On September 19, 2020, California’s new law requiring large employers to provide employees with COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“CSPSL”) becomes effective.  The new CSPSL requirement will be codified as Labor Code section 248.1 and was enacted via Assembly Bill (AB) 1867, which Governor Newsom signed into law on September 9, 2020.  In addition to addressing other leave and COVID-19 related items, AB 1867 also codified the existing CSPSL requirements for certain food sector workers under Executive Order N-51-20 as new Labor Code section 248.  In an effort to get employers up to speed on both section 248 and…
On Sunday, September 13, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order, the next in a series of Executive Orders targeting the pharmaceutical industry, which aims to lower prescription drug prices in the United States (the “Order”).  The order repealed and replaced a similar Executive Order, which was previously signed on July 24, 2020 but was held back from release by the Trump administration, and follows the signing of the Buy American Executive Order mandating the purchase of U.S.-manufactured drugs that we analyzed here.…
The changes brought about by evolutions in renewable energy technologies, and in some cases aggravated by the impacts of COVID-19, are likely to up-end traditional relationships between different forms of energy and the customers that use them. These changes are significantly impacting not just competitors, but their contract counter-parties, the risks they face, their credit-worthiness and their customers. Renewable generation equipment’s cost continues to decline. Output from solar and wind is available at $0 short-term incremental dispatch cost. Battery research is identifying ways to lengthen the duration of output from that form of storage, and to lower its cost. But…
Hiring employees does not usually call to mind international trade compliance obligations. However, together U.S. export controls and anti-discrimination laws create a web that is overlooked or misunderstood by many types of employers of all sizes across many industries. Anti-discrimination laws prohibit unlawful citizenship status restrictions when hiring, and U.S. export controls prohibit disclosing controlled information to foreign nationals without authorization. Together, these law limit acceptable job descriptions and hiring practices.…
Unions have long sought to avoid the NLRB’s election process, relying instead upon so-called “neutrality” agreements to obtain initial recognition by employers and legally enforceable rights to represent and bargain on behalf of previously unrepresented employees.  Although truly neutral pre-recognition “neutrality agreements,” i.e. those calling for an employer to be neutral on the subject of unionization and little more, are lawful, many such agreements go beyond mere neutrality and venture into actual employer support of organizing.  This may render such agreements unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRB or Act) because they interfere with employees’ rights under the Act. …
On September 14, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an update on the status of its Software Precertification (Pre-Cert) Program.  It is the only public update on the program in 2020.  According to the update, FDA will continue to evaluate its Pre-Cert program, which currently is only in pilot form.  Perhaps disappointing to many companies, the update did not suggest that FDA will be adding new participants to the pilot program at this time, nor did it signal that the program would be fully operational anytime soon.…
On August 31, both houses of the California legislature passed and sent to Governor Newsom for signature the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (the CCFPL).  Effective on January 1, 2021 if Governor Newsom signs the bill (which he is expected to do), the Department of Business Oversight will be replaced by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI).  Much of the law comes directly from Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, with a particular focus on consumer protection.  While the DBO has authority to enforce specific laws, the focus of the DFPI will be on the kinds of products…
On September 15, 2020, the Army Corps of Engineers published proposed revisions to a wide range of Nationwide Permits (NWP) issued under the Clean Water Act.  The revisions respond to Executive Order 13783, directing heads of federal agencies to review existing regulations that potentially burden development or use of domestically produced energy resources.  Accordingly, the proposed revisions affect NWPs commonly utilized by utility-scale wind and solar energy projects throughout the country.  The Corps will accept comments on the proposed revisions until November 16, 2020.  Here are highlights from the proposed revisions. NWP 12: Utility Line Activities As issued in 2017,…
On September 15, 2020, the Army Corps of Engineers published proposed revisions to a wide range of Nationwide Permits (NWP) issued under the Clean Water Act.  The revisions respond to Executive Order 13783, directing heads of federal agencies to review existing regulations that potentially burden development or use of domestically produced energy resources.  Accordingly, the proposed revisions affect NWPs commonly utilized by utility-scale wind and solar energy projects throughout the country.  The Corps will accept comments on the proposed revisions until November 16, 2020.  Here are highlights from the proposed revisions.…
On September 10, 2020, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued the latest in a series of circulars regarding corporate compliance released this summer by government agencies. In June, the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued updated guidance regarding its evaluation of corporate compliance programs (see our prior blog here). In July, DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) jointly issued an updated Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which includes a 12-part section covering the “hallmarks” of effective corporate compliance programs. The instant CFTC guidance is the first issued by…
Most employers are expected to pass on the IRS’ offer to temporarily delay collecting Social Security taxes.  For background, both employers and employees are generally required to pay a Social Security tax at a flat rate of 6.2% (for a total of 12.4%) on all wages.  In a separate article from our Corporate and Securities Blog, we discussed how the CARES Act allows employers to delay paying the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes.…
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout the United States and Americans anxiously await the arrival of a vaccine, biotech companies are grappling with the uncertainty of patent protection for COVID related biomedical advances and, as a result, are turning to trade secret protection instead.  For policy-makers looking to incentivize the search for the magic bullet of an effective vaccine, this raises tough questions:  What is the best policy or mix of policies to incentivize industry and stimulate a rapid, effective vaccine?  And should that policy tilt towards sharing information or towards protecting monetary incentives?  This article addresses the limitations on…
An amendment to the CCPA recently passed through the legislature, adding some much needed clarity to HIPAA-regulated entities, research institutions and other life science and medical device companies. CCPA in its current form left open uncertainty for business associates, de-identified information, and information collected in the course of medical research. AB 713 helps clarify certain exemptions and applicability of CCPA to organizations in the health and research space.…
As if 2020 hasn’t caused enough hardship and headaches for employers already, the FBI and U.S. Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) recently issued a joint Cybersecurity Advisory Alert warning employers about the rise in voice phishing, or “vishing,” scams targeting remote workers. With the mass shift to large-scale work-from-home environments, cybercriminals and hacker groups are employing increasingly creative tactics to take advantage of weakened security protocols and overly trusting employees.  Before the pandemic and the sudden increase in remote workforces, vishing scams were not uncommon.  However, they were largely targeted at vulnerable individuals and/or via personal attacks, such as a…
Most employers are expected to pass on the IRS’ offer to temporarily delay collecting Social Security taxes.  For background, both employers and employees are generally required to pay a Social Security tax at a flat rate of 6.2% (for a total of 12.4%) on all wages.  In a separate article from our Corporate and Securities Blog, we discussed how the CARES Act allows employers to delay paying the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes. The Presidential Memorandum dated August 8, 2020 (the “Memorandum”) and IRS Notice 2020-65 (the “Notice”) now allows employers to delay collecting the employee’s portion of…