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RSS feed iconArticles on workplace-related issues from newspapers and Internet news sources around the country.

June 18, 2021

Labor and Employment Rulemaking Prominent in President Biden’s First Regulatory Agenda

Source: Jim Paretti, Littler

On June 11, 2021, the federal government released its unified federal regulatory agenda for spring 2021, which outlines regulatory and deregulation actions agencies expect to take in the coming months.

Can an Employer Grant FMLA Leave, but Also Discipline an Employee for Failing to Timely Report the Absence?

Source: Jeff Nowak , Littler

I’ve often wondered — in fact, even discussed with clients — whether an employer could safely approve an employee’s FMLA-related absence and discipline the employee because he failed to timely report the absence.

Delays to H-1B Rules Changes, Administration Advises

Source: Jessica K. Lang , JacksonLewis

Citing the need to adequately assess their potential impact, the Biden Administration seeks to delay, or reverse, in some cases, a triumvirate of rules issued by the previous administration aimed to dramatically change the H-1B process.

President Biden Signs Juneteenth Bill Into Law, Making June 19 a Federal Holiday

Source: Danielle Ochs, Ogletree Deakins

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, making June 19 a legal public holiday. Juneteenth is the day that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States.

June 17, 2021

Ask these 10 questions to find out if your hybrid workplace could be toxic

Source: Rachel Pelta, Ladders

Switching over to a hybrid workplace takes thoughtful planning and careful execution. To help employees and job seekers better navigate the post-pandemic work world, FlexJobs has identified 10 red flags that could indicate a hybrid workplace is toxic.

Oregon Updates and Expands the Oregon Family Leave Act

Source: Kelly S. Riggs, Ogletree Deakins

On June 8, 2021, Governor Kate Brown signed into law House Bill (HB) 2474, amending the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) to update and expand the law’s eligibility and leave provisions.

Ninth Circuit Reverses $100+ Million Wage Statement Ruling Against Walmart

Source: Jesse C. Ferrantella, Ogletree Deakins

Roderick Magadia was a former Walmart employee. In 2016, he filed a class action alleging violations of the California Labor Code’s wage statement and meal period requirements.

Naomi Osaka Shines Further Light on Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

Source: David Kim, HR Daily Advisor

Tennis star Naomi Osaka is not the first high-profile professional athlete to put mental health front and center in the public realm, but considering the timing and today’s climate, she may become the most significant.

June 16, 2021

Mandatory Vaccination Policy Lawsuit Update: Nurses Take a Shot Against Hospital, But Judge Jabs Back

Source: Andrew L. Metcalf, Ogletree Deakins

Many workplace leaders have been wondering, “Can we require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment?” According to a recent Ogletree Deakins benchmarking survey, most employers are not ready to implement mandatory vaccination policies, and 87.9 percent of employers reported that they currently do not plan to require workers to get the vaccine.

Are Your Minimum Wage Rates Summer Ready?

Source: Gina Gi , JacksonLewis

On January 1, 2021, California’s statewide minimum wage increased to $14 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $13 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.

D.C. Circuit Flips NLRB; Employer’s Alleged ‘Baseless’ Statements of Opinion Lawful

Source: Jessica M. Marsh, JacksonLewis

“Absent threats or promises, § 8(c) [of the National Labor Relations Act] unambiguously protects ‘any views, argument or opinion’ – even those that the agency finds misguided, flimsy, or daft,” the D.C. Circuit has held.

Mandatory Vaccination Policies Remain Hot Issue in the Healthcare Industry

Source: Dawn M. Irizarry, CDF Labor Law

On June 12, 2021, a federal judge in the Southern District of Texas dismissed a case filed by 116 hospital employees who challenged Houston Methodist Hospital’s (the “Hospital”) mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

June 15, 2021

Will Cal-OSHA’s Third Attempted Revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards Be A Charm or a Strike-Out?

Source: Kimberly M. Jansen, CDF Labor Law

On Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Cal-OSHA’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board held a special meeting to discuss new guidance from the California Department of Public Health as specifically related to face coverings in the workplace.

"OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare and Updates Guidance for All Industries," Jones Walker LLP Labor & Employment Client Alert

Source: Jane Heidingsfelder, Jones Walker

The long-awaited response from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to COVID-19 is finally here!

Workers are 'Rage Quitting' Their Jobs as a Tightening Labor Market Forces Employers to Take Note of Unfavorable Conditions and Low Pay

Source: Aine Cain, Entrepreneur

The phenomenon of rage-quitting is as old as work itself...But the American workforce seems to be primed for rage-quitting at the moment — especially hourly workers in low-wage occupations like retail, which make up a giant portion of the workforce. In fact, hourly workers made up 58.1% of the US workforce in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New York Amendments to HERO Act Give Labor Department, Employers More Time to Comply

Source: Jenifer Bologna, JacksonLewis

Amendments to New York’s Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act) give the state Department of Labor more time, until July 5, 2021, to create industry-specific model safety standards and to clarify when employers must implement required airborne infectious disease prevention plans.

June 14, 2021

More than half of employees have experienced significant damage to workforce health

Source: Esther Shein, MSN

The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting year of working from home have negatively impacted the health of 55% of the global workforce, according to new research from Gartner.

$102 Million Pay Stub, Meal Break Judgment Against Walmart Reversed

Source: Mia Farber, JacksonLewis

In a significant victory for California employers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a $102 million award against Walmart in a suit alleging that the retailer violated the California Labor Code’s wage statement and meal-break provisions.

New Secretary of Labor Hints at Increased Minimum Salary for Overtime Exemptions

Source: JacksonLewis

Will the DOL again seek to raise the minimum salary level for exempt “white collar” employees?

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard and Updated Voluntary Guidance for Other Industries

Source: Frederick Warren, FordHarrison

President Biden issued an executive order in January ordering the Department of Labor (DOL) to consider issuing an ETS for businesses to follow during the pandemic, and, if DOL deemed one necessary, to issue an ETS by March 15. The delay of almost three months has seen dramatic changes including millions of people vaccinated, states lifting restrictions, and the CDC loosening restrictions for fully vaccinated people.

June 11, 2021

Insurance Brokers and COVID-19 Shutdowns

Source: Edward F. LeBreton III , Jones Walker

In a recent case, Judge Barry Ashe gave a thorough summary of the Louisiana law for claims against insurance brokers for failing to obtain coverage for COVID-19 government mandated shutdowns.

OSHA Promulgates Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 for Healthcare Employers

Source: Courtney M. Malveaux, JacksonLewis

Fifteen months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has promulgated an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for healthcare employers. OSHA has published voluntary guidance for other industries.

Ready or not, back to the workplace we might go…

Source: Rosangela Sanfilippo Resumil , JacksonLewis

Enter Covid-19 – and most employers around the world were left without a choice: life threw remote work upon them and it became—in most instances—their only alternative...It might seem, then, that remote work is here to stay, at least for non-patient facing roles.

DHS Issues New Policies on Expedited Processing, Requests for Evidence, and More

Source: Forrest Read IV, JacksonLewis

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has announced several new USCIS policies meant to improve the legal immigration system, eliminate barriers, and reduce burdens on applicants.

June 10, 2021

Connecticut Amends Pay Equity Law, Requiring Disclosure of Wage Ranges to Applicants, Employees

Source: Tanya A. Bovée, JacksonLewis

Connecticut’s “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position,” which goes into effect on October 1, 2021, imposes new requirements on Connecticut employers to disclose the wage range for vacant positions to both job applicants and existing employees.

Montana Will Protect Off-Duty Use of Marijuana Next Year

Source: Catherine Cano, JacksonLewis

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation on May 18, 2021 that will provide protections for off-duty use of marijuana starting on January 1, 2022.

Ninth Circuit Offers Glimmer of Hope for Employers Against PAGA Suits

Source: Corey J Cabral, CDF Labor Law

The Ninth Circuit in Magadia v. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc., No. 19-16184 (May 28, 2021) (“Magadia”), recently provided what is perhaps the first hopeful road map for employers to defend themselves against PAGA claims.

For LGBTQ employees of color, sexual orientation is the biggest source of discrimination in the workplace

Source: Charisse Jones, MSN

While race and gender remain prime targets for bias, people of color who are also gay, lesbian or bisexual say sexual orientation is the biggest driver of discrimination they face in the workplace, according to a new study shared exclusively with USA TODAY.

U.S. Supreme Court Confirms Narrow Scope of Federal Computer Fraud Claim Often Used in Trade Secret Litigation

Source: James A Byars, Nexsen Pruet

On June 3, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), a cybercrime statute providing civil claims against someone who “exceeds authorized access” to a computer system to obtain trade secrets or other information, does not apply to employees or others who steal information from computer systems to which they had legitimate, technical access.

June 9, 2021

Spring into Summer and Fall Minimum Wage, Tipped, and Exempt Employee Pay Increases

Source: Paul Piccigallo, Littler

Minimum wage laws can affect businesses of all sizes, whether operating nationwide, in multiple jurisdictions, or only in one state, county, or city.

EEOC Hosts Virtual Hearing on Civil Rights Implications of COVID-19 Pandemic in the Workplace

Source: Ana C. Shields, JacksonLewis

In its first all-virtual/remote video-cast hearing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discussed workplace civil rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for employees and employers

Managing the Size and Structure of Your Post-Pandemic Workforce

Source: Michael L. Abitabilo, JacksonLewis

For employers, the decision to terminate an employee is never an easy one. Ripple effects, including the burden on remaining staff and a potential decrease in productivity, can be felt across the organization. Even in the best of times, termination decisions are fraught with innumerable risks, including the ever-present threat of litigation.

Despite Progressive Posturing, Amazon Ignores Workers' Rights | Opinion

Source: Ryan Girdusky, MSN

Mega-corporations nowadays avoid public scrutiny for their treatment of workers by adopting a woke social agenda. But public posturing doesn't change the fact that those corporations subject their employees to harsh conditions and work to prevent them from affecting corporate policy. Amazon is among the worst offenders.

June 8, 2021

The Labor Laws Your Boss Doesn't Want You To Know About

Source: Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wallstreet

While some legislation designed to regulate the workplace are well known, others — many of significant importance — are less so.

You Can’t Cure Your Employee’s Existential Crisis. But You Can Help.

Source: Clay Routledge, Harvard Business Review

The more managers understand and help support the existential needs of their employees, the more they’ll be able to retain workers and benefit from a workforce powered by meaning.

Georgia Prohibits COVID-19 ‘Vaccine Passports’ for Public Employers, Also Limiting Private Employers

Source: Emily S. Borna , JacksonLewis

While many states have issued orders prohibiting inquiries about an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status, Georgia has become the first to restrict public employers from requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment.

Not All Fun and Games? College Athletes May Soon Drive a Hard Bargain With Union Support

Source: Carolina A. Schwalbach, CDF Labor Law

On May 27, 2021, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced the College Athlete Right to Organize Act seeking to provide collective bargaining rights for college athletes. Specifically, the bill seeks to amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to define any college athlete as an employee, if they receive any direct compensation (inclusive of scholarships and other forms of financial aid).

June 7, 2021

Lactation Accommodations in California: 5 Steps to Ensuring Compliant Lactation Programs Policies

Source: Michael J. Nader, Ogletree Deakins

Now that many employees are getting vaccinated and returning to the workplace, it is a good time for California employers to review their lactation accommodation policies to ensure that they fully comply with the law.

President's FY 2022 Budget Proposal Boosts Labor and Employment Funding

Source: Jim Paretti , Littler

On May 28, President Biden released his $6 trillion budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year...President Biden’s budget includes two major proposals: the American Jobs Plan, which calls for new spending on infrastructure projects, and the American Families Plan, which calls for additional aid to low- and middle-income families.

H-2B Visas for Summer Season

Source: Jessica Feinstein

DHS announced in April that it will release 22,000 more H-2B visas for the summer season. Of those, 16,000 are available to returning workers and 6,000 are allotted to nationals from the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras)

11th Circuit Finds Employee Conduct May Lead to Termination Even Where the Conduct is the Result of Mental Illness

Source: Stefanie Mederos, Littler

On May 27, 2021, in Todd v. Fayette County School District, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the propriety of a school district’s decision to end a mentally ill teacher’s employment.

June 4, 2021

Gig Work, Contractor Status Land on EEOC’s Anti-Bias Radar

Source: Paige Smith, Bloomberg

The EEOC plans to tackle discrimination and harassment faced by workers who say they’ve been misclassified as independent contractors, an issue that’s drawn more attention with the proliferation of the gig economy.

Millions Of Women Haven't Rejoined The Workforce — And May Not Anytime Soon

Source: Andrea Hsu, NHPR

Labor economists say it's hard to point to any single reason why 1.8 million fewer women are in the labor force than before the coronavirus pandemic or why in a country that's now facing labor shortages, so many women remain unemployed.

5th Circuit Rejects Disability Discrimination Claim Based on Alcoholism

Source: Jacob J. Pritt, HR Daily Advisor

An employer wasn’t liable to a former employee who alleged he was terminated because of a disability, his alcoholism, the 5th Circuit recently decided. Although the appeals court didn’t directly address whether alcoholism qualified as a protected disability when it upheld a New Orleans-based district court ruling, the opinion offers guidance on how employers can avoid liability when discharging employees.

Amy Peck Discusses Extended I-9 Flexibility

Source: Amy Peck, JacksonLewis

Amy Peck discusses the implications of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) extending its I-9 verification flexibility in the wake of COVID-19 and best practices for ensuring compliance

June 3, 2021

How Workplace Rituals Can Strengthen Connection in a Virtual Community

Source: Annette Ferrara, Ideo

When COVID first sent office workers remote, many companies struggled with the decentralization and loneliness of virtual work. Thankfully, at the IDEO Chicago studio we had a secret weapon we knew would help us bring serendipity, joy, and creativity into the uncharted landscape of perpetual videoland: rituals.

The 2 Words the World's Best Bosses Don't Want to Hear

Source: LINDSAY BLAKELY, Inc.

Two-time founder and CEO Nicole Bernard Dawes knows how to make best-selling products. It starts with teaching your employees to develop opinions--and stand by them.

Massachusetts Employers Must Provide Up to 40 Hours of COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Source: Brian E. Lewis , JacksonLewis

Massachusetts has established a statewide mandate for employers to temporarily provide employees up to 40 hours of COVID-19 Massachusetts emergency paid sick leave (MA EPSL) when they are unable to work due to specific qualifying reasons related to the pandemic.

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down: EEOC Provides Much Anticipated Guidance Regarding Employee Vaccination Mandates and Incentives

Source: Bridget A. Blinn-Spears, Nexsen Pruet

Adding information to existing Q&A guidance, and coordinating with the newly updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the EEOC update provides some clarity on previously vague agency positions

Several COVID-19 Developments…

Source: Jennifer Shaw, Shaw Law Group

A few days pass over a long weekend, and there are a million (ok, not quite that many!) COVID-19 developments.

June 2, 2021

Biden’s Repeal of Trump-Era Gig Worker Rule Restores Multi-Factor Test

Source: Nancy Lubrano, Bloomberg

The Biden administration scrapped a signature Trump-era regulation that would have simplified the test for classifying workers as independent contractors.

As offices reopen after COVID-19, more companies will let employees work from home or hire workers who live far away

Source: Paul Davidson, USA Today

Corporate America is reopening its offices as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes. But many workers won’t be there.

The IRS Giveth and Then Giveth Again: New DCAP Guidance Provides Welcome Tax Relief

Source: Timothy J. Stanton, Ogletree Deakins

Participants in dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs) will get the best of both worlds (at least in 2021) under new guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Key Takeaways from the EEOC’s Updated Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations, Incentives

Source: Jim Paretti, Littler

On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provided its first comprehensive update of its guidance since December 2020 (before COVID-19 vaccinations were broadly available) regarding COVID-19.

June 1, 2021

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down: EEOC Provides Much Anticipated Guidance Regarding Employee Vaccination Mandates and Incentives

Source: Bridget A. Blinn-Spears, Nexsen Pruet

Adding information to existing Q&A guidance, and coordinating with the newly updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the EEOC update provides some clarity on previously vague agency positions

Mass Shootings: Does Cal/OSHA Have a Say?

Source: Sean Paisan, JacksonLewis

In the wake of recent workplace shootings, employers may be wondering if there are any specific regulations to protect employees from such events. Labor Code § 6302(h) as part of the California Occupational Safety and Health Act, excludes “any injury or illness or death caused by the commission of a Penal Code violation” from the definition of serious injury or illness, and Cal/OSHA has no mandatory duty to respond to such incidents.

What Your Future Employees Want Most

Source: Tim Minahan, Harvard Business Review

The past year has accelerated digital transformation across sectors. Along with a universal recognition that resilient employees are the true lifeblood of a company came an understanding that a company’s workforce is crucial to business recovery. This has prompted organizations to completely rethink how they attract, retain, and manage their talent.

Federal gov’t says employers can offer vaccine incentives

Source: REBECCA RAINEY, Politico

Employers can offer incentives to their employees to get the coronavirus vaccine without running afoul of federal anti-discrimination law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said on Friday.

EEOC Updates Its Guidance on Vaccine Mandates, Incentives, Confidentiality

Source: Francis P. Alvarez, JacksonLewis

In its latest update to informal guidance on COVID-19 vaccination issues, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addressed vaccination mandates, incentives, and confidentiality, among other topics.

May 28, 2021

Agricultural Exemption Does Not Apply to Activities Entirely Away from the Farm

Source: David T. Wiley , JacksonLewis

One of the lesser-known overtime, and in some cases minimum wage, exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the “agricultural” exemption.

Injunction Denied: Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act Stands (For Now)

Source: Laura A. Mitchell , JacksonLewis

Today, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado issued a long-awaited ruling on a motion to enjoin the recently enacted Colorado Pay Equity Transparency Rules.

OSHA Revokes Guidance on Recordability of COVID-19 Vaccine Reactions

Source: John F. Martin, Ogletree Deakins

On May 21, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revoked recent enforcement guidance issued to clarify the recordability of situations where employees suffered adverse side effects from a COVID-19 vaccination.

New Federal Legislation Proposal Authorizes Student-Athletes to Unionize

Source: Gregg E. Clifton, JacksonLewis

The proposed legislation would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and provide student-athletes collective bargaining rights, regardless of any existing state law restrictions.

May 27, 2021

More states offering return-to-work bonuses as businesses struggle to hire workers

Source: Megan Henney , Fox Business

States offering cash bonuses to lure Americans back to the workforce

Workplace Discrimination And Abuse Far More Common Than We Might Think

Source: Mark C. Perna, Forbes

A new study finds that 70% of all workers and 86% of Gen-Z workers have experienced bullying or prejudice at work. Here’s what they’re doing about it.

So, You Want to Become a Digital Nomad

Source: Jenny Gross, The New York Times

Working remotely while abroad has obvious appeal. But the tax consequences vary depending on where you go. Here’s what to know.


Balancing Public Employees’ Religious Rights with the Establishment Clause

Source: Hilary A. Williams , JacksonLewis

When it comes to striking a balance between the religious rights of government employees and the government’s duty to avoid Establishment Clause violations, “context matters.”

Addressing Mental Health in the Workforce

Source: JOHANNA G. ZELMAN, FordHarrison

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. After fifteen months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 26, 2021

Virginia’s Recreational Marijuana Legislation and New Employee Medicinal Use Protections

Source: J. Clay Rollins, Ogletree Deakins

Virginia employers may want to be mindful of a related measure, House Bill No. 1862, passed in March 2021, and effective July 1, 2021, which prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, or discriminating against an employee based on the employee’s lawful use of cannabis oil pursuant to a valid written certification for the use of such oil for the treatment of a diagnosed condition or disease.

The workforce of the future

Source: Sean Brown, McKinsey & Company

Accelerating trends in remote work, e-commerce, and automation mean that more people will need to change jobs and learn new skills. Are leaders ready to guide the shift?

The Great Resignation of 2021: Are 30% of workers really going to quit?

Source: Veronica Combs , MSN

Masks and life via Zoom are not the only things people are leaving behind now that headlines about vaccination rates are replacing COVID-19 case numbers. People are ready to leave both pandemic restrictions and their current jobs behind in 2021, according to several surveys.

Gen Z Expects Employers to Treat Them Differently. Here's How to Bridge the Generational Gap.

Source: Divya Parekh, Entrepreneur

Today, younger generations are starting their professional careers while older employees remain in the workforce longer out of economic necessity.

May 25, 2021

2 Days In, 3 Days out: Securing the hybrid workforce

Source: Esther Shein, ZDNet

We're entering the dawn of the hybrid workforce, which represents a blend of employees in the office and working from home. By many accounts, this is the future of work.

JBS Inks $5.5 Million Pact With EEOC in Suit Over Muslim Prayer

Source: Patrick Dorrian, Bloomberg

JBS USA LLC and the EEOC agreed to settle the agency’s decade-old religious, race, and national origin bias lawsuit alleging the meatpacker denied prayer breaks to and otherwise mistreated Somali Muslim employees at a Greeley, Colo., plant, federal court records show.

Deciding Whether to Train Manufacturing Workers Where Work Happens or Subsidize Off-Duty Training

Source: Lisa Barnett Sween, JacksonLewis

Manufacturers face increasing difficulty in finding employees with the skills they need, where they need them to be. The skills gap has become a bigger issue as more manufacturers are looking to build where they sell, and policymakers are focused on the COVID-19-pandemic economic recovery and job creation.

IRS Answers to Your American Rescue Plan Act COBRA Subsidy Questions

Source: Joy M. Napier-Joyce, JacksonLewis

In much-anticipated guidance, the Internal Revenue Service has offered its insight on the implementation of the COBRA temporary premium subsidy

May 24, 2021

OSHA Backs New CDC Mask Recommendations … For Now, and Implications for Employer Policies

Source: David E. Dubberly, Nexsen Pruet

On May 17, 2021, OSHA advised that employers can follow the CDC’s new recommendations “on measures appropriate to protect fully vaccinated workers” for now. OSHA added that it is reviewing the CDC recommendations and will update its own guidance “accordingly.”

Unemployment Insurance System Update, Part III: Additional States Opting Out of Federal Unemployment Benefits

Source: Ashley Cuttino, Ogletree Deakins

Twenty-two of 27 Republican-led states have announced that they will end enhanced federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits early.

Beyond COVID-19: Washington SB 5115 Expands Workers’ Compensation Liability and Notice Requirements for Infectious Diseases

Source: William Jie Woo Kim , Littler

On May 11, 2021, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed into law SB 5115, the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), which expands the workers’ compensation framework for infectious and contagious diseases and imposes new notice requirements on employers.

Beltway Buzz

Source: James J. Plunkett, Ogletree Deakins

The Biden Administration at 100 Days. President Joe Biden recently marked his 100th day in office, and labor and employment policy changes have been at the forefront of his administration’s agenda.

May 21, 2021

For Once, Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Source: Jody Wilner Moran , JacksonLewis

What is an employer’s risk in terminating an employee who has suffered an injury or becomes disabled and no longer can perform the essential functions of the position? How can that risk be lowered?

IRS Answers to Your American Rescue Plan Act COBRA Subsidy Questions

Source: Joy M. Napier-Joyce, JacksonLewis

In much-anticipated guidance, the Internal Revenue Service has offered its insight on the implementation of the COBRA temporary premium subsidy provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) in Notice 2021-31.

OSHA, States Lag Behind CDC Guidance Lifting Requirements for Vaccinated Workers

Source: Courtney M. Malveaux, JacksonLewis

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offered new COVID-19 guidance allowing fully vaccinated individuals to avoid wearing masks or socially distancing in most settings, employers have been pushing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state equivalents to embrace the change, but change is slow.

100 Days of the Biden Administration, Part I: Key Labor and Employment Policy Developments

Source: James J. Plunkett, Ogletree Deakins

A very brief outline of the major labor and employment legislative actions of President Biden’s first 100 days.

May 20, 2021

WARNing—Burdensome New Jersey WARN Act Amendments May Soon Become Effective

Source: Mark Diana, Ogletree Deakins

There is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel for New Jersey employers, as the state’s COVID-19 numbers continue to decline and Governor Philip Murphy continues to ease restrictions on businesses. But this good news comes with a dose of serious bad news for New Jersey employers too.

Are Employer-Sponsored Health Plans on Their Way Out?

Source: Leif O’Leary, Ogletree Deakins

A lot has changed in the lives of American workers in recent years. But one thing that has remained consistent over the past 80 years is how employees obtain health coverage — more than 156 million Americans are covered through employer-sponsored programs. But will that always be the case? Maybe not. Here’s why.

The IRS Releases FAQ Guidance on Premium Assistance for COBRA Coverage

Source: TIFFANY D. DOWNS, FordHarrison

On May 18, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2021-31 which contains much anticipated guidance needed to implement the COBRA subsidy provisions included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA)

May 19, 2021

Employers announce COVID-19 vaccine requirements as workplaces reopen

Source: Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News

A growing number of businesses -- from airline giant Delta to Broadway production "Hamilton" -- have announced new workplace requirements surrounding COVID-19 vaccines.

Amazon gives workers new wellness program, but not extra time to participate

Source: Rachel Kraus, MSN

Amazon wants warehouse workers to take action to improve their health — but they won’t get extra time to do it.

New Mandatory Retirement Plan Requirement for Certain New York City Employers

Source: Melissa Ostrower, JacksonLewis

On May 11, 2021, the City Council of New York enacted a local law to establish a retirement savings program for certain employees of private entities.

ERISA Cybersecurity Lessons for Employers

Source: Stephen A. Riga, Ogletree Deakins

Retirement plans are increasingly subject to cybersecurity issues, and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is taking notice.

May 18, 2021

[Louisiana] Both marijuana and hair-style discrimination bills will be debated early this week

Source: Chris Rosato, MSN

State Representative Candace Newell (D) says she, along with many women like to wear their hair in a more natural style. “I just want people to be comfortable in their own skin”, said Newell.

That’s why she’s filed a bill to put an end to discrimination against certain types of hairstyles.

The Future Of Work - What’s The Point Of A Shared Workplace?

Source: Grant Powell, Forbes

As the first glances of a post-pandemic world creep into view, one of the biggest questions remains around how we will all be working in the future. The pandemic forced many to work from home, who were confronted with a whole wave of both challenges and benefits. Undoubtedly, the world of work has been permanently changed, with flexible work arrangements now much more feasible.

That New Hybrid Office May Not Be as Flexible as You Hoped For: The post-pandemic workplace risks being complex for bosses to run and unsatisfying for employees.

Source: Lucy Meakin, Bloomberg

Fourteen months after coronavirus confined the world’s office-workers to their homes, companies are embarking on another great experiment — how to get their teams back together, in-person, at least some of the time.

Fiduciary Investment Advice: Implications Of Department Of Labor Prohibited Transaction Exception 2020-02

Source: M. Travis DeHaven , JacksonLewis

Employers who sponsor and maintain retirement plans on behalf of their employees and who engage investment advisors to provide investment-related advice to participants may take comfort in knowing there is a new prohibited transaction exemption under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”) and the Internal Revenue Code (the “Exemption”) designed to protect plan participants.

May 17, 2021

IRS Issues Additional Guidance on the Tax Treatment of Dependent Care Benefits

Source: Kellie M. Thomas , JacksonLewis

As the IRS continues to churn out guidance on various forms of COVID-19 relief, this week is no exception with the release of Notice 2021-26. This Notice clarifies two key points relating to the tax treatment of dependent care assistance program (DCAP) benefits for 2021 and 2022.

CDC Updates Guidance for Fully-Vaccinated Individuals: Is it Time to Shed the Face Mask and Relax Social Distancing?

Source: Adam T. Pankratz, Ogletree Deakins

The CDC states that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” Importantly, the CDC cited to “a growing body of evidence [that] suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection or transmit SARS-V-2 to others.” Employers and employees alike are immediately contemplating how this new guidance affects the workplace.

For Black workers, age discrimination strikes twice

Source: Andrew Van Dam, The Washington Post

Age discrimination sounds simple: The oldest workers face the strongest biases. But new research suggests that rule applies primarily to White workers. For Black workers, age discrimination is highest for the youngest, falls in middle age, and rises once more as workers near retirement.

May 14, 2021

Is It Legal For Employers To Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations?

Source: Rachel Martin, NPR

Vaccinations are on the rise in the U.S., and some employers are thinking about how and when to bring people back to work. But what about those employees who won't get the vaccine? Can they be forced to do so? NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

May 3, 2021

Boeing Says It Fired 65 Workers for Hateful Words or Actions

Source: Julie Johnsson and Jeff Green, Bloomberg

Boeing Co. has fired 65 employees and disciplined another 53 for racist, discriminatory and hateful conduct since Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun vowed “zero tolerance” in June.

The Fear Black Employees Carry

Source: Karen Brown, Harvard Business Review

While many company leaders may not see it, their Black employees are living in existential fear. The January 6 attack on the Capitol, the ongoing police shootings of Black people, the senseless pepper-spraying and handcuff of a Black Army officer (Caron Nazario) at a gas station, and even some of the reactions to the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin who murdered George Floyd, showed us that the voices of racism and white supremacy are louder than ever.

Miscarriages: The Costly Workplace Taboo

Source: Adi Gaskell, Forbes

The pregnancy was something I could only really relate to via the physical and emotional changes visible in my wife. That perhaps changed on that second appointment at the hospital, where I was told to wait outside the building until my wife was called in by the nurse, at which point I could join her and we could face the inevitable together.

Roads to Recovery: How the pandemic is accelerating workforce training

Source: Christopher Booker and Sam Weber, PBS NewsHour

For decades, manufacturers in the U.S. have warned of a massive skills gap: There just aren't enough new skilled workers to make up for older ones who are retiring. In this installment of our series, "Roads to Recovery," NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker reports from Connecticut on how the pandemic has accelerated a push to improve and expand job training for the state's large manufacturing workforce.

April 30, 2021

Nearly 70 million Americans have criminal records. We must give them a second chance

Source: Craig Arnold and Jamie Dimon, CNN

An enduring belief in the American dream has powered decades of innovation, inspired generations of entrepreneurs and driven the economic growth of our nation.

But that dream is fraying for the nearly one in three US adults -- or 70 million Americans -- who have a criminal record. For many of these individuals, a criminal record poses a significant barrier to employment, even when the record includes only a misdemeanor arrest or conviction.

US will pay $44 million in age-bias case by ex-FAA workers

Source: David Koenig, Associated Press

The U.S. government will pay nearly $44 million to settle an age-discrimination case filed 16 years ago on behalf of hundreds of workers who missed out on federal pensions after their jobs were outsourced.

April 29, 2021

Who were we and what were we thinking? A return to offices frozen in time.

Source: Maura Judkis, The Washington Post

Ellery Frahm is an archaeologist who unearths artifacts spanning half a million years of human history, all around the globe. But he recently unearthed a perplexing ancient artifact close to home. It was a Post-it note from last March, recovered from the debris of his Yale University office.

Battered U.S. Office Market Perks Up With Workers Trickling Back

Source: Natalie Wong and Noah Buhayar, Bloomberg

Companies that postponed searches for space last year are back in market, looking to take advantage of cheaper rents and concessions from landlords eager to fill vacancies. National demand for offices jumped 28% in March from the prior month and is now just 9% below pre-pandemic levels, according to property-data firm VTS, which tracks office tours.


Steal the Swedish Secret of 'Lillördag' for a Happier Workweek

Source: Jessia Stillman, Inc.

With vaccination rates climbing, bosses and workers across the country are wrestling with what the post-pandemic workweek should look like. The Swedes have a suggestion for a little ritual to add to your schedule to make your new normal, whatever it ends up looking like, a little more joyful.




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