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Black Lives Matter, Racial Unrest and Corporate Culture – How Do Employers Respond? (US)

As the daily news continues to show protests and calls for justice in response to the death of George Floyd and others at the hands of police officers, there is, unsurprisingly, a desire from employees to hear from their employers regarding the ongoing violence and racial unrest in our communities and across the country. Many … Continue Reading

Walking The Tightrope: Dealing With Employees’ Different Viewpoints On COVID-19, Racial Justice, and Partisan Politics (US)

We’re living through a period of time in the US unlike any we have previously experienced,  simultaneously grappling with a deadly public health emergency, mass protests – some peaceful, some not – seeking racial justice and police reform, and an increasingly bitter, partisan political landscape that likely only will intensify as we get closer to … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown working, Part 4 – whistleblowing for beginners (UK)

On top of the flexible working rules (see Parts 1-3), another piece of existing law likely to get a pandemic-related dusting-off in the months to come is our old friend whistleblowing. If you face what is otherwise a fairly clear redundancy situation because Covid-19 has gutted your employer’s market, what better way of upping the … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Temperature Testing? Yes. Viral Testing? Yes. Antibody Testing? No! (US)

Employers undertaking the reopening process following COVID-19-related shutdown orders are grappling with what measures they can implement to reduce the potential for transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their workplace. In addition to requiring face masks, mandating physical distancing, and encouraging regular handwashing, some employers also are requiring employees to submit to medical testing as … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates COVID-19 Guidance With Answers To More Return-To-Work Questions (US)

Throughout the current public health emergency, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been providing regular updates to its guidance on COVID-19 and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal employment statutes (see our prior posts here). On June 11, 2020, the EEOC provided answers to approximately 10 new questions, … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown flexible working, Part 2 – making it official (UK)

By now, many employees working from home in the lockdown will have made quite firm decisions around how they wish to operate going forward.  Some will have decided that there is nothing in their lives quite like their family and, for that reason, that they wish to extend their WFH indefinitely.  Others, on probably very … Continue Reading

Take Two: Illinois Enacts Law Providing Presumption of Workers’ Compensation Coverage for COVID-19 (US)

On June 5, 2020, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed into law HB 2455, which creates a rebuttable presumption of workers’ compensation coverage for first responders and front-line workers who are exposed to and contract COVID-19. This recent legislative enactment follows the withdrawal of Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s emergency rule which included similar language. In enacting this … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown flexible working, Part 1 – can you still say no? (UK)

The world of work has remained broadly the same for the last 100 to 200 years – offices might have lost the wood panelling, trains become less smoky (inside and out!), top hats turned into bowler hats then no hats, beards have gone in, out, then back into fashion,  but the central tenet remains – … Continue Reading

Venture Law Meetup Webinar June 5: COVID-19: Considerations for Getting Back to the Office (US)

Please join colleagues in our Venture Law Meetup Group for a monthly webinar on Friday June 5 at 9 am EDT. Leah G. Brownlee will be joined by Matthew Cooper and Matt Secrist to discuss considerations for getting back to the office in the COVID-19 pandemic. Register using this link. This complimentary webinar series aims … Continue Reading

WEBINAR May 28: Mandatory COVID-19 Updates to Injury and Illness Prevention Programs for California Employers (US)

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued new guidelines for protecting workers as businesses expand activities during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. These guidelines include updated control measures as well as specific topics which must be addressed in employers’ COVID-19 response plans and written Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. Not only could failure to … Continue Reading

Updated OSHA Guidance Demonstrates Employers’ Need for Further Pandemic Planning (US)

On May 19, 2020, OSHA issued two updated memorandums to regional administrators and state plan designees. The first updated the agency’s enforcement guidance for recording COVID-19 cases in the workplace. As we discussed here, OSHA originally indicated on April 10, 2020 that it would be exercising “enforcement discretion” and focusing COVID-19 recordkeeping requirements in the … Continue Reading

“I Am Not Wearing That!” – What Can An Employer Do When An Employee Refuses To Comply With COVID-19 Workplace Requirements? (US)

With the reopening process well underway in all 50 states, employers are implementing a variety of plans, policies, and protocols to minimize the potential for employee transmission of the coronavirus in the workplace. These plans – discussed in our Employer’s Guide to Return-to-Work Issues – include making physical changes to the workplace, rearranging employee schedules, … Continue Reading

Navigating Employee Return-to-Work Issues (US)

On Friday, May 15, 2020, Arizona’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order will expire. At that time, only a handful of states (Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey) will still be under broad stay-at-home restrictions, but even those remaining states will begin the phased reopening process between May 15 and 30. As employers begin … Continue Reading

Dealing with health and safety fears of returning to the workplace (UK)

So now that the slow movement back to workplaces has started, the next hot question will be this: “If I don’t want to go back in because I fear infection if I do, can my employer make me?” The short and absolutely definitively answer to this is no.  And yes. It cannot compel you to … Continue Reading

US Department of Labor Issues Additional Informal Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (US)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) has been in effect for nearly six weeks and, as practical challenges with interpreting and implementing the Act surface, the Department of Labor (DOL) continues to update its informal guidance in piecemeal fashion. On May 12, 2020, the DOL added five additional questions and answers to its FFCRA … Continue Reading

California Governor’s Order Creates Workers’ Compensation Presumption For COVID-19 Diagnosis (US)

As California employers prepare for the gradual re-opening of business, they must now take into consideration Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-62-20 executed on May 6, 2020, making any COVID-19 infection diagnosed within two weeks of an individual working outside of their home presumptively work-related. This has the effect for employers of reversing the burden … Continue Reading

EEOC Provides Updated Guidance on Return-to-Work Issues Addressing Accommodations For Employees With COVID-19 Vulnerabilities (US)

Update (5/7/20):  On May 7, 2020, the EEOC re-issued guidance concerning what actions an employer may take if it knows that an employee has a medical condition placing him/her at a higher risk for severe illness if he/she gets COVID-19, and thus is concerned about the employee’s return to the workplace, but the employee has not … Continue Reading

CDC/OSHA COVID-19 Guidance for Meat and Poultry Industry Also Useful for Other Employers (US)

On April 26, 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued interim guidance for the US meat and poultry industry.  The guidance contains a number of recommendations aimed at stemming transmission among workers in this particularly vulnerable industry, which continues to face plant shutdowns … Continue Reading

Employer’s Guide to Return-to-Work Issues: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (US)

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has changed life as we know it, including by severely disrupting business on a nationwide scale.  In some cases, employers have been forced to temporarily close their doors and cease operations, while others have had to make radical changes to the workplace in order to maintain operations. … Continue Reading

California Provides COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers (US)

In a move that mirrors the efforts of several local California communities to fill gaps not otherwise addressed by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), California Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-51-20 on April 16, 2020 (“Order”).  Specifically, the Order provides COVID-19 related paid sick leave for “food sector workers” throughout the state … Continue Reading

Ohio Workers’ Compensation System Approves $1.6B Distribution for State Fund Employers (US)

By the end of the April, many Ohio employers with state funded workers’ compensation coverage will receive a dividend from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). This dividend of up to $1.6 billion was approved by the BWC Board in response to a request from Governor Mike DeWine to state agencies to take action … Continue Reading

Smoke lifts temporarily over Belgium’s occult period (and other questions about termination)

In a previous blog, in a world before the coronavirus hit Europe, we noted the social elections that Belgian employers have to organise in 2020 [here] for the appointment of employee representatives to the Works Council and Health & Safety Committee. Being a representative of that sort (and also being a candidate for that role) … Continue Reading
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