Tag Archives: EpsteinBeckerGreen

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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Illinois Trade Secret Laws: Q&A Guide for Employers

Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2020 update to “Trade Secret Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide to state law on trade secrets and confidentiality for private employers, authored by our colleague David J. Clark at Epstein Becker Green.

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Need to Know: Amendment to Louisiana Non-Compete Statute Took Effect on August 1, 2020

Louisiana has long had in its statutes one of the nation’s most distinctive non-compete laws, and that statute has just been amended in a subtle but important way.  LA. R.S. 23:921 essentially provides that every agreement that restrains someone from engaging in any profession, trade or business is null and void, unless the prohibition against competing meets one of the specific exceptions provided in the statute.

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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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FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Cannabis Clinical Research and Sends CBD Enforcement Discretion Guidance to OMB for Review

FDA took two important steps last week to clarify the regulatory landscape for cannabis products, including CBD products.  First, FDA issued a draft guidance on Quality Considerations for Clinical Research Involving Cannabis and Cannabis Derived Compounds.  This guidance builds off of earlier guidance FDA has issued about the quality and regulatory considerations that govern the development and FDA approval of cannabis and/or cannabinoid drug products.  See e.g., here and here.  The draft guidance iterates a federal standard for calculating delta-9 THC content in cannabis finished products, which addresses a significant gap in federal policy regarding those products.  While the testing standard is neither final nor binding on FDA or DEA, when finalized it would iterate what FDA considers to be a scientifically valid method for making the determination of whether a cannabis product is a Schedule I controlled substance.  Therefore, it may be useful in many contexts, including federal and state cannabis enforcement actions.  We encourage affected parties to file comments on FDA’s Guidance, which they may do until September 21, 2020.

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ECJ Invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework

On July 7, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield framework in its ruling in Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems (Case C-311/18). More than 5,000 organizations in the United States have certified their adherence to this framework, and have relied on it to receive personal data from organizations in the EU in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) since 2016. The framework was a joint effort between the US Department of Commerce and the European Commission and Swiss Administration to provide companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union and Switzerland to the United States in support of transatlantic commerce. The Department of Commerce released the following statement:

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DOL Provides Guidance for Private Equity Investments in 401(k) Plans

Employers that are fiduciaries of participant-directed individual account plans (such as 401(k) plans) subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (‘Plans” and “ERISA”, respectively) should be pleased with the position taken by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) in an information letter dated June 3, 2020 (the “Letter”) addressing the use of private equity investments in designated investment alternatives offered in Plans.  The DOL states that, subject to the standards and considerations set forth in the Letter (and summarized below), a Plan fiduciary would not violate its duties under sections 403 (29 U.S.C. 1103) and 404 (29 U.S.C. 1104) of ERISA solely because the fiduciary offers a professionally managed asset allocation fund with a private equity component as a designated investment alternative in a Plan.

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In Response to COVID-19, FDA Extends Enforcement Discretion for HCT/Ps Requiring Pre-Market Review

On July 20, 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a six-month extension of its enforcement discretion policy for certain regenerative medicine products requiring pre-market review due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in a final guidance document entitled, “Regulatory Considerations for Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products: Minimal Manipulation and Homologous Use,” this extension will give manufacturers additional time to determine whether they need to submit an investigational new drug (IND) or marketing application and to prepare and submit to FDA any required IND or marketing application before the enforcement discretion period expires on May 31, 2021. This extension should come as a welcome reprieve to manufacturers of affected products, many of which delayed seeking FDA approval of their products following release of the enforcement discretion policy guidance in November 2017.

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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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