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Reacting to COVID-19 Delta Variant Outbreaks, OSHA Issues Updated Guidance

The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) issued updated guidance on August 13, 2021, to assist employers in protecting workers who are unvaccinated or otherwise at risk of contracting the virus. The guidance consists primarily of recommendations and seeks to align its approach with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). CDC and OSHA guidance interact, but Employers have a specific legal obligation under OSHA to provide a safe and healthy workplace free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. More ›

Guidance on Intersection Between ADA Workplace Accommodation and COVID Long-Haulers

Employees and employers now find themselves well into year two of a global pandemic. Unfortunately, some people who contract COVID-19 do not fully recover. Known as "COVID long-haulers," these individuals suffer from a range of conditions that persist well beyond when they first contracted the virus. The impacts of "long-COVID" have left some individuals disabled, by definition, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar state and local laws. However, not every condition will qualify. Below, we consider steps employers can take to ensure they're providing appropriate accommodations and mitigating potential litigation. More ›

Texas Two-Step: State Passes Employee-Friendly Legislation

The 2021 regular session of the Texas Legislature produced two employee-friendly bills that found their way to the Governor's desk and were signed into law. Both laws will go into effect on September 1, 2021. More ›

The Scabby Saga Continues

The battle over Scabby the Rat took another turn on July 21, 2021, when the National Labor Relations Board issued its anticipated decision and order in International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 and Lippert Components, Inc.

Scabby is a large, 12-foot-high inflatable rat with red eyes, menacing fangs, and claws. Unions often use it to inform the public that they have a dispute with a non-union employer. The rat often is used in construction trades when a non-union contractor provides services at a worksite. Additionally, as part of street theatre, many unions use the rat—along with large banners and union representatives standing nearby—to publicize their disputes with non-union employers, known as the primary employer for labor law purposes. More ›

Employers Should No Longer Rely on Their Policies Alone to Support a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Claim Against Current or Former Employees

On June 3, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Van Buren v. U.S. addressing a long-standing circuit split on employee computer access limits under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). For many years the federal courts struggled with and disagreed over how to interpret the CFAA provisions that impose criminal and civil liability on a person who "intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access." 18 U.S.C. §1030(a)(2). The phrase "exceeds authorized access" is defined by the CFAA as follows: "To access a computer with authorization and to use such access to obtain or alter information in the computer that the accesser is not entitled so to obtain or alter." 18 U.S.C. §1030(e)(6). Unlike the typical employment scenario, the Van Buren case involved a police officer who used his access to a law enforcement database to search a license plate in exchange for $5,000.00 that was offered to him as part of a planned FBI investigation. The police officer was charged with a felony violation of the CFAA based on the allegation that his license plate search violated the "exceeds authorized access" provision of the CFAA. 18 U.S.C. §1030(a)(2). Specifically, the government's case against the police officer was that he used his authorized access to the license plate database for "an improper purpose" that included "any personal use." Van Buren, p. 4, citing App. 17. After the police officer was convicted by a jury, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. On appeal the Eleventh Circuit affirmed by holding that the police officer had violated the CFAA by his action in accessing the law enforcement database for an "inappropriate reason." Van Buren v. U.S., 940 F.3d 1192, 1208 (9th Cir. 2019). More ›

Frequently Asked Questions About the Latest CDC COVID-19 Guidance

While helpful to individuals, the new guidance issued recently by the Center for Disease Control raises more unanswered questions for employers preparing or implementing return-to-work strategies. In an advisory published on Hinshaw's website, we review these questions, and provide analysis.

DOL Withdraws Trump-Era Independent Contractor Rule

During the Trump administration, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new rule regarding the classification of independent contractors. Designed to streamline how a company determines whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor, the rule narrowed the factors in the "economic realities" test and focused the analysis on the two "core factors" of control and the opportunity for profit and loss. The proposed regulations were set to go into effect on March 8, 2021. With the change in administration, the DOL initially pushed the effective date back to May 7, 2021, to allow for further review and consideration. The DOL announced on May 5, 2021, that it is withdrawing the rule altogether. More ›

U.S. House Seeks Drastic Revision of Labor Law with Protect the Right to Organize Act of 2021

In a Hinshaw Insights for Employers Alert, we consider the drastic revisions to the National Labor Relations Act and federal labor policy contemplated by the Protect the Right to Organize Act of 2021. The bill was passed with little fanfare by the U.S. House of Representatives last month.

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Amendments to Illinois Law Make Using Criminal Convictions in Employment Decisions a Civil Rights Violation, Outlines New Equal Pay Reporting Requirements

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed SB 1480 into law on March 23, 2021. Effective immediately, the law significantly amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA), and the Illinois Business Corporation Act. The amendments affect employers' ability to use criminal conviction records in employment decisions and imposes new reporting requirements regarding pay equity. More ›

California Court of Appeal Rules Alleged Contractor Misclassification Not Enough to Justify Class Action

On Friday, March 12, 2021, the California Court of Appeal issued a ruling in Wilson v. The La Jolla Group that addresses the appropriate scope of class treatment for employee misclassification under Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court. Dynamex—and its later enactment into statute in the form of AB 5—established the ABC test for determining independent contractor status. More ›