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Legal Alerts Archive

  • 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?

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