The May 27 decision represents another step away from Board doctrine that had previously upheld the right of workers to utilize an employer’s electronic communications systems to solicit co-workers for organizing purposes during non-working time.

  • 6.1.20

    On the eve of their scheduled implementation date, a federal court judge in Washington, D.C. struck down significant portions of the National Labor Relation’s Board new union representation procedures – handing a significant victory to unions attempting to keep the current “quickie election” rules in place. While the brief written decision handed down late Saturday night provides few details (but promises to be followed by a full opinion), it appears that challenged aspects of the new rule have been set aside for failure to comply with notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements established within the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

  • 6.1.20

    Several former employees of a national restaurant chain filed a class action lawsuit claiming their former restaurant employer violated California’s WARN Act by furloughing workers in March without providing 60 days of notice or 60 days of wages and benefits. Although federal WARN Act cases related to COVID-19 employment actions are still somewhat rare, this case relies not on the federal statute but California’s state version. What do employers need to know about the De La Cruz v. Hometown Buffet case in order to avoid a similar fate?

  • 5.30.20

    Employers across the nation have faced swift and dramatic changes to business operations as states and local municipalities have issued “stay-at-home” orders and imposed other restrictions in the hopes of stymying the spread of COVID-19. One of consequences has been that many employers have transitioned to remote work overnight without the benefit of detailed plans and policies. The shift to remote work, even though crucial in these unprecedented times, has placed additional obligations on some employers who may now be on the hook for teleworking expenses incurred by employees.

  • 5.30.20

    As more businesses begin to reopen, businesses face many difficult questions about requiring employees and customers to wear protective face coverings? However, businesses should not forget that, despite the onset of COVID-19 and drastic measures taken by local, state, and federal governments, the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) still apply to employers and places of public accommodation. What do you need to know about this issue to avoid legal liability?

  • 5.29.20

    As expected, Governor Brian Kemp issued a detailed executive order to begin to re-open businesses throughout the state in the hopes that the worst of the COVID-19 crisis has passed. The order, which begins to take effect on April 27 and calls for staggered reopenings for various businesses through May 13, supersedes any conflicting county or municipal orders. Although the order is detailed, it leaves to employers the responsibility to determine where certain recommendations are “practicable” and the means to satisfy the guidelines. What do you need to know about this order, and what should you do to prepare for the reopening of your business?

  • 5.29.20

    (Public) employers rejoice! In a unanimous decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just ruled that PennDOT did not violate an ex-employee’s free speech rights by firing her over a Facebook rant in which the ex-employee said she “don’t give a flying s*** about those babies and [] will gladly smash into a school bus.” This case should serve as a beacon for Pennsylvania public employers navigating the often-murky waters of employee social media use.

  • 5.29.20

    California was one of the first states to establish a uniform regulatory and licensing regime for medical and adult-use cannabis. A key component of the state law is that an applicant for a cannabis license must enter into a “labor peace agreement” with a union as a condition to licensure. California cannabis employers need to know that not all labor peace agreements are the same. There could be significant lasting impacts to your business if you sign the wrong labor peace agreement. What do you need to know about this area of the law, and what are some considerations to keep in mind as you proceed?

  • 5.29.20

                  As more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis, many states are requiring that cannabis employers enter into a “labor peace agreement” with a union in order to obtain or maintain a license to grow, manufacture, or dispense cannabis products. Several unions have seen this as an opportunity to add union members in a time when membership is in steep decline. But are they good for cannabis employers?

  • 5.28.20

    As businesses across the country begin to face a wave of COVID-19-related workplace litigation, some are learning the hard lesson that some of these claims may also dredge up long-simmering employment conflicts unrelated to the pandemic.

  • 5.28.20

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a flowchart-style decision tool to assist employers in the food service industry reopen during the pandemic. The flowchart addresses what steps restaurants and bars should take to protect customers and employees from the spread of the virus once they reopen. You should consider the following three “benchmarks” contained in the CDC’s restaurant and bars reopening flowchart when evaluating how to reopen your business during the pandemic.

  • 5.28.20

    Effective Friday, May 29, Virginians aged 10 and older must wear cloth face coverings in public, and employees of essential retail businesses must wear face coverings when working in customer-facing areas. Though many questions remain, you should review your current policies and practices to ensure that both employees and clientele can comply with the new requirements. You should also be cognizant of privacy and discrimination considerations before questioning either employees or customers about mask use.

  • 5.28.20

    Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker just signed a law that prevents Massachusetts employers from being charged increased taxes for unemployment benefits claimed by employees separated from employment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law, Senate Bill 2618, also extends the total number of eligible weeks of unemployment from 26 to 30 for any week in which unemployment claims exceed 100,000.

  • 5.27.20

    Questions about employee bonuses, payments made to owner employees and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) authority to audit Paycheck Protection Program loans (PPP) were answered just before the long Memorial Day weekend. Late on Friday evening, May 22, exactly one week after the SBA released its much anticipated PPP Forgiveness Application, the SBA and the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued two interim final rules (IFR) addressing some of the lingering issues with respect to PPP loan forgiveness.

  • 5.26.20

    Perhaps the most challenging aspect of encountering a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 among your employees as you reopen your business is identifying those employees who worked near the infected worker – and thus must also be quarantined. Luckily, there is a simple numerical sequence you can remember that will enable you to follow the CDC contact tracing guidelines for general businesses: 6-15-48.

  • 5.26.20

    If there is one thing operators can depend on during these uncertain times, it is MSHA issuing citations while conducting inspections of your operations. The agency has repeatedly stated it is conducting business as usual – and this means issuing citations with which you may not agree. Remember that you always have the option of conferencing these citations. 

  • 5.26.20

    With employees returning to work and companies reopening their doors to customers, employers are looking for ways to limit liability related to potential COVID-19 cases contracted in the workplace. To do so, many are considering waivers for not only their employees, but also for customers. Such waivers, however, are somewhat limited in their effectiveness and employers should consider the pros and cons before attempting to implement them. You may also want to consider an alternate strategy that may offer you some of the assurances you seek without many of the negatives associated with waivers.

  • 5.26.20

    As more and more businesses plan their re-openings heading into the summer months, many employers are trying to determine how to handle employee requests for leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) based on the unavailability of child care. Specifically, once schools are closed for summer vacation, do employees continue to qualify for paid leave benefits under FFCRA?

  • 5.26.20

    Claiming that her employer prohibited her from wearing a face covering at work despite federal recommendations and local orders that such coverings should be worn by employees, a Texas cook just sued the restaurant that she says took her off the schedule after she objected to the company policy – and scored a victory in the first round of this fast-moving litigation. As the nation gets back to business under COVID-19’s “new normal,” workplace lawsuits stemming from COVID-19-related safety concerns are also part of the new normal. How can your business avoid similar claims from your employees as you open back up?

  • 5.22.20

    We have outlined a series of FAQs that address questions most frequently posed to our Education Practice Group attorneys about permitting employees, students, and others to return to the campus, the safety precautions recommended, and the legality of the various options that may be presented to school. These FAQs discuss back-to-school issues with a focus on school operations. Our Fisher Phillips website contains detailed, comprehensive Post-Pandemic Back to Business FAQs that cover many general business questions not addressed here.

  • 5.22.20

    This week, Governor Ron DeSantis and many of Florida’s largest counties issued orders carefully detailing if and how businesses across the state may re-open. Fisher Phillips has reviewed the relevant orders, which are summarized below.

  • 5.22.20

    The National Labor Relations Board just found that a beverage manufacturer’s rule prohibiting cell phones on the shop floor and work stations did not violate the National Labor Relations Act. The Board’s May 20 decision recognized that this rule would potentially infringe on employees’ ability to make calls or recordings about workplace issues. On balance, however, it held that any such infringement was outweighed by the company’s legitimate business justifications for the policy. The decision is potentially a big win for manufacturers, but only to the extent they can articulate sufficient safety- or business-related justifications for prohibiting personal cell phones in the workplace.

  • 5.22.20

    California recently approved San Diego County’s request to move further into Stage 2 of the State’s Resilience Roadmap. San Diego County restaurants and retail businesses may now open with appropriate modifications to their operations. Pursuant to the May 21, 2020 Public Health Order promulgated by the local Public Health Office, retail businesses need to comply with the County’s Safe Reopening Plan along with their industry’s guidance and checklist. (Shopping centers have their own industry guidance and checklist.) Retail businesses which have been open for pick-up and delivery will need to update their Safe Reopening Plan if they intend to permit customers into their stores.

  • 5.20.20

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration just issued new guidance for enforcing its COVID-19 recordkeeping requirements, soon requiring covered employers to make an increased effort to determine whether they need to record and report coronavirus cases in the workplace. This new standard, which will become effective on May 26, reverses course from an agency policy released a few weeks ago that had given OSHA enforcement discretion when it came to the recordkeeping obligations for employers not in the healthcare, correction center, and emergency responder industries. What do employers need to know about this new standard?

  • 5.20.20

    Just as the pandemic arrived in the United States at the end of February, Fisher Phillips attorneys were educating a select group of inside counsel about the dangers of catastrophic jury and arbitration awards and providing practical suggestions on how best to prevent such situations. Now that plaintiffs’ attorneys are beginning to unleash COVID-19 employment litigation on businesses across the country, the lessons taught at the Fisher Phillips Inside Counsel Conference 2020 take on a newfound significance.

  • 5.19.20

    The National Labor Relations Board usually requires employers to post on their premises notices of findings made against it by the Board within 14 days. However, the NLRB has temporarily modified this standard rule in order to account for the changing environment created by COVID-19. Specifically, the Board recently decided that, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, employers whose facilities are currently closed but have been ordered to post a notice of violations of federal labor law must wait to do so until their offices reopen.

  • 5.19.20

    Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an Executive Order to consolidate and update in-person workplace safety requirements that were previously provided within the shelter-in-place order, while also outlining new guidance on how restaurants, bars, research laboratories, and offices will be able to operate in areas of the state safe enough for them to operate. To be clear, this order did not reopen all Michigan restaurants, bars, retail stores, and offices.

  • 5.19.20

    The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) recently released proposed amendments to the Commonwealth’s Paid Family and Medical Leave regulations, marking yet another proposed change to the state’s nascent paid leave program, expected to begin in January 2021. According to DFML, the regulations are intended to clarify procedures, practices, and policies in the administrative and enforcement of the leave law. Though hearings have yet to be scheduled, they will likely be held via video conference due to social distancing requirements and the current state of emergency. Employers should review closely as any changes are likely to impact them and their employees.

  • 5.19.20

    Suffolk County, New York will soon follow other state and local governments that have enacted “ban the box” legislation focusing on an applicant’s qualifications for a position prior to considering the applicant’s possible conviction history. The Suffolk County legislature recently passed legislation restricting employers from asking applicants about their criminal histories in job applications, effective August 25, 2020. 

  • 5.18.20

    Washington Governor Inslee just issued a restaurant/tavern guidance to help your business prepare for Phase II of his progressive, four-phase plan to reopen the state. These new guidelines allow restaurants to re-open for dine-in service provided they comply with the guidelines once the governor gives the go ahead for Phase II, currently anticipated for the beginning of June. No restaurants may operate until they can meet and maintain all requirements. What do you need to know about these requirements, each designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, along with key recommendations for dealing with your returning workforce?

  • 5.18.20

    Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker just announced the details of a four-phase plan that will slowly allow Bay State employers to reopen over the next 12 weeks. Under today’s order, Phase 1 will permit houses of worship, construction, and manufacturing facilities to reopen on May 18 — with strict industry-specific safety standards in place. On May 25, office space (June 1 in Boston), personal services such as hair salons, pet grooming, carwashes, and curbside retail pickup will begin.

  • 5.18.20

    The Small Business Administration finally released its much anticipated forgiveness application for borrowers who received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. It has been nearly two months since the program was signed into law and, since that time, lenders and borrowers alike have been anxiously awaiting for the PPP merry-go-round to stop and for the Treasury Department or the SBA to provide clear direction to achieve loan forgiveness. And while some questions regarding forgiveness remain, the 11-page forgiveness application provides favorable guidance to borrowers to maximize their PPP loan forgiveness.

  • 5.15.20

    Governor Andy Beshear recently announced a tentative schedule for re-opening specific Kentucky businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. Certain businesses that encourage large gatherings, like bars, will remain closed, but the governor recently announced a timeline for re-opening restaurants would be forthcoming. What do employers need to know about this plan?

  • 5.15.20

    New York, the state hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, has released plans to guide the state’s reopening process that will permit certain lower-risk businesses to begin phased reopenings on a regional basis as soon as May 15. Dubbed “New York Forward,” the reopening plan focuses on getting people back to work and easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread of the coronavirus or overwhelming the hospital system.

  • 5.15.20

    According to Kentucky Governor Beshear’s Health at Work Phased plan, restaurants can reopen on May 22, 2020 at 33% capacity. On May 14, 2020, Governor Beshear issued interim Requirements for Restaurants outlining the additional requirements that restaurants in Kentucky need to meet to reopen and remain open. These restaurant-specific requirements touch on additional steps for social distancing, cleaning, disinfecting and personal protective equipment (PPE). These requirements were issued with the acknowledgment that they will likely change after receiving additional input from the restaurant industry. Nevertheless, restauranteurs would be wise to start making compliance preparations now.

  • 5.15.20

    In response to the realization that many employees will have unanticipated medical and childcare challenges due to COVID-19, the IRS just provided employers with a number of optional amendments that can be made to Section 125 cafeteria plans and related health plans and flexible spending arrangements (FSAs). The agency guidance released on May 12 is significant as it allows you the option to let employees revoke, add, or change 2020 coverage elections now, instead of waiting until open enrollment, and without a qualifying status change. 

  • 5.15.20

    Governor Brown recently announced that Oregon’s businesses will be reopening in three phases. The first phase began on May 15 for counties that have met certain public health prerequisites, including a declining prevalence of COVID-19, contact tracing, availability of isolation facilities, and PPE for first responders (described in more detail here).

  • 5.14.20

    One long week after the U.S. Treasury announced that it was extending the Paycheck Protection Program Loan “safe harbor” deadline to May 14, the U.S. Treasury announced this morning that borrowers whose loan amount (combined with the loan amount of any affiliates) is less than $2 million is automatically deemed to have made the certification in good faith. There’s also good news for borrowers whose loan amounts are in excess of $2 million. The announcement makes clear that such borrowers that do not return PPP loan funds by May 14 may still have an adequate basis for making the required good-faith certification.

  • 5.14.20

    New York just issued industry specific guidance for businesses that are preparing to reopen. As previously reported, the state hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic is preparing to begin phased business reopenings on a regional basis. Come May 15, regions in the state that hit certain metrics that allow for reopening can begin Phase 1 of the New York Forward reopening plan.

  • 5.14.20

    New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy just issued an executive order lifting some of the existing restrictions that were designated to limit person-to-person contact for the retail and construction sectors. Specifically, the order permits all non-essential construction projects to resume and non-essential retail businesses to reopen for curbside pickup, subject to certain conditions. The order – which also immediately permits certain car gatherings under strict rules – will go into effect at 6:00 A.M. on Monday, May 18. What do employers need to know?

  • 5.13.20

    Beginning on May 8, California entered a new phase in response to the COVID-19 crisis: gradually starting to reopen the economy for specified businesses that were not designated as essential. In Early Stage 2 of the state’s Resilience Roadmap, each county is authorized to determine the details of the restrictions for the operation of the permitted retail, manufacturing, warehouse and logistics companies. On May 5, San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors adopted the Reopen San Diego Business Safety Framework and, over the course of the last several days, the local Public Health Office promulgated an updated Public Health Order to guide a Safe Reopening Plan.

  • 5.13.20

    As businesses gradually begin to ramp up and bring employees back to work, you may soon need to figure out what to do when employees who are receiving unemployment benefits refuse to return to work. After all, they may be reluctant or disincentivized to return to the job, especially if they can turn down your offer and still collect robust unemployment benefits.

  • 5.13.20

    Following his announcement that the state could gradually begin reopening during the first stages of the plan, Governor Newsom issued updated guidance yesterday that includes allowing certain businesses, such as dine-in restaurants, to re-open in counties with state approval. Specifically, the California Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA issued guidance for the dine-in restaurant industry to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers.

  • 5.12.20

    Following his announcement that the state could begin gradually reopening, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently released the first stages of the plan. Notably, the California Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA issued industry guidance for hotels and lodging to ensure a safer environment for workers during the reopening stages. As we enter Phase 2 of the governor’s plan, hotel and lodging employers should familiarize themselves with these guidelines whether you have remained open in a limited capacity or are now gradually beginning to reopen.

  • 5.12.20

    Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker just announced his administration’s plan to reopen the Commonwealth’s economy amidst the current COVID19 pandemic. The new four-phase plan is a welcome development for Bay State employers, many of which have been shuttered since Governor Baker’s March 23 shutdown order. Assuming the downward trend in COVID-19 infections continues and testing continues to ramp upwards, the Governor expects to begin implementation by May 18.

  • 5.11.20

    While there had been some doubt whether Kentucky’s various COVID-19 reopening “requirements” and “guidelines” had the force of law, the state largely removed that doubt today through an Order confirming that these releases are mandatory.

  • 5.11.20

    New York City is making it easier for employees to qualify for COVID-19-related sick leave. The Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a blanket order of isolation for all people who work or reside in New York City who meet the qualifications for mandatory isolation orders related to COVID-19. This Order will allow these individuals to qualify immediately under New York’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave

  • 5.11.20

    Thanks to new directives from state health officials, life sciences employers in California will need to immediately create and implement a worksite specific plan to address transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently issued industry-specific guidance and a general checklist for life science employers as they continue to operate in the midst of a pandemic requiring such a plan and providing additional directives.

  • 5.8.20

    Resuming business operations as the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic decreases and governments in Kentucky and Indiana ease restrictions will involve more than unlocking your front door and turning the lights on. You must assess your operational needs and abilities in the context of your supply chain’s capabilities, customers’ expectations, existing and emerging laws and regulations, and a wide variety of employment issues. Even if Kentucky and Indiana governments have not yet lifted restrictions on your business, now is the time to get your re-opening plan in order. Fisher Phillips, the same workplace law firm that helped businesses navigate the COVID-19 crisis, is here to help employers make plans for getting back to business.  

  • 5.8.20

    The restaurant industry has been severely impacted by state shutdown orders. As states start reopening businesses, it is vital to know the applicable rules that apply to your location or locations. Whether you operate a single location or are a multi-unit operator, compliance will include assessing business operations, bringing employees back to work, and ensuring a safe operation for customers and employees. In an effort to assist the restaurant industry, our Hospitality Practice Group has prepared a comprehensive state-by-state chart that addresses your most commonly asked questions.

  • 5.8.20

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the workforce, shuttering businesses, prompting mass layoffs, and compelling speedy transitions to remote work. If your company has rushed to implement a temporary remote work practice to accommodate the sudden need for social distancing, or if you have seen the benefits of telework and now choose to maintain what was initially intended as a temporary remote work plan, this article will provide you guidance on the long-term maintenance of remote work plans.

  • 5.7.20

    Governor Tate Reeves enacted Executive Order #1477, the Safer-At-Home Order, effective in Mississippi until May 11, 2020. This order still encourages individuals to stay at home unless engaged in essential activities or essential travel, but will allow some businesses to begin to open up. What do employers need to know about the upcoming change?

  • 5.7.20

    North Carolina employers let out a collective sigh of relief yesterday – not just because Phase 1 of the state’s reopening will begin on May 8, but also because essential businesses will receive a form of limited business immunity that could shield them from certain COVD-19-related claims. As part of North Carolina's COVID-19 Recovery Act signed into law on May 4, certain businesses will be protected against potential civil claims from customers and employees for injuries or death purportedly attributable to COVID-19. Which begs the questions: Is our businesses covered? And what kind of protection will we receive?

  • 5.7.20

    North Carolina’s Stay at Home order expires at 5:00 p.m. on May 8, paving the way for North Carolinians to begin Phase 1 of its Three-Phase Reopening Plan. This phase begins to relax business restrictions, but will require retail businesses to implement protective measures and safeguards, including daily screening through employee questionnaires, limiting capacity, and facilitating social distancing. Phase 1 also continues restrictions imposed on certain businesses while provided recommendations for all businesses – so you should familiarize yourself with the plan before you develop your own reopening strategy.

  • 5.7.20

    California Governor Gavin Newsom just enacted sweeping changes to the state’s workers’ compensation standards, providing that a broad swath of California workers who contract COVID-19 are presumed to have a workplace injury covered by the workers’ compensation system. While as many as eight other states have recently established rebuttable presumptions that certain workers with COVID-19 have valid workers’ compensation claims unless the employer can prove the employee contracted the virus outside of work, California took a giant step further.

  • 5.7.20

    COVID-19 has had the unprecedented impact of shuttering many businesses throughout the country and leading to record-high unemployment. For some businesses whose operations were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, meeting their financial obligations – including payroll – has been a struggle. While the federal CARES Act was enacted to aid employers in this regard, it does not necessarily provide the immediate funds that some employers need to meet their payroll obligations for work performed prior to COVID-19 shutdowns.

  • 5.7.20

    Employers across the country got a bit of good news today as the federal government announced that the EEO-1 reporting process would be delayed by a year, with the next reporting deadline pushed to March 2021. You are now temporarily spared from having to submit the annual EEO-1 report which requires businesses to submit employment data related to race, ethnicity, gender, and job category. Specifically, your 2019 EEO-1 reports, which we had expected to be due by March 31, 2020 (but which employers could not submit because the portal was not available) are now officially postponed. What do you need to know about this welcome development?

  • 5.7.20

    Following up on his announcement that the state has made sufficient progress to begin the process of gradually reopening workplaces which were not designated as essential, California Governor Gavin Newsom just released the first stages of the plan that will permit certain lower-risk businesses to begin the careful climb back to work.

  • 5.6.20

    A terminated Kroger Co. distribution center worker has just sued the grocery store giant over its handling of absences for what she alleges were COVID-19 symptoms. The most interesting aspect of this claim is that the ex-employee alleges that her termination for violating the company’s attendance policies violates both the Family and Medical Leave Act as well as the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, even though Kroger has over 500 employees and is not covered by the FFCRA.

  • 5.6.20

    Tennessee has begun the long, slow process of reopening for business, and employers will need to pay attention to the requirements put into place by the state in order to ensure compliance. An order handed down by Governor Lee that took effect on April 29 will allow certain workers in 89 of the state’s 95 counties to return to work.

  • 5.6.20

    It took less than a month for the plaintiffs’ bar to seize upon what is likely to be the first of many COVID-19-related class action lawsuits alleging violations of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, also known as the WARN Act. The first such lawsuit, filed against a popular restaurant chain in Florida, highlights several important lessons for employers who are considering or have recently implemented layoffs due to government shut-down orders and a decline in business. You need to pay particular attention to this expected trend and prepare ahead of time to avoid facing a potentially costly claim. 

  • 5.6.20

    Washington Governor Inslee just issued a proclamation to kick off the four-phase plan to reopen the state, titled Safe Start Washington: A Phased Approach to Recovery. Each detailed phase of the plan allows additional industries to resume operations subject to limitations designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. What do employers need to know about this phased plan?

  • 5.6.20

    The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce recently announced two important updates relating to unemployment insurance benefits that all employers will want to familiarize themselves with. First, the agency announced that you will be required to provide a notification to employees who have been separated from employment. Second, it has provided instructions for dealing with employees who refuse an offer to return to work.

  • 5.6.20

    New York businesses who employ home healthcare workers or employees covered by the state prevailing wage laws must prepare to comply with changes to the state’s wage notice law. As part of the state budget, lawmakers amended the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) to impose new requirements regarding the wage notices and paystubs that these employers must provide to their employees. Impacted businesses must be aware of the changes and take steps to comply with new obligations. 

  • 5.5.20

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued interim guidance to its area offices on how to handle COVID-19 related complaints, indicating that employers in “high risk” industries such as hospitals and nursing care facilities are directly in the agency’s crosshairs. What do healthcare employers need to know about this increased scrutiny and what can you do to stay on the right side of the law?

  • 5.5.20

    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) just provided safety tips and best practices for restaurants and other food and beverage businesses, limited by government orders to curbside and takeout service.

  • 5.4.20

    Employers may be required to take the temperatures of employees when businesses begin to reopen in the coming days and weeks following the expiration of many states’ stay-at-home orders. Screening for fevers is a task never previously undertaken by many companies. Given that many states will require or highly recommend this practice, now is the time for to consider what precautions and procedures to undertake to implement this safety measure.

  • 5.4.20

    The Health Officer for the County of Sacramento just extended the County’s stay-at-home order through May 22, 2020. The order was set to expire on May 1, but county officials believe that individuals and businesses need to continue social distancing practices and reduce person-to-person contact in order to further slow the transmission of COVID-19. What do employers need to know about the extended stay-at-home order and the changes to the prior order?

  • 5.4.20

    Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti just signed two companion ordinances involving worker retention and right-of-recall that will go into effect on June 14, 2020. The below is intended to help employers determine if — and to what extent — these ordinances impact your business operations. 

  • 5.3.20

    Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-70, which expanded the industries that may perform in-person work under the state’s shelter-in-place order that is slated to end on May 15, 2020. The new order’s modifications impact only the new industries discussed below and take effect on May 7. Which industry employers can now perform in-person work and what restrictions must they abide by?

  • 5.2.20

    Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb just announced his plan to gradually reopen the state as part of a five-step plan, dubbed “Back-On-Track.” Indiana will follow four guiding principles to determine how various sectors of the economy should reopen moving forward: (1) the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days; (2) Indiana retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators; (3) Indiana can test all residents who are COVID-19 symptomatic; and (4) the ability to conduct contact tracing.

  • 5.2.20

    A group of employees concerned about their workplace safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic just filed a legal action against their employer seeking a court order that would require the company to comply with federal safety guidelines. If you operate an essential business or are already starting to contemplate reopening your doors and ramping up activity, you will want to pay particular attention to this lawsuit and the standards for being subject to a potential injunction. Being proactive and developing a thorough workplace safety plan now will help you avoid legal troubles down the road.

  • 5.1.20

    Like many counties around the state, San Diego County’s Public Health Officer has promulgated a series of orders and emergency regulations to tackle the deepening COVID-19 crisis. While the Public Health Order tackles more than just employment-related topics, it does impose social distancing and sanitation requirements on essential businesses which are open to the public. 

  • 5.1.20

    Though the statewide Safer at Home Order is set to expire on April 30, some counties in Tennessee – including Davidson County – have extended their Safer-at-Home Orders while instituting reopening strategies. As one of the counties excluded from Governor Bill Lee’s plan to reopen businesses upon expiration of Tennessee’s order, Davidson County extended its Safer-at-Home Order to May 1 and released a four-phase Roadmap for Reopening Nashville.

  • 4.30.20

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis just extended his Safer At Home Order for the State of Florida but announced his plan to gradually re-open the state pursuant to a new Order that will go into effect just after midnight (at 12:01 am) on the morning of May 4, 2020. The new Order initiates the first of three phrases to re-open every county in Florida except for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Additionally, local governments in Florida will also be able to have more restrictive policies in place if they desire. What do Florida employers need to know?

  • 4.30.20

    Ohio Governor Mike DeWine just announced a second change to the state’s guidance for employers regarding the use of face coverings in the workplace, which affects both employees and customers. As of the time of this alert, the latest guidance issued on Wednesday, April 29 states face coverings are required for employees, subject to the exceptions noted below, but only recommended for customers. Lt. Governor Husted stated during a press briefing that customers “should, but are not required,” to wear face coverings.

  • 4.30.20

    Six Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley officially announced an extension of the regional COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Orders through May 31, 2020. The new Orders ease operating restrictions, allowing construction activities and businesses that operate primarily outdoors to resume operations with some restrictions. This kind of movement is giving businesses some hope that they may soon begin to open.

  • 4.30.20

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just announced plans to issue its first formal opinion letter in over 30 years, confirming that employers can use the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for hiring individuals with disabilities, veterans, and other underrepresented workers without violating federal anti-discrimination laws. The agency said it would like to see more employers take advantage of what it described as the “highly underutilized” tax credit. In a major move to support that objective, the EEOC voted 2-1 on April 29 to issue an opinion letter formalizing its view that the laws it enforces do not prevent the use of the credit. What do employers need to know about this development?

  • 4.29.20

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided additional guidance for employers restarting and ramping up their businesses. The EEOC first published guidance for employers in March clarifying employer rights and obligations during a pandemic. The updated guidance, “What You Should Know About the ADA, The Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19,” addresses likely restart issues relating to testing, confidentiality of medical information, reasonable accommodations, and pandemic-related harassment.

  • 4.28.20

    Many Colorado employers will need to immediately provide paid sick leave to certain workers as a response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. As part of Governor Jared Polis’s March 10 State of Disaster Emergency declaration, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment was instructed to issue emergency regulations requiring paid and unpaid sick leave for certain industries. Yesterday, the agency released an emergency rule governing paid sick leave for certain industries. The rule temporarily requires employers in these industries to provide four days of paid sick leave to employees with flu-like symptoms who are being tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

  • 4.28.20

    Governor Charlie Baker just issued COVID-19 Order No. 13, an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public beginning March 24 at noon through April 7 at noon. Businesses that provide essential goods and services, designated as “COVID-19 Essential Services,” are excluded from today’s order and will be allowed to remain open.

  • 4.28.20

    In the latest effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 22 directing Tennesseans to stay home unless engaging in essential activities and services. The Order is not a shelter-in-place mandate, but instead an order strongly urging Tennesseans to stay at home when possible. The Order becomes effective at 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2020, and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 14.

  • 4.28.20

    Ohio Governor Mike DeWine just unveiled the first phase of a plan to gradually reopen Ohio businesses. It will not be business as usual, however, and the workplace will look vastly different for the foreseeable future. What do Ohio employers need to know about the lifting of restrictions, and what should you do to prepare for the reopening of your business?

  • 4.28.20

    Two federal agencies just released guidance for the meat and poultry packing industry to address the unique challenges it faces in light of COVID-19. The joint release from the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes that distinctive factors exist in meat and poultry processing workplaces that affect workers’ risk for exposure to COVID-19, including their proximity to one another for extended periods of time.

  • 4.28.20

    The New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) recently announced the formation of a COVID-19 Response Team to handle allegations of harassment and discrimination related to COVID-19. Although the COVID-19 Response Team will focus on all harassment and discrimination relating to COVID-19, consistent with media reports of an uptick in Asian-American harassment and discrimination, the team will clearly focus on Asian American discrimination. 

  • 4.28.20

    Governor Jon Bel Edwards just extended Louisiana’s statewide stay-at-home order through May 15 while also providing a lifeline to some businesses that can immediately start the slow process of reopening. The order was set to expire on April 30, but Governor Edwards believes the state does not meet the criteria set forth by the federal government to fully begin to re-open. What do employers need to know about the stay-at-home order that remains in effect and this latest development?

  • 4.28.20

    Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that construction industry businesses in the state will be permitted to resume operations on May 1, 2020 after having been shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, upon reopening, all construction businesses – including those previously permitted to continue operations because they were supporting life-sustaining businesses or activities – must abide by certain guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. This alert details what those in the construction industry need to know to reopen and continue or begin projects.

  • 4.28.20

    New York is reverting to its pre-2019 voting leave law, as employers will now only need to provide their workers with two hours of paid voting time rather than three. This change is effectively immediately, so New York employers will need to adjust their policies and practices accordingly. 

  • 4.28.20

    Following rapid depletion of funds available to small businesses under the CARES Act and subsequent Congressional action to refill the well, the Treasury Department today vowed to conduct “full audits” of companies receiving Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans of more than $2 million. Companies, or those who certified the loan applications, may face criminal liability for false certifications.

  • 4.28.20

    The Colorado Department of Public Health issued Public Health Order 20-28 to govern the next phase of Colorado’s reopening, labeled “Safer at Home.” Every business in Colorado planning to reopen over the next few weeks in some capacity should become familiar with the order and the requirements for its business.

  • 4.28.20

    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors just unanimously approved a Supplemental Paid Sick Leave designed to fill in the gaps between the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act and Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-51-20 providing supplemental paid sick leave to food sector workers. Notably, this order is retroactive and an employer’s obligation to provide supplemental paid sick leave began March 31, 2020. The basic provisions are highlighted below.

  • 4.28.20

    Mayor Breed just announced a plan to allow employees in San Francisco to now use funds their employers have contributed in compliance with San Francisco’s Health Care Security Ordinance for necessary expenses such as food, rent, and utilities, in addition to eligible health care expenses.

  • 4.27.20

    Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves recently issued Executive Order No. 1466 requiring all residents of the state to remain in their homes until April 20, 2020. The Order, which went into effect at 5:00 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 3, also requires the closure of all “non-essential” businesses for at least the next two weeks. According to the Order, all Mississippians must stay at home unless performing an “essential activity,” and all but “essential” businesses must close. What is “essential” and what does the Order mean for your business?

  • 4.27.20

    Across the country, pockets of healthcare workers are protesting working conditions that they claim are unsafe and expose them to greater risk of contracting COVID-19 . These protests have occurred in the form of work stoppages, demands for greater workplace protections, and attempts to publicly shame certain healthcare employers via news media and social media. 

  • 4.27.20

    As the country begins to reopen, many mine operators are contemplating next steps for their own operations. One certainty is that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will continue to enforce the provisions of the Mine Act and relevant regulatory requirements. On its most recent stakeholder call, MSHA very briefly mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledged there is no MSHA specific guidance forthcoming from the agency, and moved right into a discussion of the next target for rulemaking: Safety Improvement Technologies for Mobile Equipment at Surface Mines, and for Belt Conveyors at Surface and Underground Mines. 

  • 4.27.20

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced employers to scramble to find novel responses to new workplace challenges, and one such innovation has been the recent rise in voluntary attendance policies. Although these policies often improve employee morale and ease administrative burdens, they run the risk of creating significant problems if administered improperly. For example, they could alter the at-will employment relationship and limit your ability to conduct equitable and fair layoffs should economic conditions further deteriorate.

  • 4.26.20

    As part of Denver’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment, at the direction of Mayor Michael Hancock, issued an order on March 23 requiring “all individuals anywhere in the City and County of Denver” to “stay at their place of residence.” The Order permits individuals to leave their residence only if necessary for: essential activities; healthcare operations; essential infrastructure; essential government functions; essential business; minimum basic operations; and essential travel. 

  • 4.25.20

    Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-59, which extends the state’s shelter-in-place order until May 15, 2020 while also beginning to relax a number of restrictions on businesses. The new order continues to only allow Michigan employers to require in-person work from employees who qualify as either “critical infrastructure workers” (CIWs) or workers necessary to “conduct minimum basic operations” (MBOWs) – but now also permits some “resumed activity” workers (RAWs).

  • 4.25.20

    Governor Whitmer recently expanded unemployment benefits, most notably for access to the Work-Share Program, by issuing Executive Order 2020-57. The Work Share Program allows Michigan employers to reduce employee hours within a set unit of employees during tough times, but allows the affected employees to collect partial unemployment benefits at the same time.

  • 4.24.20

    Colorado Governor Jared Polis just issued a new executive order: “Ordering Workers in Critical Businesses and Critical Government Functions to Wear Non-Medical Face Coverings.”

  • 4.24.20

    Although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently relaxed I-9 requirements for employers operating remotely as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, employers are still left with some questions on how to meet their obligations in this uncertain time. Our Global Immigration Practice Group has assembled the most common questions and provided best practices here.

  • 4.24.20

    With North Carolina’s Stay at Home order extended through May 8, 2020, leaders focus on testing, tracing, and trends to determine when to re-open the state’s economy. Recognizing that North Carolinians can’t stay home forever, the state’s governor announced a three-phase plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

  • 4.24.20

    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many employers now operating remotely to conduct meetings via video conference – which has created a whole new set of various privacy and cybersecurity concerns. While these remote work tools have facilitated a more personal connection and interactive experience, their use is fraught with privacy concerns you may never have before considered. If your organization is weighing its options or unaware of the risks these services may create, this article provides a 10-point plan to protect your personal and confidential information and ensure you remain compliant with various federal and state privacy laws.  

  • 4.24.20

    The Massachusetts legislature is considering expanding the state’s generous paid sick leave statute to add up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave for use in times of a declared state of emergency or disaster. While inspired by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the bill would make these benefits permanent, and the benefits would be available during any future state of emergency or disaster. If passed, the statute would take effect immediately, include a private right of action, and subject employers to mandatory triple damages — even for good faith or technical mistakes. What do you need to know about this proposal?

  • 4.23.20

    Governor Cuomo recently issued an Executive Order directing essential businesses to provide face coverings to their employees when in direct contact with customers or members of the public, at the expense of the employer. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) just issued guidance for such essential businesses to comply with the order. What do New York employers need to know?

  • 4.23.20

    In a measure responding to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, President Trump has issued a proclamation temporarily suspending the entry of immigrant-visa applicants for 60 days. Although the initial announcement preceding the actual order hinted at a broad-based immigration ban, this action only applies to those foreign nationals who are applying for permanent residence abroad. What do employers need to know about this new development?

  • 4.23.20

    Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland recently issued an update to the March 23 Safer at Home Executive Order. While most Tennessee counties plan for businesses to begin reopening on May 1, Memphis will remain under its Safer-at-Home Order until at least May 5. However, a few businesses will be allowed to reopen under certain conditions and some essential business currently operating within the city will be required to follow new safety guidelines.

  • 4.23.20

    The San Francisco Board of Supervisors just passed the Grocery Store, Drug Store, Restaurant, and On-Demand Delivery Services Employee Protections ordinance, requiring San Francisco employers to provide additional health and scheduling protections to employees during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This Ordinance will go into effect once signed by Mayor Breed. What do employers need to know about these new obligations?

  • 4.23.20

    The Treasury Department just issued a warning to “all borrowers” scooping up funds from the pool of billions of dollars of potentially forgivable loan money from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – and provided them with an escape hatch if they now realize they shouldn’t have dipped into the well.

  • 4.22.20

    Less than a week after the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the $350 billion in small business loan funds had been exhausted, the Senate passed a $484 billion spending bill yesterday which adds an additional $300 billion to the much strained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The emergency spending bill, titled the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, is expected to pass the House tomorrow, April 23, closely followed by President Trump’s signature.

  • 4.21.20

    A California state court just created a controversy for those employers in the state that provide unlimited vacation policies for their exempt workers, holding that in some such instances you may need to pay out vacation time upon separation. While, contrary to common belief, you are not legally required to provide paid or unpaid vacation to California workers, you should beware of the specific and often complex California laws concerning vacation benefits if you do provide paid vacation.

  • 4.20.20

    A recently released advice memorandum from the National Labor Relations Board’s Division of Advice found unlawful a union’s attempt to restrict individuals from resigning their union membership. In a July 2019 memorandum, released by the Board on April 14, the Division of Advice found that the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) violated the National Labor Relations Act when it prohibited employees who authorized automatic dues deduction from resigning from union membership during the life of the agreement.

  • 4.20.20

    A recent decision by a New Jersey federal court highlights the importance of thoroughly investigating allegations of suspected Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) misuse before taking action against an employee. The decision contains several important takeaways that employers in all jurisdictions can implement to ensure that reports of suspected FMLA misuse are fairly and appropriately addressed.

  • 4.20.20

    Businesses will soon reopen, presenting employers with new challenges as part of the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. With no known vaccine or treatment currently available for the novel coronavirus, reopened employers will likely experience confirmed cases of the illness in their workplace. Now is the time to develop plans to address this inevitable situation.

  • 4.20.20

    Governor Brian Kemp just issued another executive order that reopens most businesses specifically closed under the statewide April 2 order. What do employers need to know about this order, and what should you do to prepare for the reopening of your business?

  • 4.20.20

    San Francisco has ordered individuals to wear face coverings when they are shopping, taking transit, getting healthcare, or working in a job that interacts with the public. This rule became effective on April 17, 2020, but it will not be enforced until 8:00AM on April 22, 2020. Other Bay Area Counties are following suit. Many employers are now faced with a crucial question: who should pay for these mandatory face coverings?

  • 4.20.20

    The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) just released guidance to assist employers in making decisions regarding reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides continuing to follow the recommendations issued by state and local health departments when determining the most appropriate actions to take, you should pay particular attention to these five steps.

  • 4.20.20

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a series of executive orders on April 17 aimed at beginning the process of reopening the state’s businesses. In three orders, Governor Abbott loosened certain business restrictions contained in his original stay-at-home order, closed schools for the remainder of the academic school year, and created a task force of public, private and medical leaders to advise him on how to safely and strategically reopen the state. What do employers need to know about these orders?

  • 4.20.20

    Just a little more than six weeks ago, both political and business leaders in our country were looking for options to help employers and employees deal with the dramatic impact the COVID-19 pandemic was having and would have on business operations and the ability of people to earn a living. The passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the paid leave provisions it establishes is a major part of the programs to help those impacted by this world-wide issue. Now, it appears the other shoe is starting to drop.

  • 4.20.20

    As the nation’s political leaders discuss the easing of the various shelter-in-place orders in an effort to re-start the economy, businesses have begun making their own re-start plans – and they often include bonus programs intended to incentivize good employee attendance. Because one of the key ingredients to resuming “business as usual” is an adequately staffed workforce, many employers are developing creative solutions to stabilize and reinvigorate their labor pool. This is especially true given the concern that their ability to re-start will be hampered by employee absences due to COVID-19 health concerns, generous unemployment benefits, and new paid sick leave laws. But what do you need to know about the unintended wage and hour law implications of such a move?

  • 4.20.20

    Amid many unanswered questions and high levels of uncertainty, the Minnesota Department of Labor published guidance clarifying certain worker protections and benefits relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance answers questions pertaining to sick leave, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), unemployment insurance benefits, possible exposure, workers’ compensation, pay, and workplace safety and health.

  • 4.17.20

    California Governor Gavin Newsom just signed into law Executive Order N-51-20 to provide two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to certain food supply chain workers, provided they are subject to specified qualifying reasons. According to the governor, this Executive Order aims to “close the gap” left by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act that mandates paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 employees.

  • 4.17.20

    Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee just issued temporary Proclamation 20-46 that requires employers to provide high-risk workers an alternative work assignment if requested to prevent exposure to COVID-19. If one is not feasible, employees have the discretion to use employer-granted accrued leave or unemployment benefits in any sequence. Employers are also prohibited from permanently replacing high-risk employees if they opt for leave or unemployment. The Proclamation expires June 12, 2020, unless extended.

  • 4.17.20

    In a blow to the state’s nascent recreational marijuana industry, a Massachusetts Superior Court Justice denied an emergency challenge to Governor Charlie Baker’s designation of recreational marijuana dispensaries as non-essential and therefore subject to his shut-down orders.

  • 4.17.20

    New Jersey expanded its Family Leave Act effective immediately in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to include leave to provide care to a family member made necessary by an epidemic of a communicable disease, a known or suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or efforts to prevent spread of a communicable disease.

  • 4.17.20

    Many businesses have likely had one or more employees who serve in the National Guard or Reserves activated to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This often happens in times of emergencies; citizen-soldiers are activated to help respond. With regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need is so great that the U.S. Army is asking retired soldiers with a health care MOS (military occupational specialty) to return to active service to help with the COVID-19 fight. 

  • 4.17.20

    As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the economy, many employers are making the difficult decision to reduce a portion of their workforce – whether temporarily (via furlough) or permanently (via layoff) – to keep their business afloat. As if there weren’t enough balls in the air already, employers conducting a COVID-19-related workplace reduction must also remember to ensure that their employee-selection decisions are based on legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons. Because if their reductions ended up disproportionately impacting a gender, race, or protected age demographic – even if unintentionally – a disparate impact class action lawsuit could follow once the COVID-19 dust settles. This is where an adverse impact analysis comes in.

  • 4.16.20

    San Francisco and San Jose have joined the growing list of local California jurisdictions to adopt COVID-19-specific paid sick leave measures impacting employer and employees who operate in the local areas. In general, these ordinances do not amend existing law. Rather, they supplement paid leave already offered under federal law and other local ordinances. 

  • 4.16.20

    The Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) just signed an Order requiring hefty public health and safety measures for non-healthcare provider businesses permitted to maintain in-person operations. The April 15 Order took effect immediately and will be enforceable as of 8:00 p.m. on April 19, 2020.

  • 4.16.20

    As most North Carolina employers know, Governor Cooper previously issued an Executive Order relaxing certain unemployment eligibility requirements for employees adversely affected by COVID-19 and waiving charges to employer accounts. Implementing the changes announced by Governor Cooper, the North Carolina Division of Employment Security recently issued emergency rules that went into effect on April 14, 2020. The emergency rules impose a new “surprise” requirement on employers – which will require you to revise your standard policies and practices.

  • 4.16.20

    Thanks to a new bill just signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey employers can breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to their workplace reduction obligations. The Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act – otherwise known as the New Jersey WARN Act – was just amended to exclude COVID-19-related layoffs and postpone the effective date of previous amendments that were set to take effect on July 19, 2020.

  • 4.16.20

    A federal court recently held that New Jersey’s Wage Payment Law (NJWPL) does not extend to employees working outside the state, even if the employer is headquartered there. The April 3 decision in Ortiz v. Goya Foods, Inc. from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey is welcome news for those New Jersey-based businesses with multistate operations or those with employees who perform work outside of state lines.

  • 4.15.20

    Both New York and the federal government passed laws providing leave for employees impacted by COVID-19, leaving employers in New York grappling to understand how the two laws intersect. New York employers are required to comply with both the New York Emergency Paid Sick Leave Law (“NY EPSL”) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

  • 4.14.20

    Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer just extended the state’s shelter-in-place order until the end of April – and created additional obligations for businesses operating during this turbulent time. The new order continues to only allow Michigan employers to require in-person work from employees who qualify as either “critical infrastructure workers” (CIWs) or workers necessary to “conduct minimum basic operations” (MBOWs).

  • 4.14.20

    Illinois has made it easier for certain workers who contract COVID-19 to be covered by the state workers’ compensation system. In an emergency amendment to the Rules of Evidence applicable to matters before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, many employers will now face a significant change in the applicable burden of proof that will make it much more challenging to defend such claims.

  • 4.13.20

    The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration just issued guidance for enforcing OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19 cases. OSHA recordkeeping requirements mandate covered employers record certain work-related injuries and illnesses on their OSHA 300 log.

  • 4.13.20

    Employers are starting to be served with wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits alleging an employee’s exposure to COVID-19 at work should lead to employer liability, despite the general rule that the workers’ compensation system is the exclusive remedy for such claims. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are ignoring or bypassing such statutes to achieve higher and quicker payouts for their clients. As these claims begin to reach the news, you can be sure that an increasing number of lawsuits will be filed in the coming days, weeks, and months.

  • 4.13.20

    Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) just signed into law this weekend sweeping legislation that not only protects the rights of LGBT Virginians in employment, housing, and accommodations, but also expands the ability of plaintiffs to sue in Virginia state court. When the Virginia Values Act takes effect on July 1, 2020, the Virginia Human Rights Act will prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, becoming the first Southern state to adopt such protections.

  • 4.13.20

    Employers could face potential wage and hour claims under federal and state law if they do not compensate employees for time spent having their body temperatures checked. While federal COVID-19 guidance allows employers to measure employees’ body temperatures without fear of violating disability law, that guidance does not address wage and hour compliance – and this is definitely new territory for the nation’s employers.

  • 4.10.20

    In an 8-to-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court just made it easier for federal employees and applicants to prove age discrimination by ruling that courts should not apply a heightened causation standard in such cases. By rejecting a “but-for” test in federal worker Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) claims, the Court restricted federal agencies from considering an employee’s or applicant’s age with respect to personnel decisions.

  • 4.10.20

    In an increasingly desperate business climate, thousands of businesses are expected to apply for emergency loans created by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) – but unionized employers may want to think twice before walking this path. Certain commitments necessary to secure these loans– including a commitment not to abrogate existing collective bargaining agreements – could impact your labor relations strategy well beyond the course of the COVID–19 emergency.

  • 4.10.20

    Although most employers have been distracted by the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, Washington’s governor recently signed into law changes and clarifications to the state Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) law that all employers will need to know about. Washington’s law already provides paid leave benefits to nearly all employees for specific family and medical reasons and has been in effect since January 1, 2020. But while many employers are still learning the mechanisms for reporting and complying with its provisions, all Washington employers will now need to adjust once again to keep up with the changes.

  • 4.10.20

    Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards just issued a temporary emergency rule that prohibits employers from requesting a doctor’s note to verify employees’ use of paid sick leave under Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) ordinance. The emergency rule is in effect from April 8 until June 7, 2020, unless it is revoked earlier or extended through formal rulemaking.

  • 4.9.20

    The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) significantly relaxed its previous guidance on returning critical infrastructure workers to work after being potentially exposed to COVID-19. The relaxed guidelines, issued late yesterday, now allow critical infrastructure workers potentially exposed to COVID-19 to continue to work following exposure provided they remain symptom-free and employers implement additional precautions to protect the employee and the community. What are the key issues employers need to know about?

  • 4.9.20

    New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy just issued an executive order that expands the existing statewide partial business shutdown and regulates onsite conduct at many of the businesses remaining open, including the conduct of customers. The order goes into effect at 8:00 P.M. Friday, April 10. What do employers need to know about this development?

  • 4.9.20

    The California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH), or Cal/OSHA, just issued guidance for employers on COVID-19 infection prevention for agricultural workers. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have both recently stated that they are unaware of any reports suggesting COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging, the agencies still encourage practices and behaviors to prevent food handlers from spreading contaminants including viruses to food and amongst themselves. 

  • 4.8.20

    As businesses face daily new challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are now confronting a new challenge: demands from their own employees for more pay and a safer work environment. The ability to manage these competing challenges may ultimately dictate the economic and operational fate of many companies.

  • 4.8.20

    The CDC recently recommended the use of homemade cloth face coverings in public settings, which raised many questions among in the workplace law community. The two most common questions: Are these DIY cloth face coverings considered personal protective equipment (PPE) pursuant to OSHA regulations? If worn at work, who is responsible for providing them or paying for them?

  • 4.8.20

    The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a series of guidances to assist employers and employees in understanding the unemployment provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. The CARES Act provides expanded unemployment benefits for those individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 4.8.20

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti just signed into law the City Council’s proposed Supplemental Paid Sick Leave ordinance. He made some modifications to the original proposal passed by the City Council, which have been updated below. The ordinance provides up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to employees who work within the City of Los Angeles.

  • 4.8.20

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides much-needed economic relief to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. However, this much-needed relief comes with great confusion, particularly for small businesses aiming to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

  • 4.7.20

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) just issued interim enforcement guidance regarding respiratory protection, relaxing its standard in light of the nationwide shortage of N95 masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. From now on, if respiratory protection must be used and alternatives are not available, employers may now consider the extended use or reuse of N95s – and may consider using N95s that have since passed the manufacturer’s recommended shelf life.

  • 4.7.20

    Governor Brown issued an order on Monday requiring Oregonians to stay home whenever possible to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. This Order is more expansive than the order that banned seated dining at the state’s bars and restaurants and prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people. The ban is effective at 12:01 am Tuesday, March 24, and has no stated end date. Violating the governor’s executive order is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,250 fine.

  • 4.6.20

    South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster just ordered certain non-essential businesses throughout the state to close to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-essential businesses under this order must close beginning April 1, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. What do employers need to know?

  • 4.6.20

    The healthcare industry is truly on the front lines of the nation’s and the world’s response to COVID-19. As a result, healthcare providers, their employees, and affiliates are likely already well-versed on the virus and how to handle it in a clinical setting. But healthcare providers may need help understanding and managing the impact that COVID-19 is likely to have on their workforce.

  • 4.5.20

    Many independent and private schools are contemplating applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and/or Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) loans under the CARES Act. The PPP loan offers an attractive incentive in substantial loan forgiveness when used for authorized payroll and other permitted expenses. While the program is certainly attractive, with loan forgiveness amounting to “free money,” there may be a catch for independent and private schools accepting either type of loan.

  • 4.4.20

    In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, Arizona Governor Ducey issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order last week requiring all Arizonans to limit their time away from their home or place of residence except in limited circumstances. On Friday, the governor expanded the order to include additional businesses and clarified other aspects of the order. Employers will want to review the changes to ensure they are in compliance with the latest directives.

  • 4.4.20

    Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer just issued an executive order aimed at protecting the jobs of those employees forced to shelter-in-place because they pose a “particular risk of infecting others with COVID-19.” However, the April 3 order creates many practical hurdles for employers. The order prevents employers from requesting proof that the employee posed such a risk, opening the door for potential confusion and abuse. In the future, the order could also serve as the basis for a number of wrongful discharge claims.

  • 4.3.20

    As New York continues to be hard hit by the effects of COVID-19, Governor Cuomo announced a three-way agreement on March 17 between his office and both houses of the New York State Legislature on a bill guaranteeing job protection and wages for New York workers who have been quarantined as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The bill, which still needs formal legislative approval, will be effective upon the governor’s signature.

  • 4.3.20

    The Director of the Ohio Department of Public Health issued a Stay-At-Home Order for all individuals currently living within the State of Ohio on Sunday March 22. Dr. Amy Acton’s Order goes into effect on March 23 at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, unless rescinded or modified. This Order represents the latest of several measures enacted by the governor and the Ohio Department of Public Health in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The intent of the Order is to “ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places or residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible.”

  • 4.3.20

    Our Seattle office has continued to update our guidance to respond to commonly asked questions and local resources for Washington employers. We also encourage you to review our nationwide Comprehensive and Updated FAQs for Employers on the COVID-19 Coronavirus, put together by our firm’s COVID-19 Taskforce.

  • 4.3.20

    The U.S. Department of Labor issued a new rule yesterday to regulate the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) and the paid leave programs that just became law on April 1, 2020. We’ve digested the 124-page document and picked out the 10 things employers need to know about the new rule. We suggest those unfamiliar with the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency FMLA (EFMLA) programs read our summary here first, along with our two subsequent alerts (available here and here) summarizing some of the clarifying guidance released by the agency in the past few weeks.

  • 4.3.20

    Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-21, Governor Gretchen Whitmer effectively shuttered the State of Michigan from March 24, 2020 until at least April 13, 2020. The Order, titled Temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, is intended to be construed broadly.

  • 4.3.20

    Georgia Governor Brian Kemp just issued an order that supersedes all prior and conflicting county, city, and state shelter-in-place orders, with the exception of individualized quarantine or isolation orders issued by a Department of Public Health.

  • 4.3.20

    The L.A. City Council just took two steps that will impact many grocery and retail food operations in the city. First, it passed the Grocery, Drug Retail and Food Delivery Worker Protection ordinance, offering workplace protections and creating employer responsibilities that will need to be implemented by affected businesses. Second, it passed an ordinance that requires retail food stores to dedicate certain shopping hours to the disabled, elderly, and operators of licensed residential congregate living facilities. 

  • 4.3.20

    Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State has passed legislation guaranteeing most workers in the state paid sick leave starting next year. This is in addition to the emergency COVID-19 related sick leave enacted by the legislature just weeks ago. Enacting a statewide sick leave law has long been on Governor Cuomo’s agenda, predating the current pandemic. What do employers need to know about this new law?

  • 4.2.20

    The Fisher Phillips COVID-19 Taskforce has assembled this guidance document, containing answers to a series of Frequently Asked Questions, especially designed for unionized employers. The Taskforce also maintains a Comprehensive And Updated FAQs For Employers On The COVID-19 Coronavirus on a daily basis for other workplace-related issues.

  • 4.2.20

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a Safer At Home Order for the State of Florida yesterday. It goes into effect just after midnight (at 12:01 am) on the morning of Friday, April 3, 2020, and is set to expire on Thursday, April 30, 2020. The Order limits movement and personal interaction outside of the home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services, or to conduct essential activities.

  • 4.2.20

    The National Labor Relations Board just finalized its “Election Protection Rule,” amending regulations addressing “blocking charges” and certain aspects of the Board’s voluntary recognition doctrine.

  • 4.2.20

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided updated guidance on when a person with COVID-19 may discontinue home isolation, offering a more flexible standard that could help employers and employees manage absences during this uncertain time.

  • 4.2.20

    The Internal Revenue Service just provided an initial guidance document to assist small- and medium-sized companies with the process of defraying the costs of paid sick leave required under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Of immediate importance to employers, the IRS provided some guidance regarding what information you should receive from an employee in order to substantiate eligibility for the FFCRA tax credits.

  • 4.2.20

    The Fulton County (GA) Board of Health recently issued an order, effective immediately, requiring all residents of Fulton County to shelter-in-place, permitting residents to leave their homes only if providing or receiving certain essential services or engaging in essential activities or work.

  • 4.2.20

    New Jersey amended its Paid Sick Leave, Family Leave, Family Leave Insurance, and Temporary Disability Insurance laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The law, which is outlined below, went into effect immediately and is designed to assure that workers impacted by epidemics of communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, have access to leave and benefits needed to care for themselves and affected members of their families.

  • 4.1.20

    In a welcome relief to employers, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb has issued guidance on the duty to bargain in emergency situations.

  • 4.1.20

    Six Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley just implemented new expanded Shelter-in-Place Orders, extending the restrictions to May 3, 2020 and including additional requirements on Essential Businesses maintaining operations in each locality. The biggest change requires operating Essential Businesses to prepare, implement, and post Social Distancing Protocols at each of their facilities. 

  • 3.31.20

    Restaurants and hospitality businesses are on the front lines of dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. What should you consider in the coming days, weeks, and months to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis? Below we have provided both an update on the latest federal and state rules relating to coronavirus and a 10-point plan you should review and consider adopting.

  • 3.31.20

    Kentucky employers will need to get acquainted with a new state law just signed into effect yesterday that addresses a number of coronavirus-related issues that are relevant to the workplace. After passing the state legislature late last week, Governor Andy Beshear signed SB 150 into law on March 30, 2020. It went into effect immediately, so the time to get up to speed on it is now.

  • 3.31.20

    Just two days before the City of Dallas was set to begin enforcing its Paid Sick Leave ordinance – which went into effect for employers with more than five covered employees on August 1, 2019 – U.S. District Judge Sean D. Jordan of the Eastern District of Texas temporarily blocked the ordinance from taking effect while a lawsuit against the City remains pending.

  • 3.31.20

    In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court last week ensured that a high standard will be used when assessing whether claims of race discrimination under Section 1981 should advance past the early stages of litigation. This means that we should not see an increase in the number of claims brought against employers using of the nation’s oldest civil rights laws.

  • 3.31.20

    District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser just announced a Stay-At-Home Order effective at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Bowser had previously issued an Order on March 25, 2020, requiring the closure of non-essential businesses and prohibiting social gatherings of more than 10 people.

  • 3.31.20

    When San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a Workers and Families First Program (Program) on March 16 that will see the city provide funding for private sector workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to receive an additional five days of paid sick leave, employers and workers alike had questions.

  • 3.30.20

    Hillsborough County (FL) recently issued a Safer-At-Home Order that went into effect at 10:00PM on March 27, 2020. The Safer-At-Home Order will be in effect on a daily basis until it expires or is rescinded. Currently, the Order does not include an expiration date. The Order is less restrictive than total lockdowns or shelter-in-place regulations, encourages citizens to stay home as much as possible, allows non-essential activities – so long as social distancing and other CDC Public Health Mitigation Strategies requirements are followed – and applies to all of the unincorporated and incorporated areas of Hillsborough County.

  • 3.30.20

    Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a statewide stay-at-home order effective at 8:00pm Monday, March 30, 2020. Hogan had previously issued an order on March 23, 2020 requiring the shutdown of non-essential businesses and encouraging citizens to stay home. With this new order, Hogan is directing citizens to stay home except for certain essential reasons, such as obtaining medical services for self or family, buying food or essential home goods, caring for pets, or running, walking, hiking or biking. Gatherings of more than 10 people remain prohibited.

  • 3.30.20

    As part of Minnesota’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz recently released Emergency Executive Order 20-20, directing residents to limit movement outside of their homes, effective March 27 to April 10, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

  • 3.30.20

    The “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” will take effect on April 1, 2020, ushering in an emergency expansion of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and federal paid sick, among other things. The Fisher Phillips Automotive Dealership Practice Group has collected the most frequently asked questions from dealerships across the country and assembled our best guidance in one source, fully updated as of March 30, 2020.

  • 3.30.20

    New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu issued COVID19 Emergency Order #17 late last week, requiring all non-essential businesses and organizations to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers, and the public beginning on March 27 through 12:01AM on May 4. Businesses providing “Essential Services” as outlined in Exhibit A to Emergency Order #17 are excluded from Governor Sununu’s order and are allowed to stay open.

  • 3.30.20

    While initially choosing only to restrict certain public gatherings and non-essential retail businesses last week, Virginia’s Governor Northam has now ordered individuals to stay at home. Unless otherwise specified below, the stay-at-home order became effective on March 30, 2020, and remains in place until June 10, 2020.

  • 3.30.20

    In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, Arizona Governor Ducey just issued Executive Order 2020-18, entitled “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected.”

  • 3.30.20

    The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) just issued an updated memorandum listing the industries that contain the Essential Infrastructure Workforce – and it contains good news for many businesses that can now consider themselves part of this critical designation.

  • 3.30.20

    Fisher Phillips has assembled a cross-disciplinary taskforce of attorneys across the country to address the many employment-related issues facing employers in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The COVID-19 Taskforce has created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, which has been continually updated since first published on March 3 and will continue to be updated as events warrant. You can contact your Fisher Phillips attorney or any member of the Taskforce with specific questions, and a full listing of the Taskforce members and their practice areas is at the end of this publication.

  • 3.29.20

    The Department of Labor (DOL) continues to update its guidance document on implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and the latest update caught many employers by surprise. The updated document released by the agency appears to suggest that employees who cannot work because their businesses are subject to a government shutdown order or they are ordered to shelter at home will not qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Emergency FMLA. This clarification should now be integrated into employers’ plans for developing best practices and compliance tools to deal with the rapidly changing situation.

  • 3.29.20

    The L.A. City Council just passed a COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law which provides up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to employees who work within the City of Los Angeles. This ordinance hasn’t been signed by the Mayor yet but it is being brought under an “urgency clause” and will go into effect immediately upon being signed by him and publication. It will remain in effect until December 31, 2020 unless the Los Angeles City Council decides to extend it. Notably, employees cannot waive their supplemental paid sick leave protections unless they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that is bilaterally modified.

  • 3.28.20

    COVID-19 has forced numerous employers to close facilities and terminate employees. With unemployment rates expected to skyrocket, Oregon’s Employment Department (OED) has responded to this crisis by enacting a new rule that expands the eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits.

  • 3.27.20

    Although the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) contains important help for businesses, it also presents potentially significant labor issues for any mid-size company (500 to 10,000 employees) that receives direct loans under the Emergency Relief and Taxpayer protections portion of the Act. To receive a direct loan under the Act, a mid-size company must make a “good-faith certification” that it will comply with certain requirements listed in the CARES Act.  

  • 3.27.20

    Effective March 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., and remaining in effect for 30 days, all North Carolina residents are ordered to “stay home” and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs. Pursuant to Executive Order 121, Governor Roy Cooper ordered all North Carolinians to stay at home unless performing an “essential activity.” The Order remains in effect until the governor terminates it by subsequent executive action.

  • 3.26.20

    Orange County (Florida) Mayor Jerry Demings recently issued Emergency Executive Order 2020-04, ordering residents to stay at home and non-essential businesses to close in an ongoing effort to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. It will become effective on Thursday, March 26 at 11 p.m. and expire on April 9 at 11 p.m.

  • 3.26.20

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves recently issued Executive Order No. 1463, encouraging employers to allow employees to work from home to the maximum extent possible, directing residents to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people, limiting dine-in services, and implementing visitation bans on hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities.

  • 3.26.20

    Businesses struggling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis received good news late last night when the Senate passed an unprecedented piece of legislation aimed at providing a massive stimulus to workplaces and employees alike. The centerpiece of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act would allow small- and medium-sized businesses to receive federal loans – in some cases forgivable – to cover payroll and other expenses.

  • 3.25.20

    District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser just issued Executive Order No. 2020-053 ordering non-essential business to close and prohibiting large gatherings in an ongoing effort to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

  • 3.25.20

    Beginning on March 25, 2020, all persons in the State of Hawaii have been ordered by Governor Ige to stay at home through April 30, 2020 to reduce the spread of COVID-19, except to the extent necessary to maintain continuity of operations of federal critical infrastructure sectors.

  • 3.25.20

    The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division just released today the required notification poster for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) that will soon need to be posted in many workplaces – and distributed to remote workers – across the country.

  • 3.24.20

    Choosing not to go so far as neighboring states, Virginia’s Governor Northam just issued temporary restrictions on certain gatherings and recreational/entertainment and retail businesses, but did not require shelter in place or wide reaching business closures.

  • 3.24.20

    Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards recently issued Executive Proclamation Number 33 JBE 2020, requiring all residents of the state to remain in their homes until April 13. The Order, which went into effect at 5:00 p.m. CDT on Monday, March 23, also requires the closure of all state governmental office buildings as well as certain “non-essential” businesses for at least the next three weeks.

  • 3.24.20

    Both the state of Georgia and the city of Atlanta have implemented orders relating to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that will impact businesses across the state.

  • 3.24.20

    Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued an Executive Order yesterday requiring all residents – except for those falling within an exception as discussed below – to stay at home for 13 days beginning at 11:59 p.m. on March 24 through 11:59 p.m. on April 6. The Order carves out exceptions for “Essential Activities,” “Essential Businesses and Operations,” “Essential Governmental Functions,” “Essential Infrastructure,” “Essential Travel,” “Healthcare & Public Operations,” and “Human Services Operations.”

  • 3.24.20

    Effective March 24, 2020 at 8:00 p.m., all West Virginia residents are ordered to “stay home” and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs. Pursuant to Executive Order 9-20, Governor Jim Justice ordered all West Virginians to stay at home unless performing an “essential activity.” The Order remains in effect until Governor Justice terminates it by subsequent executive action.

  • 3.24.20

    North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper just issued Executive Order No. 120 in a series of continuing efforts to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Executive Order, issued yesterday, has three main components: (1) it further limits large gatherings and orders certain businesses to temporarily cease operations; (2) restricts visitation at long-term care facilities; and (3) extends the school closure date through May 15, 2020.

  • 3.24.20

    Many sectors of the retail industry are critical to the nation’s efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19. After all, retailers that sell necessities such as food, medication, personal care products, and household supplies cannot stop operating. But there are many hard issues facing even those retailers whose stores remain open, particularly how to keep employees coming to work and how to prepare for the imminent Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA laws.

  • 3.24.20

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis just issued an Executive Order mandating a 14-day self-quarantine or isolation period for certain airport travelers arriving in Florida from areas with “substantial community spread” to prevent further spread of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus. The Order specifically imposes restrictions on travelers from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

  • 3.24.20

    In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, Arizona Governor Ducey just issued Executive Order 2020-12 in which he defined “Essential Functions” in the State of Arizona and further prohibited any counties, cities, or towns from issuing any local orders requiring the closure of the defined “Essential Functions.”

  • 3.24.20

    Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (Charlotte) issued a Shelter-in-Place Order for residents on March 24. The restrictions are effective March 26, 2020, at 8:00. a.m.

  • 3.24.20

    The U.S. Department of Labor released a preliminary “Questions and Answers” page today, attempting to answer some preliminary compliance questions related to the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will bring emergency family and medical leave, as well as paid sick leave, for many employers across the country. The agency stated it also will be issuing implementing regulations regarding the new law in the near future. The big news is that the law will take effect April 1, 2020 – not April 2 as originally expected – but there are also plenty of other helpful pieces of information in the document.

  • 3.23.20

    Following the trend of other states, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued Executive Order 4-20 on March 19, providing immediate relief to employees adversely affected by COVID-19. Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens both lives and economic security of West Virginians, the Executive Order significantly alters West Virginia’s unemployment benefits legislative scheme.

  • 3.23.20

    Following an Executive Order limiting operations of restaurants and bars within the state, Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-05 on March 16, providing immediate relief to both employers and employees adversely affected by COVID-19. The Executive Order remains in effect from March 16 until it is rescinded or the governor declares that the peacetime emergency is over.

  • 3.23.20

    As governors and local leaders across the country are issuing mandates for employees of “nonessential” businesses to stay home, businesses are grappling with a host of issues, including whether they qualify as an “essential” business, how to get clarification on their status, the penalties for getting it wrong, and what to do if they believe they should be deemed essential and are not. Unfortunately, the answers are not always clear and vary by jurisdiction at the state and local level. The Fisher Phillips Essential Business Task Force is monitoring the situation and has assembled the following guidance to assist.

  • 3.23.20

    Although other counties in Tennessee already have issued similar mandates regarding restaurants, bars, and fitness clubs in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 17 on Sunday requiring certain businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models starting at midnight CDT on Monday 23, until midnight CDT April 6.

  • 3.23.20

    As part of the Commonwealth’s continued efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued Executive Order 2020-246 on Sunday, March 22, requiring the closure of all “in-person retail businesses that are not life-sustaining” by 8:00 p.m. on Monday March 23.

  • 3.23.20

    Kansas City local government authorities – the City of Kansas City, Clay County, Missouri and Johnson, Wyandotte, Douglas and Leavenworth Counties in Kansas – have issued executive orders requiring all residents – except for those falling within an exception discussed below – to stay at home for 30 days beginning at 12:01 a.m. on March 24, through 12:01 a.m. on April 23. The orders carve out exceptions for “Essential Activities,” “Essential Government Functions” and “Essential Businesses.”

  • 3.23.20

    While specifically stating that he was not issuing a shelter in place order, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the shutdown of non-essential businesses effective at 5 P.M., March 23, due to COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 3.23.20

    Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland just issued the Safer at Home Executive Order on March 23, an extension of the Declaration of Civil Emergency issued last week. The Order directs all residents of Memphis to remain inside their residences and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs. The Order also requires nonessential businesses to close. The Order goes into effect at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 and will remain in effect through midnight on April 7. 

  • 3.22.20

    California Governor Gavin Newsom recently issued Executive Order N-33-20, requiring all Californians – except for those falling within an exception discussed below – to stay at home indefinitely. The Order carves out exceptions to maintain the continuity of 13 of the critical infrastructure sectors identified by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA). The State Public Health Officer also issued a list of Essential Critical Infrastructure sectors that are exempt from the Executive Order.

  • 3.22.20

    In an apparent effort to ease some of the anxieties surrounding the impact of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on employers, the Department of Treasury, IRS, and Department of Labor issued a press release on Friday, March 20, announcing plans to provide some relief for small and midsize employers.

  • 3.22.20

    After ordering all non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to cease physical operations in a March 18 order, Pennsylvania agreed to delay enforcement of the order until Monday, March 23, at 8 a.m. due to a high volume of waiver requests from businesses and stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth.

  • 3.22.20

    As part of Connecticut’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut Governor Ned Lemont released Executive Order No. 7H on March 20, implementing telecommuting and closures of non-essential businesses or not-for-profit entities, effective March 23, 2020 through April 22, 2020, unless earlier modified, extended, or terminated.

  • 3.21.20

    California is under a shelter-in-place order that threatens to impact businesses throughout the state. Meanwhile, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” will take effect on April 1, 2020, ushering in an emergency expansion of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and federal paid sick, among other things. The Fisher Phillips Automotive Dealership Practice Group has collected the most frequently asked questions from California dealerships and assembled our best guidance in one source. For an in-depth discussion of many of these topics, you can access our firm’s Comprehensive and Updated FAQ for Employers on the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

  • 3.21.20

    On Saturday March 21, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued two executive orders, both of which went into effect at 9 p.m. the same day. The first commands citizens to stay at home, with some exceptions, and compels the shutdown or partial shutdown of certain businesses. The second invalidates conflicting county and municipal orders.

  • 3.20.20

    Many schools have closed temporarily and moved to remote learning processes consistent with local or state orders, health department, or CDC guidance. We are receiving many questions regarding how schools should manage certain processes both during this time of closure and as they plan to reopen the schools. In addition, many of our schools and daycare centers have remained open. They, too, have questions about their operations and risks associated with same.

  • 3.20.20

    Governor Tom Wolf just ordered all non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close until further notice. Any businesses that fail to comply with the governor’s order by March 21, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. will be subject to enforcement actions including citations, fines, license suspensions, administrative actions, imprisonment, the forfeiture of disaster relief funds, and the termination of state loan or grant funding.

  • 3.20.20

    Wednesday was a busy day for Oregon employers – both from a federal and local level. In Washington, D.C., President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, introducing an emergency expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and federal paid sick leave, among other things. Back here in Oregon, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued an emergency rule amending OFLA’s sick child leave as it relates to school closures, which is relevant considering Governor Brown’s March 17, 2020 executive order closing schools through April 28, 2020.

  • 3.20.20

    As part of New York’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo announced during a press conference this morning that he will be signing an executive order mandating that 100% of the workforce stay home, excluding essential services. This follows his two previous executive orders requiring that non-essential businesses decrease their in-person staff by 50% effective March 20 at 8 p.m. and 75% effective March 21 at 8 p.m., as we reported yesterday.

  • 3.19.20

    North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper recently issued Executive Order No. 118 in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Executive Order has two main components: (1) it restricts the operations of restaurants and bars; and (2) vastly expands the availability of unemployment insurance benefits to workers adversely affected by COVID-19.

  • 3.19.20

    The Georgia Department of Labor announced this week that it passed emergency rules regarding partial unemployment claims and shifted Career Center registration from in-person to online. The rule will remain in effect for 120 days or until the agency proposes or adopts a subsequent rule.

  • 3.19.20

    Adopting the mantra “Stay Home for Nevada,” Governor Steve Sisolak has announced enhanced COVID-19 Risk Mitigation measures, including the closure of non-essential public-facing businesses in Nevada for at least 30 days, effective at noon on March 18. His proclamation represents the latest of several measures enacted since he declared a State of Emergency on March 12 in response to COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

  • 3.19.20

    Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has requested that any Ohio employer that remains open during the current public health crisis take the temperatures of its employees daily before beginning work. According to DeWine, employees who show an elevated temperature (100.4 degrees or higher, or 99.6 for the elderly) should be sent home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

  • 3.19.20

    As Florida continues to see the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, South Florida has emerged as a hotspot for the state’s total cases. Today, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued Emergency Order 07-20, mandating the closure of all non-essential retail and commercial establishments effective at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. The Executive Order includes exemptions for grocery stores, healthcare providers, media services, and restaurants and other food services, among others. The closure order is scheduled to last for as long as the Miami-Dade County State of Local Emergency is in effect.

  • 3.19.20

    In response to the continued surge of COVID-19 coronavirus cases in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference this morning that, beginning this same day, non-essential businesses must decrease their in-office workforce by 75%. This comes on the heels of an Executive Order Governor Cuomo issued just yesterday directing non-essential businesses to decrease their in-office workforce by 50%.  

  • 3.18.20

    Governor Brown announced earlier this week that she is banning seated dining at the state’s bars and restaurants and prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people. The March 16 executive order 20-07 includes exemptions for grocery stores and retail outlets. The ban started Tuesday, March 17 and is scheduled to last at least four weeks. Violating the governor’s executive order is a misdemeanor.

  • 3.18.20

    The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act today, an economic stimulus plan aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Americans and introducing paid sick leave and an expanded family and medical leave act to the nation’s employers. An earlier version of this Act (H.R. 6201) was previously passed by the House in the early hours of Saturday, March 14 before being significantly altered late Monday, March 16. The bill now awaits President Trump’s signature, which is expected later today or tomorrow as he has already publicly supported the bill. Once he signs the bill, it will become effective in 15 days.

  • 3.18.20

    While the world grapples with COVID-19 and its implications for daily life, those in the mining industry may wonder whether the onset of the pandemic presents any MSHA compliance issues. Indeed, unlike its sister agency OSHA – which put forth a 35-page guidance document and several online resources – MSHA has thus far been silent on the subject. While no MSHA standard or regulation directly addresses anything like COVID-19, certain issues may arise.

  • 3.18.20

    Among other challenges in the last week, California employers have grappled with important issues relating to reducing their workforces: Are we subject to the state and federal laws requiring advance notice of layoffs? If so, what do we do, since it’s not possible to give 60 days of notice? Are there exceptions? What are the consequences of not providing the required notice? 

  • 3.18.20

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just weighed in on the impact that the COVID-19 coronavirus is having on American workforces and issued a press release today titled “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19.” The publication takes a Q&A format and tackles some common areas of concern for employers.

  • 3.17.20

    Restaurants and Hospitality businesses are on the front lines of dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. What should you consider in the coming days, weeks, and months to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis? Below we have provided both an update on the latest federal and state rules relating to coronavirus and a six-point plan you should review and consider adopting.

  • 3.17.20

    With Governor Inslee’s announcement Sunday evening that he would be issuing an Emergency Proclamation ordering the closure of restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities, all Washington businesses have been taking a closer look at what this means for their employees and operations. The March 16, 2020 Proclamation includes new requirements for retail establishments to remain open, and a second Proclamation further limited the size of public gatherings to 50.  

  • 3.16.20

    Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a series of orders on Sunday in the Commonwealth’s latest efforts to deter the spread of COVID-19. The most recent steps include statewide school closures, a prohibition on any gatherings of more than 25 people, and a ban of on-premises consumption of food or drink at all bars and restaurants. These efforts, designed to maximize “social distancing” and “flatten the curve,” will last from March 17 through April 6.

  • 3.16.20

    The California Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision last week that makes clear that a plaintiff who settles and/or dismisses their individual claims does not lose standing to pursue an action under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA).

  • 3.15.20

    In an effort to boost the government’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act yesterday, an economic stimulus plan aimed at addressing the impact of COVID-19 on Americans. It includes many provisions which apply to employers, such as paid sick leave for employees impacted by COVID-19 and those serving as caregivers for individuals with COVID-19. 

Media Inquiries

Media Inquiries
Meghan Warin
Director of Public Relations
Tel: (404) 240-4282
mwarin@fisherphillips.com 

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