Nearly two months after President Biden unveiled his COVID-19 Action Plan, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that requires all employers with at least 100 employees to establish, implement, and enforce a written policy mandating that each employee either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing and wear face coverings indoors. OSHA clarifies that the ETS is meant to strongly encourage employers to stipulate that its employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but includes a narrow testing and face covering exception—at least for now.
The California state rules, which became effective June 15, 2021 (California’s “reopening”), eliminate capacity restrictions and social distancing and also permit fully vaccinated individuals to stop wearing masks in most situations.
Continue Reading California Return to Work: Finally, New Revisions to the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards
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.”
Continue Reading Is Wi-Fi Sickness a Disability? California Appellate Court Holds That It Is Under FEHA
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.
Continue Reading California Employment Law Alert: New Employment Laws Effective On or Before January 1, 2021
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.
Election Day is not a national holiday; therefore, federal law does not mandate employers provide employees with time off to vote. Employers must assess their obligations under state law as to whether their employees can leave work to vote and, if so, whether they must pay employees for time spent at the polls. More than half of states require employers to provide employees time off from work to vote. Of those states, the law varies as to how much time is allotted and whether that time is paid or unpaid. Some states’ laws are subject to further caveats, for example, proof a ballot was cast. Employers should also ensure their handbook’s time-off provisions are consistent with their state’s voting rights. For example, in Texas, an employee has the right to take paid time off to vote on Election Day. If, however, the employee has at least two consecutive hours off of work while the polls are open, the employer need not allow the employee to leave in the middle of his or her shift.
Continue Reading Election Day Obligations: What Employers Need to Know
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.
Continue Reading Michigan Employers and Employees Enjoy New Protections After Governor Whitmer Signs New Laws
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).
In its proposed rule, the DOL has created a new framework for the well-established “economic reality” independent contractor test. This test is used to determine whether the individual is truly in business for themselves (an independent contractor) or is economically dependent on their employer for work (an employee).
Continue Reading To Be or Not to Be (An Independent Contractor): DOL Seeks to Clarify Independent Contractor Test in Landmark Proposed Rule
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.
Continue Reading California Expands Workplace Protections Related to COVID-19 by Enacting Two Statutes Regarding Notice Requirements and Workers’ Compensation Coverage
The EEOC has been regularly updating its Technical Assistance Questions and Answers entitled “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.” This guidance is only valid during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was most recently updated on September 8, 2020. While the full guidance is worth a thorough read by HR professionals and attorneys, the following summarizes ten key highlights from the EEOC’s guidance:…
Continue Reading 10 Things You Should Know About the EEOC’s COVID-19 Guidance
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) generally requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to eligible employees for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19. On September 9, 2020, California’s Governor Newsom signed AB 1867. This law expands access to paid sick leave (“Coronavirus PSL”) to California workers employed by entities with 500 or more employees in the United States.
Continue Reading California Expands Coronavirus Paid Sick Leave with the Enactment of AB 1867