On March 9, 2020, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (“ONC”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published their long-awaited final rules that seeks to promote interoperability. Market participants waited longer than usual for this rule due to the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) extending the comment period at the request of a variety of stakeholders.
ONC’s New Information Blocking Prohibition Affects Health Care Providers, Health IT Developers, Health Information Exchanges, and Health Information Networks
New Mexico Prohibits Non-Disclosure Provisions in Settlement Agreements Involving Harassment and Discrimination Claims
On March 4, 2020, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law House Bill 21 (“Law”), limiting the use of non-disclosure agreements (“NDA”) in settlements of sexual misconduct claims.
The Law prohibits employers from requiring, as a condition of employment, that an employee agree to an NDA in a settlement agreement relating to a claim of sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation whether occurring in the workplace or at a “work-related event[s] coordinated by or through the employer.” In settlement agreements with former employees, the Law permits the amount of the settlement be kept confidential and, at the former employee’s request, a confidentiality provision may be included that prevents disclosure of factual information that might reveal the complainant’s identity. Further, at the former employee’s “sole” request, a broader NDA – one that prohibits disclosure of “factual information related to the underlying sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation claim,” is permissible, as long as it does not bar disclosure pursuant to a subpoena or other legal order issued in an administrative, judicial, or other governmental proceeding.
Ninth Circuit Ends Wage Statement Class Action Where Plaintiff Suffered No “Real-World Consequences” From Error in Employer’s Name
Employers in California have been inundated with wage-hour class actions for the past two decades. And, time and again, they have had to deal with employee-friendly decisions from the California Supreme Court.
Leave it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal to step in and put an end to a proposed class action, finding that there were no “real-world consequences” from wage statements had an error in the employer’s name.
On 17th March 2020, the Government has introduced the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (“Bill”) in the Lok Sabha to further amend Companies Act, 2013 (“Act”) proposing various changes pertaining to removing criminality from most of the offences under the Act and offering simpler penalty regime for businesses as well as paving way for direct overseas listing of Indian companies.
The key amendments introduced in the Bill, inter alia, are listed below:
The EEOC Issues Reminder and Guidance Regarding ADA and Rehabilitation Act Compliance During Pandemic
On March 17, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted an article on its website, “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19.” The article confirms that workplace anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC remain applicable, but that nothing in those laws interferes with or prevents “employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19.”
Benefits Guidance in the time of COVID-19: Additional Cybersecurity Concerns as Employees “Work-From-Home”
As the United States and the rest of the world hunker down in their homes to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many organizations have implemented “working-from-home” procedures that are designed to protect the health of the employees. Working-from-home, however, presents heightened threats to the cybersecurity of benefit plans, including the plan’s assets and employee data that is collected, transmitted, and stored with regard to employee benefit plans. Plan sponsors and fiduciaries have asked about the particular risks that working-from-home might present to the protection of sensitive data and whether there are additional proactive measures they can take to reduce those risks.
We hope that everyone is staying safe during the COVID-19 crisis. State health departments are, of course, doing what they can to facilitate management of transmission of COVID-19 by healthcare providers. Some recent actions by the New York Department of Health (“DOH”) to allow or promote telephonic and telehealth services include:
Telephonic Evaluation – Beginning with dates of service of March 13, Medicaid will reimburse telephonic evaluation and management services for established patients where face-to-face visits may not be recommended and it is medically appropriate to evaluate and manage the patient by phone. Additionally, where a patient face-to-face visit is not possible due to the State of Emergency, telephonic visits documented as clinically appropriate by the provider will be considered medically necessary for Medicaid payment purposes.
Benefits Guidance in the time of COVID-19: Monitoring Retirement Plan Investments and Participant Communications
The COVID-19 global pandemic has created a multitude of business and workforce challenges for employers. In addition to addressing organizational issues, employers that sponsor employee benefit plans and plan fiduciaries must continue to manage and administer the benefit plans as well as address plan participant inquiries during these unprecedented and uncertain times.
One area where plan fiduciaries are seeking guidance concerns oversight of defined contribution plan investment options and any additional actions that they can take now with respect to monitoring such investments and providing communications to participants. In light of these concerns, plan sponsors and fiduciaries may wish to consider taking the following actions:
Practical Summary Frequent Covid-19 issues faced by employers in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania
Most important restrictions currently applied by state (as of March 16, 2020):