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Florida expands definition of “discrimination” and increases employer liability for discrimination in workplace diversity training

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that prohibits employers from implementing discriminatory practices in their diversity training programs, effective July 1, 2022. The bill, known as the “Individual Freedom Act,” amends the Florida Civil Rights Act, Fla. St. 760.01, et seq., to expand the definition of discrimination and subjects employers to liability … Continue Reading

Virginia officially revoked COVID-19 workplace safety standard

On Wednesday, March 23, 2022, official revocation of Virginia’s COVID-19 permanent workplace safety standard became effective upon publication in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. That action followed a vote by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI’s) Safety and Health Codes Board (Board) earlier this week. The Board initiated steps in February to end the standard based … Continue Reading

Biden signs federal law restricting sexual harassment and assault arbitration

On March 3, President Joe Biden signed into law one of the most significant modifications ever made to federal arbitration law. Known as the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021” (the Act), the new law essentially restricts employers from forcing workplace sexual harassment or assault claims to be resolved … Continue Reading

New York legislature proposes sweeping changes to workplace laws

On March 1, 2022, the New York State Senate passed a suite of landmark employment legislation. Though several of the bills still need to be passed by the State Assembly – and, of course, ultimately signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul – Empire State employers should nevertheless review the measures now so they will … Continue Reading

Virginia begins process to revoke permanent COVID-19 workplace safety standard

On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI’s) Safety and Health Codes Board (Board) convened and voted to recommend revoking the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 permanent workplace safety standard. This action comes after newly-elected Governor Glenn Youngkin issued Executive Order 6 directing the Board to convene an emergency meeting to consider whether there … Continue Reading

Congress passes bill prohibiting sexual harassment and assault arbitration

On February 7, 2022, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 4445, which would modify the Federal Arbitration Act by carving out an exception for cases involving sexual harassment and assault. The bill titled, “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021” – which was passed by the Senate on … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania businesses with COVID-19 vaccine requirements may have to provide new exemption for employees

Pennsylvania House of Representatives members have proposed House Bill 2318, which proposes that employers must provide a “natural immunity” exemption to employees under any employer COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy. The bill defines “natural immunity” as possessing immunity to the COVID-19 virus as a result of previous infection caused by the virus. Thus, if the proposed … Continue Reading

Employers subject to OSHA ETS must be mindful of OSH Act whistleblower protections

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act or the Act), employees who raise concerns regarding safety or health in the workplace are protected against retaliation from their employer. With the publication of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) emergency temporary standard (ETS), employers should be mindful that the Act’s whistleblower protections extend … Continue Reading

Vaccination requirements have arrived for all federal and many state employees and health care workers

Recently, we posted about President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan, “Path out of the Pandemic” (the Memo). To recap: the Memo instructs OSHA to develop and issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to require all employers with 100+ employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 or to require them to submit to weekly testing … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit rules to lift preliminary injunction on California’s ban on mandatory employee arbitration agreements

A split Ninth Circuit panel vacated a 2020 preliminary injunction that blocked the enforcement of California’s A.B. 51, which prohibits mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts. If the majority decision stands, it will mean that California employers can no longer require their employees or new hires to sign arbitration agreements (among other types of waivers) … Continue Reading

Overview of several new workplace laws Texas employers should know about following the recent legislative sessions

The Texas Legislature has been quite busy over the most recent regular and two specially-called legislative sessions. It adjourned its second specially-called legislative session on September 2, 2021. Additional bills may be enacted into law if and when Governor Greg Abbott calls a third special session. So far, Governor Abbott has signed into law several … Continue Reading

It continues: Virginia updates its permanent COVID-19 workplace safety standard

On August 26, 2021, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI’s) Safety and Health Codes Board (Board) voted 8 to 5 to update and continue its COVID-19 permanent workplace safety standard. That vote came despite the fact that the bulk of COVID-19 business requirements issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ended on May 31 … Continue Reading

Biden announces major COVID-19 vaccine requirements for employers

On Thursday, September 9, 2021, President Biden issued a memorandum, “Path Out of the Pandemic” (the Memo), announcing a six-pronged national strategy to combat COVID-19. Among other things, President Biden has ordered the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop and issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to require all employers … Continue Reading

FAQs on US employee privacy issues related to the COVID-19 vaccine

In addition to the issue of mandated COVID-19 vaccine policies, employers must also manage the related privacy risks. Below are some of the frequently asked questions surrounding the issues of employee privacy as it relates to the COVID-19 vaccine. We also have a downloadable version of our privacy FAQs. Question: Does it matter what type … Continue Reading

To mandate or not? FAQs on mandatory vaccine programs for employers

Late last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) issued the first approvals for a COVID-19 vaccine. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) issued guidance on the interplay between federal anti-discrimination law and vaccine-related issues, including the permissibility of mandatory employer vaccination policies. The below FAQs address some of … Continue Reading

Many NJ COVID-related Executive Orders set to expire July 4

On June 4, 2021, the New Jersey legislature passed legislation (A5820/S3866) enabling the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in place since March 9, 2020. Under the legislation, the majority of New Jersey’s COVID-19 related Executive Orders will lapse on July 4, 2021. The legislation specifically keeps fourteen Executive Orders in place until January 1, 2022 (which … Continue Reading

New York State provides supplemental guidance for its paid quarantine leave

As we previously reported, on March 18, 2020, New York State passed a law providing job protection and benefits to certain employees quarantined or isolated due to exposure to and/or infection with COVID-19. On January 20, the New York State Department of Labor issued supplemental guidance clarifying some important points for employers about complying with … Continue Reading

Virginia set to enact permanent COVID-19 workplace safety standard

On January 13, 2021, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI’s) Safety and Health Codes Board voted 9-4 to approve a permanent COVID-19 workplace safety standard, setting the stage for Virginia to become the first state in the nation to do so. In July 2020, DOLI’s Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program (VOSH) adopted … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor finalizes rule creating a new “reality” for classifying independent contractors

As we previously reported, this past September the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new rule that would create a uniform approach to the way companies classify workers as independent contractors or employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). More specifically, in the proposed rule, the DOL adopted the “economic reality” test, which … Continue Reading

Expanding the definition of sex: SCOTUS rules employers cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (U.S. Jun. 15, 2020), which held that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice … Continue Reading

Action items for employer task forces responding to novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads domestically in the United States, employers should take proactive action to address employee concerns regarding COVID-19, plan for the potential impact of its transmission at the workplace, and be ready to take action in the event of suspected or actual virus exposure at work. Centralized communication and planning: Employers … Continue Reading

New York state’s reproductive health law necessitates handbook revisions

New York state employers, it’s time to dust off and update your employee handbooks again.  Earlier this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law that protects employees against discrimination on the basis of their reproductive health decision-making. The law, which mirrors a recent bill passed by New York City lawmakers, also requires that employers in … Continue Reading

Gov. Newsom signs bill to expand CFRA rights

On October 10, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom officially signed a bill expanding protected leave rights under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to flight crew employees. We covered this issue in more detail here. The new law will allow flight crew employees to be eligible for CFRA protected leave with certain conditions.… Continue Reading
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