Although the State of Michigan announced several weeks ago that employers would be permitted to require employees to return to “in-person” work, the emergency rules issued by MIOSHA prohibiting in-person work remained in place. Those emergency rules were rescinded earlier today and replaced with a new set of emergency rules that will remain in effect until October 14, 2021.

Continue Reading MIOSHA Issues Revised Emergency Rules Governing Return To Work

While many Americans are receiving their $1,400 payments from the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”), signed into law on March 11, 2021, employers should be paying attention to the somewhat buried language regarding Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”) tax credits.

Continue Reading Hidden in the American Rescue Plan Act: More Reasons for Employees To Take FFCRA Leave and More Time for Employers To Receive Tax Credits

On March 8, President Biden took his first steps in reversing the Trump Administration’s Title IX policy by issuing an Executive Order 14021 (“Order”) directing the Secretary of Education to review the Title IX rules issued by the Trump Administration.

Continue Reading Change is Near: What the Biden Executive Order Means for Title IX Misconduct Claims

On March 2, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-34, ending Texas’ statewide mask mandate and allowing all businesses to operate at 100% capacity. The Executive Order will take effect on March 10, 2021, giving employers approximately a week to decide how their operations and policies will change, or if they will change, as a result of the Reopening Order.

Continue Reading What Does Governor Abbott’s “Reopening Texas” Executive Order Mean For Texas Employers?

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 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.

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

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

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.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Technical Assistance Regarding Vaccination and Anti-Discrimination Laws

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.
Continue Reading The CDC’s New Definition of “Close Contact”: What You 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.

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