Archives: Workplace Laws and Regulations

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Attention Texas employers: Starting September 1, 2021, companies with just one employee—as well as individual supervisors and coworkers—can be liable for sexual harassment

The effects of the #MeToo movement for employers continue with Governor Abbott recently signing two new bills into law (effective September 1, 2021) that greatly amplify legal protections against sexual harassment. One bill extends the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims from 180 days to 300 days. The other opens the door for small … Continue Reading

NJ workers’ compensation exclusivity not so exclusive anymore: NJ Supreme Court issues major ruling on the New Jersey workers’ compensation bar and NJLAD failure to accommodate claims

On June 8, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court made two significant rulings in Richter v. Oakland Board of Education. First, the Court held that an employee need not establish an adverse employment action as an element for a failure-to-accommodate claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). This holding built on prior case … Continue Reading

Illinois’ new non-compete restrictions expected to become law

On May 31, 2021, the Illinois legislature passed SB 672, a bill that amends the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, the state’s non-compete statute. Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law. SB 672 would apply to restrictive covenant agreements entered into after January 1, 2022, and introduces a number of new … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court finds injured contract worker was an employee for workers’ compensation purposes

The current prominence of the multi-entity workplace—where so-called “host” employers rely on third-party staffing agencies to perform various functions—makes a clear determination of statutory “employer” status critical in a variety of contexts.  Oftentimes, a host employer will argue that a worker is an independent contractor rather than employee.  This approach typically leaves the staffing agency … Continue Reading

New York’s amended HERO Act now in effect

Last month, we reported on New York’s passage of the so-called HERO Act, a landmark law that imposes a novel, sweeping overhaul of the State’s workplace health and safety laws. Although the HERO Act was set to take effect on June 4, the State on June 11 amended the law, including to delay its effective … Continue Reading

In first-of-its-kind decision, federal court rules that mandatory workplace COVID-19 vaccine policies are lawful

As states and localities lift COVID-19 restrictions, the business community continues to grapple with the interplay between the COVID-19 vaccine and workplace operations. To address this, some U.S. employers have elected to adopt mandatory vaccination policies. These policies, in essence, require that, subject to exceptions for sincerely-held religious beliefs and disabilities, all employees receive the … Continue Reading

Connecticut updates its salary history inquiry and pay equity laws

On June 7, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation amending the state’s existing salary history inquiry and pay equity statutes. As we discuss below, this amendment – which goes into effect on October 1, 2021 – places additional obligations on Connecticut employers and modifies the existing standard for pay equity claims in the state. … Continue Reading

Sonoma County passes emergency paid sick leave ordinance

Background Sonoma County (the County) initially enacted Ordinance No. 6320 on August 18, 2020 to provide COVID-19 related paid sick leave to employees not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) in the unincorporated areas of the County. Ordinance No. 6320 expired on December 31, 2020, however, because its expiration date was … Continue Reading

New York updates COVID-19 guidelines for office-based workplaces

Last summer, as New York began the process of non-essential business reopenings, the State issued a series of industry-specific workplace health and safety guidelines with which all businesses were and have continued to be required to adhere.  On the heels of recent CDC guidance loosening workplace-related restrictions for vaccinated employees, New York has updated these … Continue Reading

New York State Department of Labor confirms that New York State paid sick leave applies to COVID-19 vaccine recovery time

As we previously reported, over the past year, New York State has adopted a statewide sick leave law, paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination, and paid quarantine leave.  Last week, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) issued guidance on the use of New York State Sick Leave (NYSSL) as it pertains to employees receiving … Continue Reading

Virginia adopts new laws effective July 1 that continue to transform the employment landscape

Following last year’s wave of new employment laws (previously covered as follows: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), Virginia has adopted a variety of new laws that will take effect July 1 and continue to transform the Commonwealth’s employment law landscape. Virginia employers should carefully review these new laws to ensure compliance in this … Continue Reading

Is that a smile that I see? Pennsylvania businesses adjust reopening plans as the statewide mask mandate is scheduled to be lifted

On May 27, 2021, Pennsylvania Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam announced at a press conference that Pennsylvania’s statewide masking order is slated to be lifted in its entirety effective June 28, 2021. This announcement comes on the heels of the Wolf Administration’s May 4, 2021 announcement that all COVID mitigation orders in Pennsylvania would be … Continue Reading

New Jersey expands COVID changes to include employers not open to the public

As previously discussed, on May 24, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the lifting of COVID-19 mask requirements for certain employers, while continuing to require masks for others. In a point of frustration for many New Jersey employers, the requirements seemed to require masking and social distancing in an inconsistent manner, and imposed greater … Continue Reading

NJ employers ready to ditch the masks? Not so fast.

UPDATE: On May 26, 2021, Governor Murphy announced that he will be signing another Executive Order, effective Friday, June 4, 2021, that will: (1) Allow employers to implement policies for vaccinated employees to forego masking & social distancing; and (2) Rescind the requirement for mandatory remote work arrangements.  We will provide further guidance on these … Continue Reading

Reminder to New Jersey employers: NJ WARN changes on the horizon

Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, in January 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law sweeping changes to New Jersey’s mini-WARN act. The first-of-its-kind law in the nation required mandatory severance payments for employees who lost their jobs in a mass layoff. We discussed details of the changes here. The law was scheduled to take … Continue Reading

It pays to be vaccinated in Los Angeles County with new paid leave ordinance

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently enacted an urgency ordinance that requires employers to provide supplemental paid leave of up to four hours per injection for employees working in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. The Employee Paid Leave for Expanded Vaccine Access Ordinance (the Ordinance) is effective … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit reverses preliminary injunction: California’s independent contractor law applies to motor carriers

In a split 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s order preliminarily enjoining enforcement of California’s Assembly Bill (AB) 5 in California Trucking Association et al. v. Bonta (CTA). If this ruling is not appealed, AB 5, which is chaptered in the California Labor Code under 2750.3, will no longer … Continue Reading

Cal-OSHA released proposed revisions to the COVID-19 prevention order

UPDATE on May 20, 2021: Since this article was published, Cal/OSHA has delayed the vote on the new proposed Emergency Temporary Standards. Please read details on the delayed vote on the Reed Smith EHS Law Insights Blog. As vaccination rates increase in California, the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) has released a … Continue Reading

BREAKING: New York adopts CDC’s loosened mask and social distancing guidance

As most of our readers likely know by now, on May 13, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that, “[i]f you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.” The CDC went on the state that “[f]ully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a … Continue Reading

New York’s landmark HERO Act becomes law – With some caveats

Well, that was fast! As we reported on Tuesday, the New York State legislature passed a sweeping bill in late April known as the HERO Act. The HERO Act represents a massive change to the Empire State’s workplace health and safety protocols. At the time of our initial post, the HERO Act was awaiting Governor … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania businesses may need to finalize reopening plans

After more than a year of navigating the myriad orders impacting Pennsylvania businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wolf administration has announced that it will lift all mitigation orders, except masking, on May 31, 2021. Although the announcement was sparse on detail, its general nature suggests that the following mitigation mandates – which … Continue Reading

Department of Labor withdraws pro-business independent contractor final rule

As we previously reported here and here, in January 2021 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a business-friendly final rule concerning the classification of workers as independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The final rule, which was scheduled to take effect in March 2021 (but never did), reaffirmed the use of … Continue Reading

New York legislators pass sweeping new workplace health and safety bill

In late April, New York State legislators passed a bill that can best be described as a “game changer.” Known as the Health and Essential Rights – or HERO – Act, the bill proposes a novel, sweeping overhaul of the Empire State’s workplace health and safety laws. Among other things, the HERO Act directs New … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit confirms that parties can avoid appellate review of arbitration awards under the Federal Arbitration Act

Arbitration provisions can be an important tool to add more certainty to the dispute resolution process and potentially reduce costs. In Virginia, employers should carefully consider whether and how to craft arbitration agreements in the wake of groundbreaking new laws passed last year creating new employment rights that will be litigated in state courts. Reed … Continue Reading
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