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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

Supreme Court poised to hear oral arguments in blockbuster LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination cases

On October 8, 2019, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in three landmark LGBTQ+ rights cases, which could broaden protections for the LGBTQ+ community by prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation, transgender-status, or gender identity under federal law. Currently, conflicting federal cases and shifts in interpretation and policies at … Continue Reading

California leads the way in passing landmark legislation to classify gig workers as employees

As we have previously reported here, California Assembly Bill 5 (the bill) is slated to codify the California Supreme Court’s 2018 landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, requiring companies to apply the “ABC” test in classifying their workers. The ABC test requires that workers be considered “employees” instead of … Continue Reading

Is extreme obesity a physical characteristic or a disability?

Imagine you are a human resources professional or in-house employment counsel and you learn that an employee in your organization is seeking a job transfer or other accommodation because with a body weight of almost 600 pounds, he is too overweight to do his present job. What do you do? A recent decision from the … Continue Reading

New York bolsters workplace safeguards for domestic violence victims

Following New York City’s lead, New York state and Westchester County have each enacted laws providing additional workplace protections to victims of domestic violence. In this post, we will discuss these new laws and their impact on your business. New York state: Last month, Governor Cuomo signed legislation amending the state’s antidiscrimination laws with respect … Continue Reading

Pittsburgh employers: Immediately review your policies concerning the new Paid Sick Days Act

In 2015, the City of Pittsburgh enacted the Paid Sick Days Act (the “Act”), requiring all private employers of full or part-time employees within the City of Pittsburgh to provide paid sick leave benefits as follows: Employers with 15 or more employees must provide workers with up to 40 hours of paid sick time per … Continue Reading

New York’s highest court holds that home health aides are not entitled to 24-hour pay

Recently, New York’s highest state court, the Court of Appeals, held that the New York Labor Law (NYLL) does not automatically entitle New York home health care providers to wages for each hour worked during a 24-hour shift. The ruling is the result of an appeal of two state court class actions in which home … Continue Reading

Tell everybody: Confidentiality clauses may violate employees’ section 7 rights

In a recent decision issued on March 21, 2019, an administrative law judge (ALJ) held that confidentiality clauses in arbitration agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act (the Act). Specifically, the ALJ held that such provisions run afoul of section 8(a)(1) of the Act, and unlawfully require a waiver of employees’ rights under section 7 … Continue Reading

New Jersey bans NDAs and certain waivers of rights in agreements with employees

On March 18, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed new legislation (S121) that significantly impacts the scope of certain employment agreements and settlement agreements between employers and employees/former employees. The controversial legislation addresses the following: Ban on waiver of substantive and procedural rights in employment contracts related to discrimination, harassment or retaliation claims The … Continue Reading
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