North America

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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Nicholas W. Starr Joins Thriving Trust and Estate Planning Practice

Chicago, Ill., September 23, 2021 – Howard & Howard is pleased to welcome Nicholas W. Starr to the firm. He joins the Trust & Estate Planning Practice Group. Nick joins one of five Howard & Howard locations, continuing his practice out of the Chicago office.

“I am an attorney who assists clients in the areas of estate planning, real estate, and business transactions.” – Nicholas W. Starr

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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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IRS Updates Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued in its Revenue Procedure 2021-30 an update to its Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) on July 16, 2021, revising its correction programs for qualified retirement plans. The new guidance generally replaces and supersedes prior EPCRS guidance.

Updated EPCRS Highlights
Key updates and new features for plan sponsors and administrators include the following points, which are generally effective July 16, 2021 (except as otherwise noted). Read more…

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Builders’ Risk Insurance: Is Demolition Work Covered?

By Sarah Bouzo, from our Insurance Law Practice Group

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September 17, 2021 — On June 7, 2021, the Superior Court dismissed the action in L’Unique assurances générales inc. c. Intact Compagnie d’assurance, 2021 QCCS 2916, in concluding that the Builder’s Risk issued in favor of Intact’s insured did not apply.

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Ninth Circuit Decision Holds That California Law Addressing Mandatory Arbitration Agreements May Go Into Effect

Since the Supreme Court issued its seminal 2018 decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, acknowledging that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) permits the use of arbitration agreements with class action waivers, many employers have implemented arbitration programs for their employees. Those arbitration programs have been aimed, in no small part, at avoiding the class and collective actions that have overwhelmed employers, particularly in California.

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