North America

SEC response to coronavirus outbreak

In response to the continued spread of the coronavirus in the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an order on March 4, 2020, providing conditional regulatory relief to publically traded companies that may have been affected by the coronavirus. Subject to certain conditions, the SEC’s order provides qualifying companies an additional 45 days to file certain required reports that otherwise would be due between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020. Read more…

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CMS updates regarding coronavirus lab tests

CMS is issuing nearly daily updates regarding its actions to support American healthcare facilities and clinical laboratories in responding to COVID-19.

This alert provides a list of some of the more recent information provided by CMS on its current emergencies page: Read more…

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Practical guidance for employers on responding to the coronavirus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an interim guidance for employers regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance may help prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19.

In order to prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, it is recommended that employers use the CDC guidance to determine the risk of coronavirus infection.  Employers should never make a determination of risk based on race or country of origin, and as always, employers should maintain the confidentiality of employees with confirmed coronavirus infection. Read more…

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Coronavirus: A force majeure in the automotive supply, or just another supply chain dispute?

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, automotive suppliers and customers have scrambled to keep the supply chain running.  While these efforts have succeeded with few exceptions so far, the ability of suppliers to meet customers’ needs remains in jeopardy in many cases while the virus continues to spread.  As in other industries, this has suppliers and their counsel reviewing the force majeure clauses in their contracts to determine if these may provide relief if the suppliers fail to meet delivery requirement or are forced to incur additional costs to do so. Read more…

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Confronting the impossibility of performing under a contract: Using a force majeure provision in response to the coronavirus outbreak

Many businesses are feeling a strain on operations due to the recent global coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). As the virus continues to spread, the long-term ramifications it will have for businesses are unclear. However, businesses that may be affected should consider what steps are necessary to mitigate their risks should any interruption in their businesses occur. One of the questions companies should ask is, “Does the coronavirus outbreak fall within the operation of a force majeure clause?” Read more…

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Employment Law Q&A: Coronavirus wage and hour questions

With the anticipated spread of the coronavirus, employers are looking for ways to continue operations and at the same time limit their employees’ risk of exposure to the virus. Employers may direct some employees to work from home, while other employees may be furloughed, asked to work a reduced schedule, or may be sick. Below are some questions employers may have regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if such situations arise.   Read more…

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Coronavirus: What is an employer to do?

As the United States evacuates citizens from Wuhan, China, and in the wake of news that it may be possible for the coronavirus to spread before a person is symptomatic, many employers are wondering what, if anything, they should be doing to keep their workplace safe. As when similar widespread health concerns have occurred in the past, such as the H1N1 flu in 2009, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have provided guidance. Read more…

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Force Majeure and Other Contractual Considerations in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the respiratory illness called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic, making it the first time that the WHO has declared an outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 “swine flu” in 2009. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its rapid, global spread and the numbers of cases and deaths rise, the commercial effects for businesses also increase, including labor issues, regulatory issues from governmental restrictions and quarantines, supply chain and logistics issues from transportation and facility disruptions, and privacy issues from the use and disclosure of medically sensitive personal information. Because these commercial effects may result in an impacted party’s inability to fully perform its obligations under its contracts, companies should consider the risks under existing contracts, as well as how to address COVID-19 and other epidemics and pandemics in future contracts. Read more…

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Cybercriminals exploit coronavirus fears

Cybercriminals continue to exploit any opportunity to target the data of unsuspecting victims with malicious malware, even using a growing health crisis like the coronavirus pandemic as subterfuge.

According to a report by Forbes’ Zak Doffman on Wednesday, March 11, AZORult malware has found a new carrier into the systems of worried internet surfers searching for the most up-to-date news on the COVID-19 virus. Reason Labs updated a warning about the four-year-old malware now hiding behind a website offering a world map showing the spread of confirmed coronavirus cases. Read more…

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Prospectively Reducing Workweeks for Overtime Exempt Employees – With a Commensurate Reduction in Salary – Does Not Necessarily Destroy the Exemption

Employers grappling with workplace attendance issues in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus may soon face additional challenges resulting from a potential economic downturn.  Media stories are already beginning to report on potential furloughs and layoffs.  For some employers, reducing the workweek (e.g., from 5 working days to 4 working days) could be a reasonable business response.  But would reducing the workweek affect the overtime exemption for exempt employees?

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