Legal Updates

Rare Hearing by the Supreme Court as to Stays in Vaccine Mandate Cases

On the evening of Wednesday, December 22, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will hold a special session on January 7, 2022, to hear oral argument in cases concerning whether two Biden administration vaccine mandates should be stayed. One is an interim final rule promulgated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”); the other is an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). The CMS interim final rulepresently stayed in 24 states, would require COVID-19 vaccination for staff employed at Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers. The OSHA ETS, which requires businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure that workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or otherwise to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, was allowed to take effect when a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, to which the consolidated challenges had been assigned by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued a ruling, on December 17, 2021, lifting a stay that had been previously entered by the Fifth Circuit. Multiple private sector litigants and states immediately challenged the decision.

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In terms of legislation, November was characterised by the approval and publication of Law no. 77/2021 of November 23, which amended the Law on the Organisation of the Judicial System and Decree-Law no. 49/2014 of March 27, which establishes the system applicable to the organisation and functioning of the judicial courts. Read more…

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Hong Kong New Listing Regime for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPAC)

The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (“HKEx”) published its conclusion to its consultation on creating a new listing regime for special purpose acquisition companies (“SPAC”) in December 2021. The new addition to the Listing Rules, namely Chapter 18B which governs the listing of SPAC, shall become effective on 1 January 2022. Read more…

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Best Practices to Protect Against Increased Cyber Threats During the Holiday Season

Recent data thefts and systems intrusions, particularly with respect to ransomware, have assured that cybersecurity is top of mind for corporate executives and compliance officials. We at EBG have tried to keep you up to date with respect to legislative, regulatory and litigation developments and recommended best practices and procedures.

As we close out the year, we all should remain mindful that cyber criminals, especially those who are supported or protected by foreign adversaries, have little incentive to rest up during the holidays.

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Video: Year in Review and a Look Ahead to 2022 – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday This week, we’re recapping some of the biggest changes that impacted employers in 2021. We also look ahead to what’s in store in the new year.

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Massachusetts SJC Finds a Public Policy Exception to Employment At Will Under the State Personnel Records Law

Last week, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (“SJC”) unanimously ruled that the state Personnel Records Law, M.G.L. c. 149, § 52C, provides for a public policy exception to employment at will. Writing on behalf of the full panel in Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc., SJC-13117 (Dec. 17, 2021), Justice Kafker held that an employer cannot terminate an at-will employee for exercising his statutory right to file a rebuttal for inclusion in his personnel file, as doing so would constitute wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. This decision provides a significant addition to the list of narrow exceptions to the general rule of employment at will, and is sure to impact the way employers communicate and document personnel issues.

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Illinois appellate court clarifies accrual date of BIPA claims

The Illinois appellate court recently confirmed that a claim under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) accrues each time an individual’s biometric information is scanned or captured.

The case is Watson v. Legacy Healthcare Financial Services, LLC, et al., 2021 IL App (1st) 210279. Watson claimed to have worked as a certified nursing assistant for Legacy Healthcare Financial Services (Legacy), Lincoln Park Skilled Nursing Facility (Lincoln Park), and South Loop Skilled Nursing Facility (South Loop). According to Watson, Legacy owns residential health care services facilities, including Lincoln Park and South Loop, and he worked at Lincoln Park from December 2012 through February 2019 and at South Loop from May 2017 through November 2017. Watson alleged that Defendants committed four separate BIPA violations by requiring him to scan his finger and/or hand at Lincoln Park and South Loop for timekeeping purposes from 2012 through the end of his employment. Read more…

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California Authorities Announce Changes to COVID-19-Related Requirements

On December 13, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) announced new Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings (“CDPH Guidance”), implementing a mandatory mask mandate for individuals (employees and patrons) in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccination status, beginning on December 15, 2021 through at least January 15, 2022.  The CDPH Guidance requires that masks be worn by all individuals over the age of two, unless exempt for disability-related or medical condition-based reasons, and recommends the use of surgical masks or higher-level respirators.

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The Amendments to the legal regime of telework – Law 83/2021 of 6 December 2021 article can be read here.

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As enacted on November 19, 2020 by Bill C-9 (An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy)), the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (“CERS“) has provided a rent subsidy for businesses that experienced a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the CERS program, businesses applied for the rent subsidy on a monthly basis for each “qualifying period”. On October 21, 2021, the Federal Government confirmed that the CERS program would not be extended beyond the October 23, 2021 qualifying period. Therefore, the final qualifying period for which businesses may make a claim under the CERS program is from September 26, 2021 to October 23, 2021. The deadline to submit a claim for this final period is April 21, 2022.

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