ILN Today Post

Distressed retail: The new landscape

The retail sector has been badly affected by temporary covid closures. But with this coming on top of major structural changes in the sector, the damage is extreme. We have seen mass closures and the disappearance from our high streets of many well known names. Some have been rescued but often by transforming them into businesses much more orientated to online sales and with less (or no) ongoing high street units. And we fear that there is more to come, particularly for  medium sized and smaller chains as they emerge from government temporary protections against creditor actions, supported loans and the furlough scheme.

This is a threat to many but an opportunity for others.

In the articles below our experts look into a variety of topics to be borne in mind by retailers or their prospective rescuers to navigate through this new environment.

We hope you find it useful.

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OSHA Launches New COVID-19 Initiatives: With More to Come

President Biden’s January 21, 2021 Executive Order (EO) on COVID-19 tasked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to: launch a national enforcement program, review and correct any shortcomings in their prior enforcement strategies and to determine whether any Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) were necessary and, if so, to issue an ETS by March 15, 2021.  The prior Administration had not issued an ETS, and was severely criticized by the Congress and labor unions.

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Our Commercial Litigation Group Welcomes Gabriel Gibeau

March 19, 2021 — RSS’S Commercial Litigation Group is happy to welcome Gabriel Gibeau, who was just called to the Bar after articling with us. “Ever since he came on board, Gabriel has already demonstrated that he has the necessary qualities to succeed as a pleader before the courts”, explains team leader Jean-Pierre Sheppard. “The members of the group appreciate his commitment and his passion.”

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Building Compliance Programs for AI Tools

Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) applications are powerful tools that already have been deployed by companies to improve business performance across the health care, manufacturing, retail, and banking industries, among many others. From largescale AI initiatives to smaller AI vendors, AI tools quickly are becoming a mainstream fixture in many industries and will likely infiltrate many more in the near future.

But are these companies also prepared to defend the use of AI tools should there be compliance issues at a later time? What should companies do before launching AI tools and what should companies do to continue to feel confident about compliance while the AI tools simplify and hopefully improve processes? The improper application of AI tools or the improper operation or outcomes from the AI tools can create new types of enterprise risks. While the use of AI in health care presents many opportunities, the enterprise risks that might arise need to be effectively assessed and managed.

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Illinois Coalition Backs Telehealth Bill Supporting Payment Parity Beyond COVID-19 Pandemic

The Illinois Coalition to Protect Telehealth, a coalition of more than thirty Illinois healthcare providers and patient advocates, announced its support for a bill that would, among other things, establish payment parity for telehealth services and permanently eliminate geographic and facility restrictions beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many states, Illinois issued an executive order at the outset of the pandemic temporarily lifting longstanding barriers to consumer access to telehealth via commercial health plans and Medicaid.[1]  The executive order expanded the definition of telehealth services, loosened geographical restrictions on physician licensing requirements, and barred private insurers from charging copays and deductibles for in-network telehealth visits.

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EEO-1 Reporting for 2019 and 2020 to Close in July 2021

On March 12, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that the EEO-1 Component 1 data collection period will open at the end of April 2021 and close in July 2021.  Submission of the EEO-1 Report is required for employers with 100 or more employees, and applicable Federal government contractors with 50 or more employees and contracts of $50,000. The agency has not announced an exact closing date, indicating:

The EEO-1 Component 1 data collection will open at the end of April 2021 and close in July 2021. The exact closing date will be posted when the data collection launches. Employers will be notified of additional details and how to access the online filing system in April.

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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: 10 Reasons You Aren’t Getting Referrals

Join us for this week’s rainmaking recommendation from trainer and coach, Jaimie Field.

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Referrals can be one of the best Rainmaking tactics you can use to grow your book of business.  But, many lawyers aren’t getting the quality or quantity of referrals that they would like.

Here are 10 reasons you’re not getting referrals:

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ILN Today Post

COBRA Changes under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the Act) into law on March 11, 2021. While direct payments to certain taxpayers and extending unemployment benefits have received most of the attention in the media, the Act also provides for the federal government to pay 100% of the cost of COBRA premiums for the period beginning April 1 through September 30 (the Subsidy Period). The federal government will pay for the cost of the COBRA subsidies by providing certain tax credits to the employer in the case of self-insured medical plans or the insurer in the case of fully-insured medical plans. Read more…

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Nine Leadership Lessons Learned in a Pandemic

A pandemic is a strange time to be a leader. It’s both terrifying, because you, as much as everyone else, have no idea what’s going to happen, but you have to put on a brave face to instill confidence and it’s, in some ways, exciting, because you get to test your skill set in a way you never have (although, let me be absolutely clear – every leader I know would hand it back over in a heartbeat). I talked to a law firm leader recently who said she regularly presents a calm and collected front to her shareholders and then hangs up the phone to cry. We laughed about it, because that is EXACTLY how it is – like ducks, we are serene above water while paddling like maniacs below.

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Hiring by Algorithm: Legal Issues Presented by the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Sourcing and Selection

Recruiting qualified applicants and hiring top talent have always been time-consuming endeavors that come with constant worry about making a wrong hire. Added to this, the COVID-19 pandemic effectively put a halt to employers’ ability to evaluate applicants in-person. These factors, and others, have led many employers to adopt or to, consider adopting, artificial intelligence (AI) tools to optimize recruitment by introducing efficiencies, reaching a broader pool of applicants, increasing consistency and uniformity in the evaluation of applicants, and, in some cases, helping employers meet diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Typically, employers opting to use AI, contract with third-party vendors that offer AI-powered algorithms, which perform a variety of functions, such as cognitive assessments, personality tests, and video interviews.

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