I’ve previously written about an employer’s obligation to accommodate service or emotional support animals in the workplace, as well as guidelines the employer should consider if it finds itself on the receiving end of such a request. At the time of that blog post, the EEOC had filed suit in the Northern District of Iowa alleging that a national trucking conglomerate failed to accommodate, refused to hire, and then retaliated against a veteran truck driver because he used a service dog, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). (The ADA both prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to such employees to enable them to perform their essential job functions or enjoy the privileges and benefits of employment.) That case ultimately resulted in a negotiated settlement and consent decree in March 2019. More recently, in July 2022, the EEOC filed suit against arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby alleging that it violated the ADA by refusing to provide reasonable accommodations and by terminating a cashier who relied upon a service dog to assist her with symptoms caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. Continue Reading Support/Service Animals in the Workplace – What Should Employers Do?
Last week the federal Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury issued joint FAQs that address questions regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and group health plans. The FAQs are particularly relevant to those employers considering whether to provide incentives or impose surcharges under their group health plans to encourage employees to become vaccinated. Here’s what employers need to know:
Continue Reading New Federal Agency Guidance on Vaccine Incentives and Surcharges: What Employers Should Know
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many employers have permitted or mandated telework arrangements for their employees. As more people become vaccinated and the number of new COVID-19 cases declines, however, those employers will likely begin to recall their employees to the office. Unsurprisingly, many employees have become accustomed to working from home over the past year, and enjoy the ability to wake up, throw on athleisure, and do a couple loads of laundry as they go about their workday. This begs the question: is an employer obligated to permit an employee to telework simply because the employee finds working from home more preferable, desirable, or convenient than going to the office? A federal judge in the District of Columbia recently said “no.”
Continue Reading Employees Don’t Get to Telework Just Because They Want To…
In its first opinion letter of 2021, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) addressed a hot topic that seems to frequently trip up employers: exemption from the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The DOL’s opinion letters are official, written opinions by the Department’s Wage and Hour Division that respond to fact-specific scenarios. In this letter, the DOL considered whether account managers employed by a life science products manufacturer are exempt under the FLSA’s administrative employee exemption. Although the DOL’s conclusion is limited to the particular set of facts presented, this letter serves as helpful guidance for any employer that employs individuals in an account manager role.
Continue Reading Are Your Account Managers Properly Classified as Exempt Under the FLSA?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have implemented flexible work schedules for a litany of reasons including, for example, to limit the number of employees in the office at any given time, to allow employees to obtain medical care for themselves and their family members, and simply to give employees the opportunity to handle the new, daily challenges brought about by this pandemic. As a result, many employees find themselves splitting their time between working from home and working from the office – sometimes on alternating days, and sometimes in the course of a single day. This practice, which is by no means new, but has certainly become more prevalent over the past year, raises the question as to whether travel time on a partial telework day is compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
Continue Reading Paying Employees for Travel Time on A Partial Telework Day? The U.S. Department of Labor Weighs in…
In addition to the voluntary extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s paid leave provisions, which we discussed in our December 22, 2020 E-lert, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (the Act), included in the massive (5593 page) stimulus bill signed into law on December 27, 2020, expands or extends relief benefits under the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, discussed in our March 27, 2020 and March 30, 2020 E-lerts. Specifically, the Act clarifies the tax treatment of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, permits second PPP loans to certain borrowers, expands eligibility for first PPP loans, adds to the list of forgivable expenses; expands the employee retention credit, and extends enhanced unemployment benefits.
Continue Reading Beyond Voluntary Paid Leave: What Are the Other Employment-Related Provisions of the Coronavirus Relief Act?
The Centers for Disease Control recently updated its guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting, including those that apply to employers. These guidelines address proper disinfectant techniques and solutions, and specifically advise how to clean soft surfaces (i.e., carpeted floors, rugs, and drapes), electronics, and laundry. The CDC’s guidelines also address the appropriate steps to take if an individual in your building or facility tests positive for COVID-19.
Continue Reading Updated Workplace Cleaning Guidelines from the CDC and a New OSHA Poster!
On July 15, 2019, the EEOC opened the online portal that employers should utilize to submit the 2017 and 2018 pay data required by the revised EEO-1 form.
Continue Reading EEOC Opens Online Portal For 2017 and 2018 Pay Data Collection
As promised, today we give you and third and final installment of our three-part series addressing the new opinion letters issued by the U.S. Department of Labor on July 1, 2019. To read about the other letters issued by the DOL, check out this blog post and this blog post. The final opinion letter, FLSA2019-9, addresses permissible rounding practices for calculating the number of hours worked by an employee.
Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Opinion Letters: Part Three – Rounding Hours
In our last blog post, we revealed a three-part series intended to address the new opinion letters issued by the U.S. Department of Labor on July 1, 2019. The second of these opinion letters, FLSA2019-8, addresses whether paralegals employed by a trade organization are exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements under Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA – an issue of admittedly more limited interest, except as to employers of such individuals.
Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Opinion Letters: Part Two – Paralegals