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.”

Continue Reading CDC Issues Reopening Guidance for Offices – “Change 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.

Continue Reading Selecting Employees for Recall or Rehire

Apparently inspired by the tidying up trend, the Department of Labor threw out two sections of its interpretation concerning the commission sales exemption from overtime that no longer gave it joy.  The commission sales exemption covers sales employees who are primarily paid by commission.  To come under the exemption, the employee must be employed in a “retail or service” establishment, must earn at least 1.5 times the minimum wage, and more than half the employee’s compensation for a representative period (not less than one month) must represent commissions.

Continue Reading DOL Streamlines Its Regulation Interpreting Commission Sales Exemption from Overtime

Various federal agencies have recently issued additional COVID-19 guidance of significance (more or less) to employers, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Some of this guidance applies to workplaces and employers generally, while others target specific industries, such as bars and restaurants, manufacturing, child care, schools, and mass transit. We summarize these developments below.

Continue Reading COVID-19 Agency Update: CDC and OSHA Issue Reopening Guidance, EEOC Explains Accommodation of High-Risk Workers, IRS Expands Employee Retention Credit, DOL Adds to FFCRA Q&As, FEMA Provides Exercise Starter Kit for Reopening

As businesses slowly begin to reopen, workers are being recalled to the workplace. Some of them are expressing reluctance to return due to increased health risks from COVID-19 based on underlying medical conditions or age. Others are struggling with child care issues as schools remain closed for the remainder of the academic year and summer care programs are canceled. Some employers have asked what are their obligations to such workers under the law? Can they terminate them, or do they have to accommodate them?

Continue Reading Recalled Workers Don’t Want to Return Because of Health Risks or Child Care – Now What?

By now we probably all have seen the YouTube Video of poor Danny, who finished his Zoom video meeting with his colleagues and forgot to end the call as he walked away from the screen, his colorful boxer short underwear in plain sight (along with his backscratching stretch to loosen his muscles).  Or the son of the late Steve Reeve of Superman fame (Will), a reporter who was spied at the end of a news piece he broadcasted from home without any suit pants! Ah, Danny and Will! But, other things are happening while employees work from home that raise concerns.  For example, the employee who during a conference call is slurring his speech as if intoxicated.

Continue Reading DWZ – Drinking While Zooming (And Other Telework Dilemmas)

During the past week or so, various federal agencies have issued additional COVID-19 guidance of significance (more or less) to employers, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). We summarize these developments below.

Continue Reading COVID-19 Agency Update: CDC and Essential Workers, EEOC and Non-Discrimination, OSHA and COVID-19 Recordkeeping/Enforcement, DOL and Unemployment Compensation Under CARES, and VETS and COVID-19 National Guard Service

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 Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law. This law makes sweeping changes to an employer’s legal obligations: (1) imposing a paid sick and safe leave (“PSL”) mandate for COVID-19-related reasons on most employers with fewer than 500 employees; (2) temporarily expanding coverage for school and child care closures associated with COVID-19 and imposing a paid leave requirement under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) on these same employers; (3) encouraging states to extend unemployment benefits for reasons associated with COVID-19; and (4) giving a payroll tax credit to employers for the paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave mandates.

While we had previously provided a summary of the Act as it was originally passed by the House, and then another on the House’s substantive “technical amendments” to the Act, we are now summarizing the final law here.


Continue Reading The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Has Been Signed Into Law– What This Means for Employers