Following on his promises to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen,” President Joe Biden signed the Executive Order on Worker Organizing and Empowerment (“Executive Order”) on April 26, 2021, creating a task force whose purpose is to strengthen unions and make it easier for workers to unionize. Along with endorsing the Protecting the Rights to Organize Act in March, President Biden is affirmatively putting a heavy federal foot on the scale to empower unions and bolster declining union membership, both in the public and private sectors.
Monthly Archives: April 2021
Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC Welcomes Neil M. Willner as Co-Chair of its Growing Cannabis Industry Group
New York, NY, April 27, 2021 – Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC (RCCB), a law firm offering a distinctive combination of practical business acumen, legal expertise, and entrepreneurial passion, today announced the addition of attorney Neil M. Willner to its New York office. Willner joins the firm as Co-Chair of the Cannabis Industry Group and as an Associate in the Corporate & Business and Litigation Groups after practicing at an Am Law 200 firm. Read more…
Investment in Cannabis REITs
Billions of dollars have been invested in cannabis Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) over the past few years and since late last summer, stocks have been climbing as more and more states legalize adult use medical and recreational cannabis. The first publicly traded cannabis REIT in the United States, Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE: IIPR), had a stock value of $183.93 per share and a market capitalization of $4.16 billion as of the date of this article1. This pivotal moment for the cannabis industry has given rise to a significant new investment opportunity for institutional and individual investors. Read more…
Small and midsize employers may be entitled to tax credits for providing paid leave related to COVID-19 vaccinations
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allows small and midsize employers, and certain governmental employers, to claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19. This includes leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations.
Spilling the “High Tea” Regarding Employee Mental Health: Royal Tell-All Highlights Potential Employer Risks With Regard to Worker Well-Being
Ex-royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sent shockwaves through the world during their recent tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, where one particularly incendiary topic was Ms. Markle’s mental health struggles and her unsuccessful attempts to seek help for same from her “employer,” i.e., Buckingham Palace. Ms. Winfrey looked on in shock as Ms. Markle, in describing her efforts to obtain support for her mental health difficulties, stated: “I went to human resources, and I said, ‘I just really – I need help.’” Read here…
On March 30, 2021, the Office of General Counsel of the National Labor Relation Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) released an Obama-era Advice Memorandum, originally prepared in 2016, opining that racially charged comments were protected concerted activity. Just one day later, on March 31, 2021, Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr affirmed in his latest Memorandum (“March 31st Memorandum”) his plan to pursue a broadening of employees’ protections under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “Act”) beyond concerted activities relating to union activity and labor organizing, for example, by expanding the Board’s traditional view of protected concerted activity to protect employees’ political and social justice advocacy activities under Section 7. These publications are a harbinger of the enforcement priorities of the General Counsel under the Biden administration.
Last week, the New York State Senate advanced two bills seeking to ban both “no-poach” clauses in franchise agreements and “no-rehire” clauses, which are commonly used in settlement agreements.
The first of these bills, known as the End Employer Collusion Act (Bill S562), prohibits no-poach agreements between franchisors and franchisees. Such agreements restrict franchisees from soliciting or hiring current or former employees of the franchisor or other franchisees. The End Employer Collusion Act would also provide a private right of action for any person denied employment on account of a no–poach agreement, and would allow for the recovery of actual and punitive damages, as well as costs and attorneys’ fees. The New York legislature is not the first to target no-poach clauses in franchise agreements; Washington passed legislation banning such clauses nearly two years ago. In addition, prior to taking office, in his Plan for Strengthening Worker Organizing, Collective Bargaining, and Unions, President Biden indicated that he would like to see federal legislation in this area, and that he intends to work with Congress to “outright ban all no-poaching agreements.”
On April 19, 2021, the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Office of Audit Services (OAS) released the results of an audit conducted on the accuracy of diagnosis codes submitted to CMS by Humana, Inc. for 2015 dates of service. Based on the audit results, the OIG recommended Humana return a whopping $197.7 million in alleged overpayments and enhance its policies and procedures to prevent, detect and correct noncompliance with Federal requirements for diagnosis codes that are used to calculate risk-adjusted payments.
The Federal Communications Commission Announces Narrow Window to Apply for Second Round of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Funding – Applications Due May 6, 2021
On April 29, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin accepting applications for the second round of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program (the “Program”). However, the application filing window will only be open for a very short seven day period and will close on May 6, 2021. To give all applicants an equal opportunity to have their applications reviewed, the FCC announced that all applications filed during this period will be reviewed once the application filing window has closed.
On March 12th, to further implement the requirement under the PRC Cyber Security Law that network operators comply with the principles of “legitimacy, justifiability and necessity” when collecting and using personal information”, as well as “network operators not collect personal information which are not relevant to the services which they provide” etc., Cyberspace Administration of China, Ministry of INformation and Industry, Public Security Bureau and State Administration for Market Regulation collectively issued the Rules for the Scope of Necessary Personal Information for the Common Category of Mobile Internet Applications (the “Rules for Necessary Personal Information“), prohibiting mobile internet application operators from refusing users to use APP’s fundamental functions only if the users decline to grant consent to the collection of unnecessary personal information. Read more…