North America

Video & Podcast: Employers and the American Rescue Plan – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, our special podcast series, Employers and the New Administration, concludes with a look at how President Biden’s landmark American Rescue Plan impacts employers.

As President Biden’s first 100 days come to a close, his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) is having a big impact on employers. The plan, one of the largest stimulus bills in history, attempts to provide relief to constituents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through several ways, among those ways are changes to employee benefits and compensation.

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President Biden Creates Task Force to Help Unions Organize Your Workforce

Following on his promises to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen,” President Joe Biden signed the Executive Order on Worker Organizing and Empowerment (“Executive Order”) on April 26, 2021, creating a task force whose purpose is to strengthen unions and make it easier for workers to unionize. Along with endorsing the Protecting the Rights to Organize Act in March, President Biden is affirmatively putting a heavy federal foot on the scale to empower unions and bolster declining union membership, both in the public and private sectors.

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Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC Welcomes Neil M. Willner as Co-Chair of its Growing Cannabis Industry Group

New York, NY, April 27, 2021 – Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC (RCCB), a law firm offering a distinctive combination of practical business acumen, legal expertise, and entrepreneurial passion, today announced the addition of attorney Neil M. Willner to its New York office. Willner joins the firm as Co-Chair of the Cannabis Industry Group and as an Associate in the Corporate & Business and Litigation Groups after practicing at an Am Law 200 firm. Read more…

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Investment in Cannabis REITs
Billions of dollars have been invested in cannabis Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) over the past few years and since late last summer, stocks have been climbing as more and more states legalize adult use medical and recreational cannabis. The first publicly traded cannabis REIT in the United States, Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE: IIPR), had a stock value of $183.93 per share and a market capitalization of $4.16 billion as of the date of this article1. This pivotal moment for the cannabis industry has given rise to a significant new investment opportunity for institutional and individual investors. Read more…

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Spilling the “High Tea” Regarding Employee Mental Health: Royal Tell-All Highlights Potential Employer Risks With Regard to Worker Well-Being

Ex-royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sent shockwaves through the world during their recent tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, where one particularly incendiary topic was Ms. Markle’s mental health struggles and her unsuccessful attempts to seek help for same from her “employer,” i.e., Buckingham Palace. Ms. Winfrey looked on in shock as Ms. Markle, in describing her efforts to obtain support for her mental health difficulties, stated: “I went to human resources, and I said, ‘I just really – I need help.’” Read here…

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NLRB General Counsel Reveals Intent to Expand Section 7 Protections

On March 30, 2021, the Office of General Counsel of the National Labor Relation Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) released an Obama-era Advice Memorandum, originally prepared in 2016, opining that racially charged comments were protected concerted activity.  Just one day later, on March 31, 2021, Acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr affirmed in his latest Memorandum (“March 31st Memorandum”) his plan to pursue a broadening of employees’ protections under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “Act”) beyond concerted activities relating to union activity and labor organizing, for example, by expanding the Board’s traditional view of protected concerted activity to protect employees’ political and social justice advocacy activities under Section 7.  These publications are a harbinger of the enforcement priorities of the General Counsel under the Biden administration.

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New York State Legislature Aims to Prohibit Use Of No-Poach and No-Rehire Clauses

Last week, the New York State Senate advanced two bills seeking to ban both “no-poach” clauses in franchise agreements and “no-rehire” clauses, which are commonly used in settlement agreements.

The first of these bills, known as the End Employer Collusion Act (Bill S562), prohibits no-poach agreements between franchisors and franchisees.  Such agreements restrict franchisees from soliciting or hiring current or former employees of the franchisor or other franchisees.  The End Employer Collusion Act would also provide a private right of action for any person denied employment on account of a no–poach agreement, and would allow for the recovery of actual and punitive damages, as well as costs and attorneys’ fees.  The New York legislature is not the first to target no-poach clauses in franchise agreements; Washington passed legislation banning such clauses nearly two years ago.  In addition, prior to taking office, in his Plan for Strengthening Worker Organizing, Collective Bargaining, and Unions, President Biden indicated that he would like to see federal legislation in this area, and that he intends to work with Congress to “outright ban all no-poaching agreements.”

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“Ohio employers quietly grapple with workplace marijuana policies”

McDonald Hopkins member Ryan Neumeyer was quoted in Crain’s Cleveland Business as part of Jeremy Nobile’s April 3 piece “Ohio employers quietly grapple with workplace marijuana policies.”

Nobile writes:

Multistate operators facing differing state or local rules related to marijuana are increasingly looking to develop uniform policies, said Ryan Neumeyer, a labor and employment attorney with McDonald Hopkins. This may mean making the more lenient policy the company standard, as what works in Ohio may not legally apply elsewhere. Read more…

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President Biden introduces behemoth infrastructure plan

On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, President Joe Biden introduced a “once-in-a-generation” proposal, called the American Jobs Plan, to completely overhaul the country’s aging infrastructure. The newly introduced $2 trillion package is one that the president says will, “build our economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down.” Although both political parties have acknowledged the need to update and overhaul the country’s infrastructure, especially as other countries continue to fund and improve upon their own, the behemoth package has already ruffled many political feathers. Many Republicans have asserted that President Biden’s package is over reaching and would be better described, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated, as a “Trojan horse.” Read more…

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Just Released: A Surprisingly Active Year in Public Relations M&A

In Davis+Gilbert’s annual Public Relations M&A Report, Michael Lasky and Brad Schwartzberg provide an in-depth analysis of the public deals completed in 2020 and the market activity and trends already underway this year. Read more…

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