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Minneapolis Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance Upheld by Minnesota Supreme Court

On June 10, 2020, in Minnesota Chamber of Commerce v. City of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the City of Minneapolis' Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) Ordinance. The ordinance requires employers to provide sick and safe time to employees who work within the city, and applies to all employees who work in Minneapolis, regardless of whether or not the employer is based in Minneapolis. Employers operating in Minneapolis—or other Minnesota cities with similar ordinances such as Duluth and St. Paul—should review their local ordinances, along with state and federal laws, to ensure compliance. More ›

Proclamation by Trump Administration Will Have Major Impact on Employer-Sponsored Immigration

On June 22, 2020 President Trump signed a Proclamation suspending certain immigration applications and entry into the United States which will dramatically—albeit temporarily—impact the landscape of employer-sponsored immigration. Subject to limited exceptions, the suspension applies to foreign workers in the H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 visa categories, as well as their dependents, and is effective from June 24 to December 31. More ›

CDC Issues Guidance That Serological Testing of Employees Violates ADA

As more states are reopening and employees are returning to work, some employers will be considering testing employees for COVID-19 before allowing them to return to the workplace. In a prior post, we wrote about guidance from the EEOC that states that employers may test employees before returning to work as long as the testing complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We also wrote about the various types of COVID-19 testing available, including serological testing and diagnostic testing. Serological testing looks for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, while diagnostic testing checks for the presence of the COVID-19 virus itself. More ›

Think You Finally Understand the PPP? Think Again… Because It Has Been Amended

On June 5, 2020 H.R. 7010—known as the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (the "Act")—went into effect. The Act amends the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Although the amendments provide greater flexibility for employers, they may also require reconsideration of prior understandings and decisions. More ›

SCOTUS Decides Title VII Protects LGBTQ+ Workers

In a historic 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States held that an employer who discriminates against an employee merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII. 590 U. S. ____ (2020). This landmark decision provides LGBTQ+ employees across the nation protection from termination or other employment discrimination because of their LGBTQ+ status. The Supreme Court's decision resolved three cases: Altitude Express v. Zarda; Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia; and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC. Justice Gorsuch delivered the opinion in which Justices Roberts, Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Thomas joined. Justice Kavanaugh also filed a dissenting opinion. More ›

CDC Guidance Establishes the Bar for Workplace Safety and OSH Act Compliance Related to COVID-19

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have had to keep abreast of evolving or incomplete government guidance, all while trying to discern for themselves the most prudent way to handle employee leaves, pay, workload, and safety.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have now worked together to produce a "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19." This guidance is explicitly "advisory in nature" and "informational in content," and "not a standard or a regulation." Nevertheless, the guidance provides helpful information about how the agencies view the methodology of COVID-19 transmission, exposure risks and classifying worker exposure, and what to do to protect workers. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided similar advice in an April workplace poster. Efforts addressed include personal protective equipment (PPE), engineering controls (e.g. barriers), and administrative controls (e.g. monitoring, training, flexible hours, or telework). More ›

EEOC Indicates Testing Employees for COVID-19 Does Not Violate ADA

As businesses prepare to re-open, many employers will be concerned about the risk of workplace transmission of the COVID-19 disease. Testing employees before allowing them to enter the workplace is one preventative measure employers are considering. However, this measure has been clouded by uncertainty, because a test for COVID-19 could be considered a medical inquiry under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is only permitted if the inquiry is job-related and consistent with business necessity. More ›

Employers Beware: Terminating an Employee with COVID-19 May Violate Several Federal Statutes

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of whether an employer may lawfully terminate an employee who has contracted COVID-19 has continued to arise. Terminating an employee because they have contracted COVID-19 carries significant legal risk. Some employers might consider the decision to terminate an employee a safety measure meant to protect employees and customers from coming into contact with someone who has had the illness. But doing so may run afoul of several federal statutes, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), as well as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). More ›

Lessons From Smithfield Pork Packing Plant Lawsuit: Could OSHA Preempt Worker Retaliation Claims Concerning Employer COVID-19 Safety Measures?

In a workplace safety whistleblower lawsuit recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, an air conditioning technician claims he was fired by his employer, HT Airsystems of Florida, LLC, in retaliation for complaining about purported overtime violations and for raising concerns about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), which would be a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Florida's Private Whistleblower Act (FWA). More ›

Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Program Released for Illinois Employers

According to the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act (IWTA), Illinois employers with at least one employee working in Illinois must provide annual sexual harassment training. Effective January 1, 2020, IWTA amended the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) to require that training must commence before December 31, 2020, and occur every calendar year. The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) recently released a model training program for Illinois employers. To date, the new training requirements have not been affected by the shelter-in-place orders. More ›

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