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As businesses across the country return to in-person operations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been activity enforcing workplace safety related to COVID-19. As your risk management partner, we offer you the following three tips to avoid OSHA citations related to COVID-19… Tip #1: Develop a safety plan around state and federal guidelines. OSHA enforces employers’ general legal duty to maintain a safe workplace. When the following elements are present, OSHA may find…
New guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on what constitutes “close contact” with a person infected with COVID-19 will require many employers to update their COVID-19-related safety practices and policies. Previously, the CDC had defined a “close contact” as someone who was within six feet and spent at least 15 consecutive minutes in the presence of an infected individual. The CDC has now updated that guidance as follows: Someone who…
After learning to operate remotely, employers across the country have been reconsidering the place of telework, particularly as an accommodation for individuals with disabilities. As employers move forward with a “new normal” perspective on telework, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been continuing its enforcement effort surrounding telework accommodations. As your risk management partner, HBL offers you strategies to address telework accommodations without compromising your organization’s values. Tip #1: Develop and implement a telework…
On November 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it had issued citations arising from 244 inspections for coronavirus-related violations across the U.S., resulting in proposed penalties of more than $3.3 million. While OSHA has not implemented specific coronavirus workplace safety standards, employers must still comply with OSHA’S existing standards for pandemic-related safety risks. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause, employers are required…
By now, many employers have had at least one case of COVID-19 in their workplace.  Especially considering the sweep of tort lawsuits across the country, employers’ responses to the presence of an infection in the workplace is of crucial importance to managing both legal and reputational risk exposure. As your legal risk management partner, HBL offers the following three strategies for responding to cases of COVID-19 in the workplace… Tip #1: Promptly identify and safely isolate…
Not to be upstaged by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) continues to present daily management challenges. For covered employers, the FMLA entitles eligible employees to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave for family and medical leave, and up to 26 workweeks for military caregiver leave. In practice, however, the FMLA has been misunderstood to significantly expand employees’ leave rights, far beyond the statutory entitlements. As your legal…
Nestle USA and its board of directors have been served with an ERISA class action on behalf of 401(k) plan participants and their beneficiaries. The suit alleges that Nestle and its representatives failed to monitor fees or act to reduce expenses passed along to plan participants. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on October 9, 2020, the suit — Guyes et al. v. Nestle USA Inc. et al. —…
With states and localities across the country taking varying and, in some cases, uncertain approaches to reopening schools, employers have struggled to properly administer Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leaves based on school closures and childcare unavailability. Under its powers to administer and enforce FFCRA, the Department of Labor (DOL) has taken an active approach to penalizing employers. As your risk management partner, we offer the following three strategies to administer FFCRA leaves this…
As the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are experienced across the country, wrongful death and gross negligence claims are on the rise, particularly by the families of employees who believe their loved ones may have come into contact with COVID-19 on the job. Under normal circumstances, workplace injuries and illnesses are handled through the workers’ compensation system. Wrongful death and gross negligence claims are, however, brought as civil actions and almost always include demands for…
On September 11, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued revised regulations, scheduled to go into effect on September 16, 2020, regarding the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). In response to an August 3, 2020 decision of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York (District Court) declaring certain FFCRA regulations to be invalid, the DOL’s revised regulations…