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Dykema Labor & Employment Law Blog

Dykema Labor & Employment Law Blog

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Is Wi-Fi Sickness a Disability? California Appellate Court Holds That It Is Under FEHA

Is Wi-Fi sickness a disability? The California Court of Appeal just said it is in Brown v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2d Dist., Div. Eight), Case No. B294240. In a case that tests the limits of California’s liberal pleading standard, the appellate court green-lighted a claim of a woman who asserted a disability of “electromagnetic hypersensitivity,” or, as the concurring justice put it, “Wi-Fi sickness.” Read More ›

Whistle While You Work: Congress Strengthens Protections for Employees Reporting Antitrust Violations

The President recently signed into law the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act (S. 2258) (116th Cong. (2020)), which amends the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004. It grants stronger protections to employees who come forward with claims of antitrust violations. Specifically, the law prohibits employers from discharge, demotion, or suspension, as well as any discrimination against any employee who assists in a government antitrust investigation. Read More ›

California Employment Law Alert: New Employment Laws Effective On or Before January 1, 2021

The emergence of COVID-19 has changed the workplace as we once knew it. California employers need to be prepared for unprecedented compliance challenges in recent legislation related to the ongoing pandemic, expanding leave protections, wage and hour compliance risks, and much more. Employers will need to review and adapt their policies and procedures in order to keep up in the coming year with California’s ever-changing employment laws. Read More ›

EEOC Issues Technical Assistance Regarding Vaccination and Anti-Discrimination Laws

Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the promise of an effective vaccine has been held out as a key component to a return to normality. Now, with the Pfizer vaccine approved, and the Moderna vaccine on the path to approval shortly, employers have begun struggling to determine what their legal obligations are towards employees who refuse to be vaccinated. While we have addressed these issues recently in a Dec. 16 webinar, the EEOC issued guidance to employers in the form of a Technical Assistance Bulletin to clarify how employers should address employee objections to vaccination that arise under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. While that guidance is not binding upon employers or the Courts, it is nonetheless useful to employers contemplating the legal restrictions that may exist in addressing vaccination in the workplace. Read More ›

The CDC’s New Definition of “Close Contact”: What You Need To Know

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded the definition of close contact to now evaluate exposure cumulatively over a 24-hour period such that “15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation,”[1] Because the newly expanded definition is not limited, it impacts many different industries (including transportation and logistics, health care, automotive, manufacturing, and educational industries) and different persons (e.g., first responders, health care professionals, customer-facing employees, and others). As winter is coming and the holiday season is upon us, the CDC’s new “close contact” definition greatly impacts all workers, employers, and workplaces, as everyone now needs to evaluate physical distancing in smaller, repetitive increments of time. Read More ›

Election Day Obligations: What Employers Need to Know

As Election Day quickly approaches in the highly anticipated presidential and congressional elections, employers are faced with a slew of questions about their employees’ rights on November 3 and beyond. Read More ›

Michigan Employers and Employees Enjoy New Protections After Governor Whitmer Signs New Laws

On October 22, in a display of bipartisan politics, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed four new COVID-19 and employment related bills into law which together provide employer immunity from liability from COVID-19 related claims and protections for employees affected by COVID-19.  Read More ›

Michigan Issues Emergency COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rules With Immediate Effect

The Emergency Rules Were Issued In Response to the Michigan Supreme Court’s Decision Invalidating Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders

The Michigan Supreme Court’s decision that Governor Whitmer lacked the power to extend her declaration of emergency past April 30, 2020 resulted in the invalidation of numerous emergency orders, including those that imposed specific obligations upon employers to provide workplaces safe from potential coronavirus exposure. To fill that gap, on Wednesday, October 14, the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity issued emergency rules under the state Administrative Procedures Act that impose several requirements upon employers in the state of Michigan. Those rules, which are issued under Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Act, are effective immediately and remain in effect for six months. Read More ›

California Expands Workplace Protections Related to COVID-19 by Enacting Two Statutes Regarding Notice Requirements and Workers’ Compensation Coverage

On September 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills that expanded worker protections related to COVID-19. AB 685 imposes reporting requirements related to when employees are exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace. SB 1159 codifies Governor Newsom’s Executive Order providing workers’ compensation insurance coverage to employees who test positive for COVID-19 in connection with their employment between March 19 and July 5, 2020, and creating a new framework for workers’ compensation coverage for employees who test positive for COVID-19 after July 5, 2020. Read More ›

To Be or Not to Be (An Independent Contractor): DOL Seeks to Clarify Independent Contractor Test in Landmark Proposed Rule

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its first-ever proposed rule outlining a test for when a worker is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Read More ›