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The Modern Workplace

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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The beginning of a new year is a good time for employers to consider reviewing and possibly revising any non-compete and confidentiality agreements in place for their workforce or to consider putting such agreements in place. Generally, courts look more favorably upon the enforcement of confidentiality agreements than on non-compete or non-solicitation restrictions and all are subject to state law, as discussed more below. It is also possible that the federal law landscape on non-compete agreements might change significantly under the new administration of President Biden
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It comes as little surprise that the new administration in Washington is contemplating changes to laws and rules affecting employers. Early hints about changes that might be in store began to appear already on Inauguration Day. These included a regulatory freeze issued by the White House in the form of a non-binding memorandum to federal agencies. This freeze, which is aimed at halting pending regulatory changes while the new administration takes time to assess them, may affect the Final Rule on Independent Contractor status about which we wrote in this space on January 14, 2021. We ...
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On January 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its final rule (Final Rule) setting new standards for determining when a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Final Rule takes effect sixty days from its publication in the Federal Register and is, therefore, scheduled to take effect on March 8, 2021. The DOL notes that the Final Rule reaffirms the economic reality test; however, the new test changes the analysis to be used when applying the test.

New Test
The Final Rule implements a five-factor economic reality ...
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With two COVID-19 vaccines already authorized for emergency use in the United States and more likely forthcoming soon, employers are asking whether they can and should require employees to get vaccinated. This alert identifies some of the major issues that employers are likely to face when rolling out policies related to vaccinations. 
Can Employers Require Employees to Get Vaccinated?

Recently released guidance from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) strongly suggests that employers can require employees to get vaccinated. Although the guidance does ...
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Posted in Labor & Unions
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently affirmed the decision of an administrative law judge that FDRLST Media, LLC (FDRLST) violated the National Labor Relations Act in June of 2019 when Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalist, published the following tweet on his personal Twitter handle: FYI @fdrlst first one of you tries to unionize I swear Ill send you back to the salt mine. Domenechs tweet was posted in response to the news of Vox Media Inc. employees walking off the job after demanding a new collective bargaining agreement. FDRLST contended that Domenechs tweet was ...
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