In this new pandemic world, employers are grappling with many questions. One of them is when can they require employees to provide the results from any COVID-19 tests that they have taken, in the context of granting leave and returning to work.
On August 5, 2020, the EEOC released technical assistance documents for employees and health care providers on opioid addiction and employment. The documents provide questions and answers about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees who use legal opioid medications or have past addiction to opioids. Of particular significance, the EEOC asserts that employees currently in treatment for opioid addiction are protected by the ADA – thereby officially endorsing a position that they have previously asserted on a less formal basis.
President Trump issued, on August 8, 2020, Memoranda and Executive Orders concerning unemployment insurance, payroll tax withholding, evictions, and student loans. Below, we discuss the two employment-related Presidential Memoranda (which have been incorrectly designated Executive Orders in the media, although there is little technical distinction between the two). Neither requires immediate action by employers.
In a decision potentially impacting all employers covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), a federal court upended some of the employer-friendly limitations set forth in the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) implementing regulations (i.e. the “Final Rule”): (1) the work-availability requirement, (2) the broad exemption for health care providers, (3) employer approval of intermittent leave, and (4) the documentation requirement. Below, we first summarize the Court’s decision and then discuss the practical effect of this decision on employers.
In light of the global racial justice movement, I know that all major (and most not-so-major) corporations are thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion right now. They are promoting DE&I initiatives in the workplace, and proudly trumpeting their activities to their workforce and the public. And that’s good, because this is an important issue. But what’s not good is when companies rush in blindly, because those anti-discrimination initiatives can (ironically) end up violating the anti-discrimination laws!
On July 21, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) issued what it described as “a long overdue” decision eliminating unwarranted protection for employees who engage in obscene, racist, and sexually harassing behavior under the guise of protected concerted activity.
On July 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued additional Q&A resources to provide guidance to employers on COVID-19-related issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). While much of the guidance reiterates general principles under each of these laws, they offer some interesting insights on a few issues specific to COVID-19.
I was distracted from all things COVID by a judge in New York who defended his use of the “C” word to describe a female attorney with the explanation that he meant it as a compliment! Let’s pause for a moment, shall we? That level of twisted logic defies all rational thought. Particularly from a judge – someone we generally (and reasonably) expect to exhibit and promote appropriate behaviors (which includes not being sexist. Just saying.)
We just got a call from a client who was notified by the state of a claim for unemployment benefits for one of their employees. Actually, their CEO. Who is still employed. And who therefore had not filed a claim for benefits. Unfortunately, they were the victims of a scam involving fraudulent unemployment benefits claims.
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.