Legal Updates

California Passes Law Marking a Dramatic Shift in Warehouse Worker Quotas

On September 22, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a groundbreaking bill that affects warehouse distribution centers (“covered employers”) and their employees.

Effective January 1, 2022, AB 701, requires covered employers to provide nonexempt employees with a written description of each quota that the employee is subject to, including the number of tasks to be performed, or materials to be produced or handled, and any potential adverse employment action that could result from failure to meet the quota. The disclosures must be made at the time of hire, or within 30 days of the effective date of the law.

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Video: Challenges and Guidance on Biden’s Vaccine Mandate, NY HERO Act Form Updated, Job Application Compliance – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we update you on recent guidance for and challenges to President Biden’s requirement that employers with 100 or more employees, federal employers and contractors, and health care employers mandate COVID-19 vaccination.

Presidential Vaccine Mandate: Challenges and Guidance

President Biden’s COVID-19 action plan set off a flurry of new guidelines for employers as well as challenges to the plan. Last week, new challenges were introduced in the courts, and the Safer Federal Workplace Task Force released guidance for federal employers and contractors on implementing mandatory vaccination policies. Attorneys Jill Bigler and Nathaniel Glasser tell us more. You can also read more about the guidance for federal contractors.

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COVID-19 Workplace Safety Guidance Issued for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Imposes Major New Employee Vaccination and Other Requirements

On September 24, 2021, in response to the Path Out of the Pandemic: COVID-19 Action Plan announced by President Biden on September 9, and Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors (the “Order”), signed by the President the same day, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) issued “COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors” (“Guidance”). The Guidance, which the Director of the Office of Management and Budget approved, is intended to ensure that COVID-19 safeguards are provided in workplace locations with individuals working on or in connection with a Federal Government contract or contract-like instrument.  The requirements apply to new contracts awarded on or after October 15, 2021, and to contracts entered before that date when an option is extended or an extension is made.

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OFAC sanctions necessitate improved cybersecurity preparedness and an experienced incident response team

As ransomware incidents skyrocket across the country, the U.S. government continues its efforts to combat cybercrime through all avenues. Most recently, sanctions were levied against a cryptocurrency exchange for facilitating illegal financial transactions to sanctioned entities. The recent sanctions indicate that, more than ever, organizations must take steps to both mitigate risk and properly handle cyber security incidents through an experienced response team when they occur. Read more…

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New York State Updates General Model Form of HERO Act Safety Plan

On September 23, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) released an update to its general model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan (“model plan”) for employers’ use in complying with the NY HERO Act. Specifically, the model plan’s language regarding face coverings and physical distancing was modified by:

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Los Angeles County to Require Proof of Vaccination at Certain Indoor Establishments – for Both On-Site Employees and Patrons

On September 17, 2021, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) announced a public health order (“the Order”) requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all on-site employees and visitors at indoor bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs, and lounges throughout the county. Effective Thursday, October 7, 2021 at 11:59 P.M., proof of vaccination will be required to enter these establishments, and will be strongly recommended, although not required, for restaurants with indoor dining. Patrons who do not provide proof of vaccination may still be served in outside areas of the venue or enter the indoor portion for pick up or delivery.

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COBRA Premium Assistance Period Ends September 30, 2021

On September 30, 2021, the COBRA premium assistance period established by the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) will come to an end. ARPA requires, among other things, that employers provide 100 percent COBRA premium subsidies to assistance eligible individuals (“AEIs”) and their qualified beneficiaries, if they are eligible for COBRA during the six-month period beginning April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. Employers must notify all AEIs that their subsidy period is going to end by sending the Notice of Expiration of Premium Assistance at least 15 days, but no more than 45 days, before the expiration of the premium assistance. With the COBRA premium assistance period less than two weeks away, employers should have already sent their final Notices of Expiration. Employers that have not done so, however, should send the notices now.

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Supreme Judicial Court Clarifies Breadth of COVID-19 Tolling Order

Supreme Judicial Court Clarifies Breadth of COVID-19 Tolling Order

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (“SJC”) entered an order tolling the statutes of limitations applicable to civil claims. Although some practitioners interpreted the order as tolling only those statutes of limitations set to expire while the order was in effect, in Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc. v. Melendez, SJC-13054 (Sept. 3, 2021), the SJC rejected such a narrow interpretation and held that its order tolled all statutes of limitations, regardless of their expiration date. Employers should take note of Melendez and consider whether they have any other timeliness arguments when faced with stale claims.

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Video: Vaccine Mandate Requirement, First COVID-19 Remote Work Suit, Whistleblower Awards Top $1 Billion – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at significant developments for employers from across the federal government, including at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Federal Court in Florida Rules that Federal Arbitration Act Exclusion Does Not Apply to Uber Drivers

On June 1, 2021 the Southern District of Florida granted the motion by Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) to compel arbitration, finding that the company’s drivers did not engage in sufficient interstate commerce to meet the interstate commerce exclusion in the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

Plaintiffs Kathleen Short and Harold White brought a class action against Uber alleging that the company’s policy of classifying its drivers as independent contractors violates the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Florida Minimum Wage Act because the company failed to pay drivers the minimum wage. Uber sought to enforce its arbitration agreement which unambiguously required plaintiffs to pursue any potential claims in an individual arbitration.

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