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DOL Returns to the Practice of Seeking Liquidated Damages in Settlements in Lieu of Litigation, Rescinding Trump-Era Policy (US)

On April 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2021-2, which provides updated guidance to Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) field staff regarding the practice of seeking liquidated damages in settlements in lieu of litigation. In so doing, the DOL rescinded a Trump-era policy aimed at reducing the imposition … Continue Reading

Free and Extended COBRA Coverage Under The American Rescue Plan Act Of 2021: Update (US)

Section 9501 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “ARPA”)[1] requires employers to offer free COBRA coverage to certain individuals between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. The ARPA provides tax credits to employers to offset the cost of the COBRA coverage. The right to free COBRA coverage extends to some individuals … Continue Reading

US Federal Labor Viewpoints – Week of March 29, 2021

From our Capital Thinking blog, our public policy colleague Stacy Swanson shares the latest federal employment law developments in in the legislative and executive branches during the week of March 29. *** This is a weekly post spotlighting labor topics in focus by the US legislative and executive branches during the previous week. In this issue, … Continue Reading

EEOC Announces New July 19, 2021 Deadline for Employers to Submit 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Data (US)

On March 29, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that data collection for 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 filing will open on Monday, April 26, 2021, and that employers will have until Monday, July 19, 2021 to submit their data for those years. Each year, employers with 100 or more employees (and federal … Continue Reading

US Federal Labor Viewpoints – Week of March 22, 2021

From our Capital Thinking blog, our public policy colleague Stacy Swanson shares the latest federal employment law developments in in the legislative and executive branches during the week of March 22. *** This is a weekly post spotlighting labor topics in focus by the US legislative and executive branches during the previous week. In this issue, we … Continue Reading

American Rescue Plan Tax Credits for Employers Who Voluntarily Provide FFCRA Leave – Supplement

This is a Supplement to our post on March 25, 2021 regarding Section 9641 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “ARPA”). This Supplement addresses state and local governmental employers. Section 9641 of the Rescue Plan makes available tax credits to offset the costs borne by certain employers who voluntarily provide emergency paid … Continue Reading

American Rescue Plan Tax Credits for Employers Who Voluntarily Provide Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family and Medical Leave (US)

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Rescue Plan”).[1] This post reviews Section 9641 of the Rescue Plan, which makes available tax credits to certain employers who voluntarily provide paid time sick leave and family and medical act leave to employees for absences occasioned by the … Continue Reading

US Federal Labor Viewpoints – Week of March 15, 2021

From our Capital Thinking blog, our public policy colleague Stacy Swanson shares the latest federal employment law developments in in the legislative and executive branches during the week of March 15. *** This is a weekly post spotlighting labor topics in focus by the US legislative and executive branches during the previous week. In this … Continue Reading

Spring State Law Round-Up (CT, IL, OH, NY, PA, DC)

State legislatures have been busy in 2021 passing new employment-related laws. Here we look at some of the highlights of new laws in Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Connecticut is the latest state to prohibit discrimination based upon traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, protective hairstyles such as wigs … Continue Reading

Free and Extended COBRA Coverage Under The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (US)

Section 9501 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “ARPA”)[1] requires employers to extend offers of free COBRA coverage to certain individuals for the period from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. The ARPA then provides tax credits as means of offsetting the costs of the free COBRA coverage. The law also … Continue Reading

Recent Ninth Circuit Equal Pay Act Decision A Reminder To Examine and Eliminate Gender-Based Pay Disparity (US)

On Monday, March 15, 2021, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, in part, a district court’s order denying a federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) claim filed by a former University of Oregon tenured psychology professor who claimed she was paid significantly less than her male colleagues. The decision serves as a reminder to employers … Continue Reading

Considerations for Employers Contemplating Incentive Programs to Encourage Employees to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine (US)

As we discussed in a previous post, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) published guidance in December 2020 on employer mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies. That guidance explained that subject to a few exceptions, employers can require that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of returning to, or remaining in the workplace.  However, … Continue Reading

New Jersey Extends Employment Protections To Recreational Marijuana Using Employees (US)

On February 22, 2021, New Jersey’s governor signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (“CREAMMA” or the “Act”), legalizing the recreational use of cannabis items, i.e., marijuana, for individuals age 21 and older. Importantly, the Act also provides job protections to recreational marijuana users and imposes new drug testing requirements … Continue Reading

President Biden Removes Immigrant Visa Ban, Leaves Other Immigration Bans in Place (US)

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, President Biden issued a Proclamation removing one of the few remaining major Trump COVID-era Visa Bans. The move repeals Presidential Proclamation 10014, which was set to expire after March 31, 2021, and temporarily paused the issuance of immigrant visas.  President Biden justified the action by explaining that the ban “harms … Continue Reading

Biden’s DOL Withdraws Trump-Era Opinion Letters Regarding “Gig Economy” Workers and Sleeping Truck Drivers (US)

On February 19, 2021, the US Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) withdrew two Trump-era opinion letters.  The first, FLSA2019-6, discussed whether a service provider for a virtual marketplace company (“VMC”) is an independent contractor or an employee subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The second, FLSA2019-10, involved the compensability … Continue Reading

Arizona Responds to Spike in Fraudulent Unemployment Claims With Advice for Employers (US)

Like many states, Arizona has been a recent target in the wave of nationwide fraudulent unemployment claims. When the CARES Act passed in the spring of 2020, states were authorized to award expanded unemployment relief to persons whose jobs were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including some persons who otherwise were ineligible for or had … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Issues Timely Reminder Regarding the Importance of Employers Maintaining Accurate Wage Records (US)

A recent decision from a federal appeals court highlights the perils for employers associated with lax recordkeeping of employee work hours and wage information. It is well-established that every employer covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is required to keep certain records for each covered non-exempt worker (i.e., those that are paid on an hourly … Continue Reading

H-1B Cap Season Opens March 9: Random Cap Registration Selection Returns For FY2022 (US)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the initial registration period for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 9 and run through noon Eastern on March 25, 2021.  USCIS intends to notify selected registrants by March 31st and permit filings from April 1, 2021.… Continue Reading

Arizona Expands State Law Employment Protections for Pregnant Workers (US)

Arizona employers are now expressly prohibited by state law from discriminating against employees on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth. On January 28, 2021, the Arizona Legislature passed, and on Thursday, February 4, 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law, HB 2045, which amends the state civil rights statute to clarify that existing statutory … Continue Reading

President Signs Three Executive Orders Seeking Broad Changes to US Immigration Policies; Administration Delays Changes to H-1B Cap Lottery

The following is a summary of the President’s three new immigration-related executive orders issued on February 2, 2021: Executive Order on the Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families The first executive order creates an interagency task force, presided by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to reunify parents and children separated by … Continue Reading

Biden-Led Department Of Labor Pulls The Plug On Voluntary Wage And Hour Compliance Program (US)

In early 2018, we reported [see here and here] that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had launched a pilot program to encourage employers to voluntarily report violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime requirements. Employers who opted into the self-reporting pilot program, called the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) … Continue Reading

New EEOC Proposed Wellness Plans Regulations – Trouble for Participatory Wellness Plans (US)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently proposed regulations pertaining to employer wellness programs that, as will be explained below, may concern employers that have “Participatory” wellness plans. The proposal can be found at https://www.eeoc.gov/regulations/rulemaking.[1] Current Wellness Plan Rules under Other Laws To understand the EEOC’s proposal, one must first take note of the other … Continue Reading

President Biden Signs Executive Order Extending Workplace Protections Against COVID-19 (US)

One of President Biden’s first acts in office was to sign an Executive Order (EO) on January 21, 2021 aimed at increasing the safety and health of U.S. workers, particularly healthcare and other essential workers, against the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, President Biden instructed the Secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL), through … Continue Reading
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