Tag Archives: Epstein Becker & Green

Connecticut’s Minimum Wage Increases to $12.00 per Hour on September 1, 2020

On May 28, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed Public Act 19-4, An Act Increasing the Minimum Fair Wage (the “Act”), which gradually increases the minimum wage in Connecticut over the next several years.  The first increase took place on October 1, 2019, when the minimum wage increased to $11.00 per hour. The next increase will take effect on September 1, 2020, when Connecticut’s minimum wage will increase to $12.00 per hour.

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Rule 2: Keep Your Mask On – Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19

Part 2 of a series featuring our video Rules of the Road: Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19. 

Who would have believed that months into this global pandemic, after the innumerable and unspeakable loss to human life, to global economies, and to our own sense of selves and normalcy – that the relatively straightforward issue of whether to wear a mask to curb the spread of this virus would remain such a hot button topic.  And yet, here we are.

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Connecticut Governor Lamont Strengthens Workers’ Compensation Claims for Workers Affected by COVID-19

On July 24, 2020, Connecticut Governor Lamont issued Executive Order JJJ (“E.O. JJJ”), which creates a presumption that employees who contracted COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic contracted it at work and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Pursuant to E.O. JJJ, there shall be a “rebuttable presumption” that an employee, who makes a claim for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act, and who missed one or more days of work between March 10, 2020 and May 20, 2020, inclusive, due to a diagnosis of COVID-19 or symptoms that were diagnosed as COVID-19, contracted COVID-19 as an occupational disease arising in the course of his or her employment. The following four conditions must be met for the rebuttable presumption to apply:

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Ontario Court of Appeal Limits Severability of Termination Clauses in Employment Contracts

On June 16, 2020, the Court of Appeal for Ontario handed down a decision that will have a profound impact on the enforceability of termination provisions in Ontario employment agreements. In Waksdale v. Swegon North America, Inc., the Court of Appeal held that if the termination provisions governing “cause” of an employment contract violate the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), those provisions are not severable and the entire termination provision of the employment agreement is void and unenforceable.

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Philadelphia Enacts Protections for COVID-19 Whistleblowers

Philadelphia is making sure employers err on the side of caution when it comes to COVID-19.  As of June 26, 2020, Philadelphia-based employees have additional protections from retaliation through the  unanimously passed the Essential Workers Protection Act (“EWPA” or “Act”), which prohibits retaliation against any employee who speaks out about, or refuses to work due to, the employer’s non-compliance with Pennsylvania and Philadelphia COVID-19 public health orders.  The EWPA applies to all Philadelphia employers, regardless of their size.

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Video: California Employer Playbook, Federal COVID-19 Updates, DOL’s FFCRA Rule Vacated in Part – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: California provides a detailed COVID-19 employer playbook, and a federal judge vacated parts of the Department of Labor’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act rule.

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San Francisco Ordinance Imposes New ‘Cleaning and Disease Prevention Standards’ and an Employee Training Mandate on Hotels and Large Office Buildings

Seeking to prevent San Francisco’s return-to-work program from reigniting a surge of COVID-19 cases, the city’s Board of Supervisors (“Board”) has passed the “Healthy Buildings Ordinance” (“Ordinance”). This temporary emergency measure, which Mayor London Breed signed on July 17, 2020, and which is effective immediately, (i) establishes cleaning and disease prevention standards in tourist hotels and large commercial office buildings; (ii) mandates employee training on these standards and various protections employers must provide for workers as they perform their duties, and (iii) prohibits retaliation against employees “for refusing to perform work under conditions they believe may be unsafe or for reporting such conditions or exercising rights protected by the ordinance.” The Ordinance will expire 61 days from its enactment unless reenacted.

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Video: The Chief Legal Officer’s Role in Transition Back to the Workplace – Employment Law This Week

Featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  As enterprises continue to weigh the decisions and risks related to workplace transition, CLOs play a crucial role in addressing everything from leading the legal team and functions remotely, to the heightened organizational data privacy and security risk or the tax and immigration concerns that have arisen from these employee transitions.

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Virginia’s Workplace Safety and Health Standards for COVID-19

On July 27, 2020, Virginia became the first state in the nation to implement workplace safety and health standards for COVID-19.  The Safety and Health Codes Board adopted § 16VAC25-220, an Emergency Temporary Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19 (the “Temporary Standard”), which is designed to supplement and enhance existing Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (“VOSH”) laws, rules, and regulations that may apply to the prevention and control of COVID-19 in the workplace.  Virginia imposed these standards because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), the federal agency responsible for workplace safety, has thus far refused to make its own extensive recommendations mandatory.  Not surprisingly, the Virginia standards borrow heavily from existing OSHA guidance in most areas.

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The Board Brings the NLRA Into the Modern Era of Discipline for Abusive Conduct, and Union Leaders Lament “Guys Like Us, We Had It Made. Those Were the Days.”

On Tuesday, the three-member, all Republican, National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) issued a 3-0 decision in General Motors LLC and Charles Robinson, 369 NLRB No. 127 (July 21, 2020), reversing its longstanding standard for determining when employers violate the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) by disciplining employees who, while engaged in activity protected under Section 7 of the Act, use profanity-laced speech, as well as racial, ethnic or sexist slurs, or other abusive conduct toward or about management or other employees. Going forward, including to any unfair labor practice case currently pending, the Board will apply its familiar burden-shifting standard under Wright Line, pursuant to which a charging party must show through evidence that the employer would not have disciplined the employee but for his or her engaging in the protected activity, and the employer will not violate the Act where it shows the employee would have been disciplined because of the abusive speech or conduct regardless of any involvement in protected activity. The Board will no longer treat the engagement in the protected activity and the abusive conduct as being analytically inseparable. Nor will the Board any longer presume in such circumstances the issue of causation between the employee’s discipline and his or her involvement in protected activity. In so doing, the Board has brought the Act into the modern era so as to be consistent with current workplace standards of decorum and employers’ legal obligations under antidiscrimination laws. To those union leaders and employees who engage in abusive and offensive language or other conduct, similar to that old television dinosaur Archie Bunker, they may well reminisce about the old days when guys like them had it made and they were protected from discipline.

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