Labor & Employment Law Blog

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On September 9, 2021, California’s Court of Appeal issued an important decision in Wesson v. Staples The Office Superstore, LLC (“Wesson”), holding that trial courts have discretion to strike claims brought under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) when a trial of the action would be unmanageable.  Unless the California Supreme Court grants review, Wesson will be binding upon California state courts and federal district courts.…
Since taking office, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has prioritized eliminating misclassification of employees as independent contractors.  In furtherance of this goal, on July 8, 2021, Governor Murphy signed four bills into law which make it easier for the state to (i) identify employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors, and (ii) penalize employers for such misclassification.  Highlights from each of these four laws are summarized below:…
On September 9, 2021, the White House released a memorandum titled “Path Out of the Pandemic,” which detailed President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan.  The memorandum contains six priorities for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, including a requirement that all employers with 100 or more employees must implement a vaccine mandate and/or require weekly testing of unvaccinated workers.…
On September 6, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that COVID-19 has been designated as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State’s HERO Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”). At the time of the publication of this article, the Commissioner of Health’s designation is only effective until September 30, 2021. On September 30, the Commissioner will review the level of COVID-19 transmission in the state and make a further determination.…
The American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) requires the full cost of COBRA premiums to be subsidized for COBRA continuation coverage during the period from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 (“Subsidy Period”) of certain assistance-eligible individuals (“AEI“) whose COBRA qualifying event was due to an involuntary termination or reduction in hours. Our prior blog post, COBRA Premium Assistance Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – What Employers Should Know, provides information about the ARPA COBRA subsidy and associated notice requirements. ARPA also required employers to comply with certain notice obligations, first at the outset of the…
Total Planetary Alignment. Halley’s Comet. A Full Solar Eclipse. Texas Enacting Heightened Employee Protections Beyond Federal Law. What are “things that rarely happen in your lifetime?” In Texas, the general rule is that employee-facing legal protections overlap with—and extend no further than—its federal counterparts. But newly-enacted state legislation concerning workplace sexual harassment has bucked that trend.…
On August 13, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed into law a bill amending the Illinois Freedom to Work Act governing restrictive covenants and non-competition agreements.  On May 30, 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill codifying existing noncompete law in some respects and modifying it in others.  We detailed the Bill in a prior blog here.  The Bill is now the law.  The amendments become effective on January 1, 2022 and will not apply retroactively.…
On Thursday, August 12, 2021, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) published an order strengthening the COVID-19 safety requirements applicable to many business establishments and event spaces in the City and County of San Francisco (the “Order”).  As outlined below, the Order requires significant new vaccine mandates for San Francisco businesses operating (1) Indoor Food and Drink and Fitness Facilities; (2) Large Outdoor and Indoor Events; and (3) High Risk Care or Living Settings and Other Health Care Facilities.…
As we have previously reported, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) was likely to undergo substantial policy changes under President Biden. This process began when President Biden took the unprecedented step of firing former General Counsel Robb before his four-year term had expired and continued as Peter Sung Ohr, the Acting General Counsel who was appointed to replace Robb, rescinded many of the more notable guidance memoranda Robb issued during his term.…
On August 3, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the “Key to NYC” program (“Key to NYC” or the “Program”), which implemented new mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for employees and patrons of certain indoor establishments in New York City.  Effective August 17, 2021, business entities covered under Key to NYC must require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for employees, patrons and most other individuals entering the premises, with certain limited exceptions (outlined below).  On August 17, 2021 (the Program’s effective date), the City simultaneously released new guidance and Frequently Asked Questions regarding how covered businesses may comply with…
On August 13, 2021, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) updated its “Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.”  The updated guidance, which does not apply to healthcare workplace settings covered by OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, reflects recent changes to the guidance for fully vaccinated individuals published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) on July 27, 2021.  Among the updates discussed below, the most notable changes are the modified recommendations for fully vaccinated employees.  OSHA advises that employers should use the guidance to ensure they protect…
What a difference three months makes.  In May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced that fully vaccinated individuals could forgo masks and social distancing requirements in most indoor and outdoor locations.  At that time, the Alpha variant was not all that transmissible in the fully vaccinated, and millions of vaccine shots were doled out each day.  But now, with the increasing spread of the transmissible Delta variant, the CDC has updated its guidance to recommend that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.…
On July 6, 2021 the U.S. State Department publicly announced that the travel ban waivers related to the world-wide pandemic will now be good for 1 year and multiple entry.  The effective date of this new decision is June 29, 2021.  Previously they were only good for 30 days and a single entry.  In addition, those that have received a waiver in the past may now use it for 12 months if it was granted after June 29, 2020.  See: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/extension-validity-for-nies-for-china-iran-brazil-south-africa-schengen-uk-ireland-india.html
In January 2020, Illinois legalized the use of recreational marijuana through the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“the Act”).  Two months later, many employees began working remotely because of the pandemic.  Today, work-from-home continues to blur the lines between “work” and “home” in countless ways, and employee drug policies are no exception.  The new world of remote work has left many employers wondering what to do with their drug policies now that cannabis is legal and their employees are remote or hybrid.  Can an employer lawfully prevent their employees from using cannabis while working from home?…
On July 16, 2021, Governor Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 150 into law, allowing certain owners of passthrough entities to find a way around the current $10,000 federal cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions for individuals.  The new law, applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021 and ending before January 1, 2026, allows for many partnerships, limited liability companies taxed as partnerships, and S-Corporations to pay an entity level tax based on electing individual owners’ share of income, and then grants the owners a credit against California personal income tax for the full amount…
On July 21, 2021, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) issued a 3-1 decision affirming its precedent that displaying banners and a large inflatable rat (“Scabby the Rat”) near neutral employers does not violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “the Act”).  This decision may come as a disappointment to many employers as the NLRB under the Trump administration had been making efforts to end what many felt was unlawful secondary picketing under the Act.…