Tag Archives: labor & employment

New York and New Jersey Require COVID-19 Staff Testing at Long-Term Care Facilities

To limit exposure and reduce the spread of COVID-19, New York and New Jersey are requiring long-term care facilities to implement testing for staff.

New York

On May 11, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.30 requiring nursing homes and adult care facilities, including all adult homes, enriched housing programs and assisted living residences (“facilities”), to test all staff for COVID-19 twice per week.  Staff who refuse to be tested will be deemed to have incomplete health assessment and will be prohibited from providing services until the test has been performed.

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New York Employers: Engage in the Interactive Process Before Disciplining Medical Marijuana Users

Failing a drug test may not kill the buzz for medical marijuana patients in the Empire State.  In contrast to courts in California and other jurisdictions, a New York state court has held that medical marijuana users are entitled to reasonable accommodations, even if they only obtain certification after testing positive for marijuana.

In Gordon v. Consolidated Edison, Inc., Kathleen Gordon failed a random drug test by her employer, Consolidated Edison, Inc. (“CEI”).  After testing positive, but before her termination, Gordon became a certified medical marijuana patient to treat her inflammatory bowel disease.  Gordon informed CEI of her certified status on several occasions between the time she failed her drug test and her termination date.  Gordon brought an action alleging discrimination and failure to accommodate under New York State and City Human Rights Laws (“NYSHRL” and “NYCHRL”), as well as the State’s medical marijuana law.  Because New York’s medical marijuana law provides that certified patients are disabled for purposes of the NYSHRL, Gordon claimed protected status.

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COVID-19: New Jersey Takes Action to Raise Health Care Personnel Levels

As the number of COVID-19 cases in the State of New Jersey continues to grow, Governor Murphy has issued various executive orders aimed at combatting COVID-19.  On April 1, 2020 the Governor signed Executive Order 112 (“EO 112”), which focuses on the health care industry with a goal of increasing the number of health care workers responding to COVID-19 in New Jersey.  EO 112, among others things:

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Health Care Employers: How to Prepare for the Impact of COVID-19 on Your Workforce

By Nathaniel M. GlasserArthur J. Fried, Steven M. Swirsky & Maxine Adams

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared that the 2019 novel coronavirus (known as “COVID-19”) is now a pandemic. The effects continue to be felt in the United States, which currently has well over 1,000 cases of COVID-19. As of March 12, 2020, 19 states have declared a state of emergency to ensure there are resources to address the coronavirus, and President Trump has announced a ban on travel to and from Europe for 30 days starting on Friday, March 13, 2020, which was extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland on March 15th. Additionally, on March 13, 2020 President Trump declared a national emergency.   Given the prevalence of the coronavirus in the United States and the growing numbers of cases globally, health care employers should take extra precaution with their employees. As all public health communications are making clear, efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 will not only prevent illness, but they will also reduce the pandemic’s potential to overwhelm critical health care resources.

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New Regulations Emphasize Discounts to Delaware Employers with Drug-Free Workplace Programs

Delaware is reminding its employers that a safe, drug-free workplace can pay.  On February 1, the state’s Department of Insurance (the “Department”) amended its regulations to emphasize the availability of workers’ compensation insurance discounts of up to 19 percent for employers who participate in the Delaware Workplace Safety Program (the “Program”), and who implement a drug-free workplace program at their worksites.  The amended regulations took effect on February 11, 2020.

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Fifth Circuit Upholds Proposed Reasonable Accommodation Offered in Response to Mandatory Vaccination Policy

We have written extensively on mandatory vaccination policies and employers’ obligations to accommodate requests for exemption based on religious or disability grounds.  The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a recent decision that provides helpful guidance to employers who mandate vaccinations.  In Horvath v. City of Leander, No. 18-51011 (5th Cir. Jan. 9, 2020), the Fifth Circuit held that the defendant City of Leander did not violate a firefighter’s religious freedom when it discharged the firefighter after he refused to choose either of two accommodations to the municipality’s vaccination requirement.

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Health Plan Sponsors Welcome Repeal of Cadillac Tax: Opportunities and Uncertainty Lie Ahead – SECURE Act Series

Sponsors of health plans have long known that the only constant in life is change. In 2020, that is surely to remain true.

Ding-Dong! The Cadillac Tax Is Dead!

On December 20, 2019, as part of the year-end appropriations bill, the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) so-called 40% “Cadillac Tax” on high-cost health plans was finally, after much lobbying and other efforts by sponsors and health care payers, put to an end with a full repeal. The “Cadillac Tax” was currently scheduled to take effect in 2022 (after two delays), and would have taxed employer-sponsored plans worth more than $10,200 for “self-only” coverage and $27,500 for other coverage (in 2018 and would have been indexed for inflation in future years). The tax was initially intended to help reduce health care costs and pay for the ACA.

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Mandatory Severance on the Horizon Under Proposed Amendments to NJ Warn Act

A bill to amend the New Jersey Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Loss Job Notification Act, also commonly referred to as the New Jersey WARN Act (“NJ WARN Act”), which the New Jersey Senate passed on December 16, 2019, if enacted, will create significant financial liability for covered New Jersey employers that undergo a mass layoff, or a transfer or termination of operations, by requiring the employer pay severance to both full-time and part-time employees.

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New Jersey Bans Discrimination Based on Hair

On December 19, 2019, New Jersey enacted legislation amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) to add a definition for “Race” – which has always been a protected category under the NJLAD – and for the term “Protective hairstyle.”  The Amendment, referred to as the “CROWN Act” (short for “Create a Respectful and Open Workspace for Natural Hair Act”), amends the NJLAD to add the following to the statute’s list of definitions:

“Race” is inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.

“Protective hair styles” includes, but is not limited to, such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.

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Puff, Puff, Passed: 2019 Marijuana Laws in Review and 2020 Projections

With 2019 nearly rolled up, it is time to exhale and recap the latest dose of marijuana laws affecting the workplace.  In the last twelve months, Illinois became the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana use by adult[1] and several other jurisdictions passed or modified their existing laws governing marijuana and the workplace.  Below is a summary of this year’s developments and some thoughts about what 2020 might bring.

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