Tag Archives: EBG

U.S. DOL Provides Guidance on Employers’ Obligation to Compensate Remote Workers

Prompted by the many new telework or remote work arrangements that have arisen in response to COVID-19, on August 24, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-5 (“Bulletin”) to provide guidance regarding employers’ obligation “to exercise reasonable diligence in tracking teleworking employees’ hours of work.” The guidance, which includes citations to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the DOL’s interpretive regulations, and federal case law, does not break new ground; rather it offers reminders particularly applicable to teleworking and remote working employees and applies beyond COVID-19 telework arrangements.

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Rule 1: Don’t Rush In Without a Plan – Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19

Part 1 of a series featuring our video Rules of the Road: Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19. 

As Labor Day approaches, with schools reopening (in some form or fashion), and as we approach the end of our collective bandwidth for Zoom meetings, much time and attention has been spent discussing how and when to finally “return to work.”

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Luxembourg Employers Face Additional Obligations During Heat Waves in the Midst of COVID-19

On August 8, 2020, in response to local meteorology reports of expected temperatures of above 95°F, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Health announced a “red alert warning,” and implemented a Heat Wave Plan. The Heat Wave Plan (i) advises that older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illnesses may be affected by such high temperatures and (ii) offers personal check-in and hydration services by the Luxembourg Red Cross and home care agencies. All such visits must adhere to COVID-19 safety procedures.

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Video: Cybersecurity and Other Considerations for Extended Remote Work Models – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: As the uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many employers are considering extended or permanent work-from-home (WFH) models. Attorneys Brian G. Cesaratto and Shawndra G. Jones share some tips for employers on cybersecurity and other issues to consider when implementing extended WFH models.

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August 2020 Immigration Alert

USCIS Will Increase Filing Fees as of October 2, 2020

On July 31, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) announced it will increase filing fees effective October 2, 2020. The fee increases will impact U.S. employers that hire foreign national workers by adding to the cost of sponsoring employment. The increases most applicable to U.S. employers are:

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U.S. DOL: Employees Who Refuse to Work Under Unsafe Conditions May Be Eligible for CARES Act Unemployment Benefits

While much attention is currently focused on whether Congress will extend, in whole or in part, the emergency $600 increase in unemployment insurance benefits (“UI”) that, until July 31, 2020, had been provided by the CARES Act (“Act”), the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) is continuing to address questions about the other expansions of UI benefits under the Act, most recently, in an advisory letter issued on July 21, 2020 by the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration office (“ETA”). Of particular note, the latest ETA advisory letter instructs that an employee who refuses to work because of COVID-19 health or safety concerns nevertheless may be eligible under state law for UI benefits authorized under another provision of the Act—the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (“PUA”).

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New York City Proposes Rule to Clarify That, in Addition to Race, “Hair Discrimination” Could Implicate Religion and Creed … and Maybe Gender, Age, and Other Protected Classes

As we previously reported, in 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (“Commission”) provided legal enforcement guidance (“Enforcement Guidance”) advising that workplace grooming and appearance policies “that ban, limit, or otherwise restrict natural hair or hairstyles” are a form of race discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). Now, the Commission is proposing to amend its rules (“Proposed Rule”) to formalize the Enforcement Guidance. The Proposed Rule states that discrimination based on hair “can function as a proxy for discrimination” based on race, creed, or religion and “constitute a form of unlawful stereotyping.” Of note, in its “Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule,” the Commission further suggests that “claims for hair-based discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, age or other protected status” under the NYCHRL may be viable as well.

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Cyber Coverage in the Age of COVID-19 Need Not Result in Pandemonium

While businesses and their employees continue to operate in the “new frontier” of working-from-home during the COVID-19 pandemic and the gradual reopening of the economy, a serious risk continues to present itself: the threat of cybercrime. The increased use of remote access to work systems and related applications has made businesses a prime target for those unscrupulous individuals seeking to encroach on companies’ cyber-landscape. Flaws in VPNs, firewalls, and videoconferencing, for example, have exposed many companies’ electronic infrastructures to these incursions. Similarly, the at-home workforce has increasingly been subjected to social engineering attacks often cloaked as communications purporting to provide information about pandemic-related issues.

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Video: First Workplace Safety Mandates, COVID-19 Employee Training, Masks Required at Major Retailers – Employment Law This Week

Featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, Virginia became the first state to issue workplace safety standards, but with guidance still varying widely, many nationwide businesses have begun requiring masks.

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U.S. Supreme Court Lets Stand Ninth Circuit Ban on ‘Salary History’ Defense to an Equal Pay Act Claim

In recent years, wage discrimination has been a hot topic and with it, the question of whether employers may rely on a worker’s salary history to justify a pay disparity between male and female employees. In a 2018 case involving the federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), Rizo v. Yovino, (about which we wrote here), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“Ninth Circuit”) ruled that employers may not rely on prior salary to excuse unequal pay. On petition, the Supreme Court vacated the decision and remanded the case on a technical ground (i.e., because the judge who authored the opinion died before release of the decision). On remand, the Ninth Circuit ruled as it had before. On July 2, 2020, the Court declined review, thereby leaving the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in place.

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