As offices and other workplaces reopen, employers are struggling with the issue of masks and face coverings in the workplace. There has been much confusion about whether and when cloth face coverings are required, and what are an employer’s obligations with regard to their use.
Several federal agencies have recently issued additional COVID-19 guidance of interest to employers, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Small Business Administration (SBA). We summarize these developments below.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Agency Update: OSHA Issues Guidance on Reopening for Non-Essential Businesses; EEOC Addresses Antibody Testing and Reasonable Accommodations, Harassment and Discrimination; SBA Provides New PPP Application
In a landmark ruling, a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII’s prohibition on “sex discrimination” in employment encompasses sexual orientation and gender identity.
The killing of George Floyd, an African American, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer, was a tragic moment in our country’s history. It has sparked weeks of public protests in cities and states across the U.S. Individuals have gone to the streets to voice their concerns about the issues of racial injustice in American society. While police brutality may be at the forefront, the movement is aimed at shedding light on all areas of racial inequality. Many high-profile figures, from politicians to stars to professional athletes, have been vocal about their condemnation of racial bias. They have further indicated in no uncertain terms that any individual, company, or organization that remains silent on issues of racial inequality is in fact complacent and part of the problem.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a great deal of discussion – and confusion – about the use of masks and face coverings and respirators. Are they personal protective equipment (PPE)? Who should use them? Who must use them? Should employers provide them? Must employers provide them? Which one should employers provide? Should employers provide training on their use? Must employers providing training? And on and on…
Today, the President signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (“the Act”) into law, making key modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program.
As the United States still struggles with testing capacity for active COVID-19 infections, employers are increasingly asking “may we require our employees be tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies?” This is particularly true following the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position that employers were permitted to test for the presence of active COVID-19 infection, set forth in its What You Should Know About COVID-19 resource (Q&A 6).
Without fanfare on May 27, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance for employers of office workers (as well as updated guidance for restaurants and bars). This is the first guidance that is targeted at white collar workers, with the message that employers will need to “[c]hange the way people work.”
In the COVID-19 recession, many employers made reductions in force en masse, thus avoiding selection decisions that might be challenged as discriminatory. If the same employers recall or rehire employees en masse, they will continue to avoid such decisions. But what if the employer’s need to recall or rehire is partial or gradual, such that some employees are brought back before others? Such choices can give rise discrimination claims. To protect itself, an employer will need to apply and document a non-discriminatory method of choosing among employees.
Bonuses, shift differentials, hazard pay, commissions and other add-ons do not preclude use of the fluctuating workweek method of computing overtime, according to a U.S. Department of Labor interpretive regulation issued May 20, 2020.