The U.S. Department of Labor recently highlighted a federal court ruling that private arbitration agreements will not prevent the federal Secretary of Labor from bringing suit against an employer for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (and presumably other federal laws within the DOL’s jurisdiction, like the Family and Medical Leave Act).

Continue Reading Employers Beware! Private Arbitration Agreements Won’t Stop DOL Lawsuits

Here’s another installment in our occasional series on the I-can’t-believe-they-did-that actions of employees. Now, I know that there’s a more common term for these types of pictures of a guy’s personal junk, but one of my law partners (let’s call her “Lulu,” shall we?) insisted that I not use it. Even with asterisks. So … let’s see what lessons we can draw from this situation, shall we? Beyond the obvious, of course.

Continue Reading Extraordinary Employee Misconduct: No Pics of Your Privates at Work!

As many employers implement a COVID-19 vaccination-or-weekly-testing mandate (soon to be required of all employers with 100+ employees, as we discussed here), a recurring issue is whether the time that employees spend getting that weekly test must be paid under federal and state wage and hours laws. And the answer is a lawyerly, “Well, it depends.” (Of course).

Continue Reading Do Employers Have to Pay For COVID-19 Testing Time?

A day after President Biden announced his COVID-19 Action Plan (which we discussed here), leaders from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration held a short briefing to discuss its forthcoming Emergency Temporary Standard that will require employers with 100+ employees to (1) mandate vaccinations or weekly testing, and (2) provide paid vaccination leave. The President’s announcement regarding these requirements was sorely lacking in details, but the OSHA briefing provided a few (not many) useful tidbits for nervously wondering employers.  (Be aware, however, that the ETS is not yet written, and it is possible that some of what they said today might not end up being accurate….)
Continue Reading A Few More Answers from OSHA on the Impending Vaccination ETS…

An issue that we’ve run into recently is what to do about employees who are vaccinated – but not with one of the FDA-approved vaccines (whether under Emergency Use Authorization (Moderna and J&J) or regular approval (Pfizer-BioNTech)). Perhaps they are participating in a clinical trial or maybe they were vaccinated in another country. Employers are wondering – is this really a valid vaccine? Can we require employees to go get a “real” vaccine?

Continue Reading Foreign COVID Vaccinations and Clinical Trials? What Employers Need to Know

And I’m pretty darned sure that many employers feel the same way. This issue has been coming up a lot lately with the burgeoning requests for medical exemptions in the context of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.  TO BE CLEAR,  I am NOT questioning those employees with actual medical conditions that legitimately prevent them from getting a vaccine – I’m talking about those folks who just don’t want the shot, and get their doctors to write some nonsense note that has no actual basis in medical fact.  And frankly, this has been an issue generally beyond the vaccine. (It even showed up in my recent blog post about the employee who wanted to bring his dog to work).  So what can we do?

Continue Reading I’m Tired of Doctors Who Just Say Whatever the Employee Wants…

Trying to stay on top of federal workplace guidance on COVID-19 is confusing and challenging for employers, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just changed the playing field again – although the new guidance is intended to conform with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently-revised recommendations for fully-vaccinated individuals (as discussed in our August 4, 2021 blog post).

Continue Reading Again? What Employers Need to Know About OSHA’s Latest Update to Its COVID-19 Workplace Guidance

Some readers may know that I have an adorable dog. A lifelong dog-hater, we got the dog as a bribe for my son (long story), and now I love the darned thing. There are days that he is the only one in the family that I love. And it’s been great, in this year+ of WFH, to have him nearby at all times.  Many people agree – and some would like to take their fur babies to the office when they return. But, as one court recently explained, that’s only required if the dog is, in fact, a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act – and there must be medical support for such an accommodation.

Continue Reading Love Me, Love My Dog? Maybe Not at Work…

As part of his COVID-19 vaccination push, President Biden recently announced that (among other things) the program that reimburses certain employers for providing paid leave to employees for particular COVID-19-related reasons would be expanded to include leave to get family/household members vaccinated (and, although not part of the Presidential statement, to care for them if they experience adverse effects to the vaccine). So I’ve been trying to figure out how this actually worked.

Continue Reading Small/Mid-Size Employers May Be Reimbursed for Paid Family Vaccination Leave!

As we discussed in our May 14, 2021 blog post, “Back to Normal for the Fully Vaccinated? What the CDC’s Latest Guidance Means for Employers,” the CDC had previously stated that fully-vaccinated individuals could essentially resume their pre-pandemic, maskless lifestyles, subject to applicable state or local mandates. But the CDC also stated that those individuals were still required to comply with workplace requirements. Given the rapid spread of COVID-19’s Delta variant and the increase in cases, particularly in areas of low vaccination rates, the CDC has now revised its guidance. So what does this mean for employers?

Continue Reading Masks Redux? What Employers Need to Know About the Latest Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals from the CDC