Tag Archives: EBG

EEOC Updates Guidance on COVID-19 and Compliance with Antidiscrimination Laws

On April 9, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued its latest guidance (“Guidance”) for employers on how to ensure compliance with their obligations under federal antidiscrimination laws during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we previously reported, the EEOC’s initial guidance on COVID-19 was released on March 17, 2020, as a series of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”). Two days later, the agency updated its publication titled “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act” (“ADA”), originally prepared during the H1N1 outbreak, to address issues specifically concerning COVID-19. The EEOC’s Guidance, which adds to its previous FAQs, again focuses primarily on employers’ obligations under the ADA.

Read full article

Department of Labor Releases OSHA Enforcement Guidance For Recording Cases of COVID-19

As we previously reported in our “Summary of OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has provided detailed directions for employers with respect to ensuring an OSHA-compliant workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.  On April 10, 2020, the DOL issued a memorandum providing interim guidance on enforcement of OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) as they relate to recording cases of COVID-19. The memorandum, which is “intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis,” became effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

Read full article

NJ Gov. Murphy and State Director of Emergency Management Clarify Permissible Operations for Certain Businesses

On March 30, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan (who also acts as the State Director of Emergency Management) issued Administrative Order 2020-6  providing additional guidance regarding how certain businesses may operate under Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order 107 (which we wrote about here).  The Administrative Order clarifies and directs that:

Read full article

Major Cities in Texas Enter “Stay at Home” Orders: Implications and Other Considerations for Employers

On March 13, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott declared a State of Disaster in Texas due to COVID-19. Subsequently, on March 19. 2020, Governor Abbott issued a Public Health Disaster Declaration, and an Executive Order, which, among other things, prohibited congregating in groups consisting of more than ten people, and closed all Texas restaurant dining rooms [1] bars, gyms and schools, effective March 20, 2020.  Governor Abbott has refrained from issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order, and has instead left the decision up to city and county leaders.  In the days that followed, and throughout this week, 16 counties, and major cities in Texas, including Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio have issued “Stay at Home” orders, which share many similarities, with a few distinctions.  The following are summaries of the key aspects of the orders that may impact the workplace, followed by a glossary defining some of the key terms in the orders.

Read full article

New Jersey Extends Benefits and Protections to Workers Impacted by COVID-19

On March 25, 2020, by signing legislative bill S2304 into law, Governor Philip Murphy expanded the availability of benefits under the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance (“TDI”) and Family Leave Insurance (“FLI”) programs to employees impacted by epidemic-related illnesses such as COVID-19.  The new law (“Law”) provides numerous key changes to the existing statutory scheme for state-issued disability insurance benefits, family leave insurance benefits, and use of accrued paid sick time.

Read full article

In Advance of April 1 Effective Date, DOL Issues Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 24, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) of the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued initial guidance (“Guidance”) on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which we detailed in a previous Advisory.  In short, the Act requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees (“covered employers”) to provide paid sick and family leave for certain COVID-19 related absences and includes a tax credit for employers for the cost of the paid leave.

Read full article

May Employees Take Hardship Distributions Under Their 401(k) Plan? Benefits Guidance in the Time of COVID-19

As temporary layoffs and furloughs become more prevalent during the COVID-19 outbreak, employers have been asking whether they may allow employees to take hardship distributions under their Section 401(k) plans for expenses and losses resulting from COVID-19.

Under the IRS hardship distribution final regulations, employers were permitted to add a new safe harbor hardship category that would allow an employee to take a hardship withdrawal to cover expenses and losses (including loss of income) incurred by the employee on account of a disaster declared by FEMA under the Stafford Act. To qualify, either the employee’s principal residence or place of employment must be in the disaster area designated by FEMA for assistance. Expenses and losses incurred by family members do not count for this purpose.

Read full article

President Signs National Anti-Price Gouging Executive Order

On Monday March 23, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at preventing hoarding and price gouging.  Attorney General William H. Barr indicated that the order is authorized under the Defense Protection Act, which allows the United States to compel private industry to assist in meeting national defense needs in response to national emergencies.

The new executive order empowers the Health and Human Services Secretary to designate supplies as “critical.”  Hoarding – accumulating quantities beyond those reasonable to satisfy personal or business needs – or price gouging is prohibited with respect to these “critical” supplies.  Presently, the Health and Human Services Secretary has not designated any supplied as “critical,” It is, however, anticipated that the order will be directed toward medical supplies, as opposed to traditional consumer goods like toilet paper or cleaning products that have also been the subject of supply shortages in the face of COVID-19.

Read full article

Michigan Joins Growing Lists of States Ordering Citizens to Stay Indoors

Joining California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, as well as multiple counties and cities, on March 23, 2020, Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 (COVID-19) (“Order”), ordering that all Michigan residents “shelter in place” in response to the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”), effective 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, and continuing through April 13, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.

Read full article

Businesses May Have Insurance that Could Lessen the Economic Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has leveled a blow against businesses everywhere.  The Governors of New York, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, for example, have ordered all non-essential businesses to close their physical locations and the California Governor has ordered all residents, except those performing essential functions, to stay home.  Governors across the country have issued orders restricting various business activities.  The trend is likely to continue in the coming weeks and to adversely impact the bottom line of many businesses.

Read full article