Labor & Employment Law Perspectives

The COVID-19 pandemic has unquestionably created challenging times for employers and employees.  Among the many issues facing employers has been the filing of various unfair labor practice charges around the country.  The National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel recently issued a memorandum providing a summary of several pending COVID-19-related cases, and conveying his approach to each case in which he found the complaints had merit or directed that other action be taken.  Some of the…
The COVID-19 pandemic has created great financial uncertainty for many employers.  For those sponsoring defined benefit pension plans, certain Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) reporting requirements may arise during these challenging times.  Failure to timely comply with these requirements may result in the assessment of significant PBGC penalties. PBGC Reporting Requirements – Why Does the PBGC Care? The PBGC is concerned that financially distressed pension plan sponsors are more likely to seek termination of the…
As we previously reported, on August 3, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (“the District Court”) struck down four provisions of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) “Final Rule” regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  Last Friday, the DOL responded to the District Court’s decision by doubling down on some of those provisions (with additional explanation intended to justify them as previously implemented) and modifying others.  The…
On September 8, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance stating that businesses will not be required to automatically allow remote work as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) as the threat of COVID-19 dissipates. Under Title I of the ADA, employers must provide qualified employees with disabilities with reasonable accommodations to do their jobs, except when such accommodation would cause an undue hardship.  An adjustment that eliminates an…
In 2018, California enacted legislation mandating employers with five or more employees to provide harassment prevention training to all supervisory and non-supervisory personnel by no later than January 1, 2020. Employers subject to California’s mandatory training requirement must provide one hour of interactive harassment training to non-supervisors and two hours of such training to supervisors every two years, with the training covering a multitude of related subjects. While the original deadline for the completion of…
On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order calling for a deferral of the employees’ portion of the payroll tax (the 6.2% Social Security tax only) from September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 (the “Order”). At the time the President issued the Order, he called on the Secretary of Treasury to “explore avenues” including Congressional legislation, to “eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred” (i.e., forgive the amounts). Congress has not…
On July 27, 2020 we published a client alert about the DOL’s Q&A on COVID-19 with respect to the laws it enforces – the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  Again, on August 27, 2020, the DOL published new Q&A’s about the FFCRA and employee eligibility for the paid leave with the reopening of schools.   In Question 98, the DOL addressed…
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one question that has surely raced through the minds of many employers is, “If one of my workers gets sick from COVID-19, can I be sued?” This author’s longstanding view on lawsuits is that in America in the year 2020, on any given day, anyone can be sued by anyone else for any reason.  Therefore, the better question to ask is, “If I am sued, can I defend…
Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, everyone is looking for hopeful signs that life can return to “normal” on any level.  Encouraging news reports indicate that the race to develop a COVID vaccine is progressing, with hopes that one will receive approval and become commercially available by early in 2021.   With a vaccine comes some difficult questions for employers.  Can employers mandate a vaccine as a condition of employment?  Even if…
In July, we reported on new DOL COVID-19 guidance relating to leave under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, as well as telework considerations governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The wage and hour guidance addressed several questions, including whether an employer is obligated to pay for telework hours actually performed that were: (1) not authorized to be worked by the employer, or (2) not reported as worked…