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The Modern Workplace

As the number of people working remotely decreases while employees start returning to their places of employment, or decide to make home their permanent office, a refresher on the requirements around the compensability of travel time to and from the workplace could prove helpful.

The general rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is that employees must be compensated whenever they are working. However, pursuant to the Portal-to-Portal Act, time spent traveling to and from the actual place where the employee performs his or her principal activities, or “commuting ...

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Posted in Labor & Unions
Late last week, the National Labor Relations Board(“NLRB”) finished counting the ballots in a highly-publicized attempt by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union to organize an Amazon distribution center in Alabama. The votes were mailed in over a six-week period, a process the NLRB has used to replace in-person voting since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It took several days to count over 3,000 ballots, a count which resulted in a rejection of the union by more than a 2 to 1 margin. 
Despite this seemingly convincing statement by the employees, the result is likely ...
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Posted in Discrimination
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently released its enforcement and litigation statistics for FY2020. In summary, the EEOC’s data shows that there were 67,448 charges of discrimination filed in FY2020, which represents 5,227 fewer charges that were filed in FY2019. Of those charges, retaliation continues to be the most frequently cited claim -- accounting for 55.85 percent of all charges filed in FY2020. Disability and color discrimination claims increased marginally while genetic information claims doubled from the prior year. The remaining ...
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Posted in COVID-19, Leave
Here we go again… California has passed new legislation (Senate Bill 95) requiring a larger group of employers to provide paid leave for many more COVID-19-related reasons than previously allowed.
Q: Who must provide the SB 95 leave?

A: California employers (including public entities) with more than 25 employees nationally.

Q. Who is eligible for the SB 95 leave?

A. “Covered employees” is defined as California-based employees who are unable to work or telework for one of the qualifying reasons.[1]
Q. What reasons qualify for the SB 95 leave?
A. There are more qualifying reasons ...
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An EEO-1 Report must be submitted by all private sector employers with at least 100 employees, or federal contractors with 50 or more employees. This submission has been required for over a half century. Because of the pandemic, the due dates for the submission of the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Reports were suspended by the EEOC until March 31, 2021.

Earlier this year the EEOC announced that the EEOC’s collection site for the submission (the EEOC On Line Filing System) will open in April 2021 for an eligible employer’s submission of both the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 workforce ...

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Posted in COVID-19

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, President Biden signed an historic $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package known as the American Rescue Plan Act. You may be (rightfully) thinking, “wow, that’s a lot of money, what’s in it for me?!” In fact, many Americans will receive direct stimulus checks aimed at helping to offset widespread economic strain caused by the pandemic. Whether you use the money to pay overdue bills or towards a new car is up to you, and either way the economy will theoretically be improved. In addition to the personal funds the federal government is sending to millions ...

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By now, we are all familiar with the routine employee handbook disclaimer: 

This Handbook is provided for informational purposes only and is not a contract between the Company and any employee. 

Even with such a disclaimer in place, though, employers should be thoughtful when drafting and implementing detailed policies, particularly wage-related policies, as highlighted by a recent case out of Minnesota. In Minnesota, courts have often refused to construe an employee handbook as a contract when it contains a conspicuous contract disclaimer. In Hall v. City of Plainview, though ...

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As we predicted in a blog post earlier this year, the Biden administration has placed a 60-day hold on the U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) final rule on determining when a worker is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which was expected to take effect March 8, 2021. The Biden Administration issued a memorandum to various executive agencies, including the DOL, asking that they: (1) not propose or issue any rules until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the Biden Administration reviews and approves the rule; (2) withdraw any ...
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On Wednesday, February 10, the CDC announced that individuals who are fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 do not necessarily have to quarantine following exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
In addition, businesses have asked the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to clarify the types of incentives employers can legally provide employees to encourage them to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Incentives offered by some employers might, for example, include: 
  • Time off from work to get vaccinated, often with pay
  • Incentive bonus (for example, $100)
  • Gift cards
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Last week, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new guidance to help employers and employees identify risks of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19 in the workplace and to assist in determining appropriate control measures. The guidance is advisory in nature and does not impose new legal requirements on employers, but provides additional information that may be helpful to employers in their efforts to provide a safe and healthful workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
The guidance recommends implementing a workplace COVID-19 ...
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