As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This episode looks at how workplace guidance is changing as COVID-19 surges and the executive orders most likely to be reversed by the new administration.
Video: NY Travel Advisory Changes, CA’s COVID-19 Exposure Notice, Executive Order Reversals – Employment Law This Week
Just one week after ordering new business restrictions to combat the recent surge of COVID-19, Governor Larry Hogan announced further mitigation measures in Maryland that will dial back business operations.
On November 17, 2020, Governor Hogan issued Executive Order 20-11-17-01, which amends and restates Executive Order 20-11-10-01 (which we previously summarized here). The amended order goes into effect at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 20, 2020.
Michigan recently announced two COVID-19 developments that will impact employers and their workplaces. Most recently, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued new restrictions for business operations in the state that are set to take effect on November 18 and last through December 8, 2020 (the “Three Week Pause Order”). The Three Week Pause Order followed an announcement late last week by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) of a State Emphasis Program (SEP) focused on in-door activities and venues, including office settings. The Three Week Pause Order and SEP announcements also include an important reminder to employers of the potential liabilities and penalties if they violate the State’s COVID-19 safety requirements.
Our colleague Melissa L. Jampol of Epstein Becker Green has a new post on the Commercial Litigation Update blog that will be interest to our readers: “Opioids, Sober Homes and ‘Telefraud’: An Overview of the DOJ 2020 Healthcare Fraud Takedown.”
The following is an excerpt:
As we have previously reported, opioids have been a large focus of DOJ in the past few years in an attempt to stem the opioid epidemic through increased enforcement and this takedown is a continuation of those efforts. DOJ stated that the charges involved in the opioid-related takedown involved the submission of $800 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and private insurance companies for treatments that were allegedly medically unnecessary and often never provided. DOJ also continued the trend of charging medical professionals with the illegal distribution of opioids (or operating pill mills). Providers need to be mindful of safe opioid prescribing guidelines, develop and implement rigorous compliance programs, and keep up to date on ever shifting federal and state laws in this area.
Ransomware is a serious form of cyber extortion that employs malware to prevent users from accessing their systems or data, either by locking the system or encrypting critical files until a ransom is paid. The hacker holds the key to unlock the system and usually demands payment in cryptocurrency.
As you may be aware, on Saturday 31st October 2020 the UK government announced that, in light of the new lockdown being introduced in England, the furlough scheme is being extended for a further month and will now end in December 2020. This means that the Job Support Scheme previously announced will be postponed and come into effect once the extended furlough ends.
Video: Pandemic’s Impact on Women and Caregivers: A Wake-Up Call for Employers – Employment Law This Week
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: Employers fear that the COVID-19 pandemic could undo recent progress towards workforce equity, with women and caregivers leaving the workforce in droves. Flexible time off, remote work policies, and employee benefits, like on-site child care, are just a few options employers can deploy to retain female talent. Learn more about the legal issues.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect workplaces throughout the world, employers are considering new ways to ensure a safe workplace when employees return to the office. Outside the US, employers must balance their duty of care to protect the health and safety of all their employees with safeguarding employees’ privacy and complying with data protection regulations. Many employers already have analyzed whether they may require or request employees to (i) submit to COVID-19 testing at the workplace, (ii) certify certain health information regarding exposure to COVID-19 and (iii) wear a face covering in the workplace. Another relatively recent development employers outside the US may wish to consider is whether they may require or request employees to download a COVID-19 contact tracing application to their smartphones to track employees’ movements and contacts to enable employers to alert employees if they have been exposed to a co-worker with COVID-19.
As COVID-19 cases once again surge across the country, Washington, D.C. employers must remember to provide both paid and unpaid leave under the new District of Columbia Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-130) (the “Act”). Although passed in July 2020, the Act formally became effective on October 9, 2020 and will remain in effect through the end of the declared COVID-19 public health emergency—currently December 31, 2021. The law repeals the emergency laws that we previously blogged about, but carries over the additional obligations to provide employees with paid and unpaid leave for COVID-19-related reasons. We have summarized both provisions below.