Tag Archives: OSHA

COVID-19 Trend Watch: Employers Respond to Employees’ Voting Concerns with New PTO and Other Election-Related Policies

As has been true for so many issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, growing concerns about safely voting in the 2020 elections are beginning to permeate the workplace, prompting employers nationwide to create or revise policies to address employee apprehensions about voting amidst a pandemic. Time to Vote, a self-described “business-led, nonpartisan coalition that aims to increase voter participation in the U.S. elections,” founded by numerous major companies, reports that, as of August 27, 2020, more than 700 companies, representing about two million workers, have pledged to grant their employees unpaid or paid time off (“PTO”) to vote on Election Day and to promote initiatives such as early voting and vote-by-mail. In addition, some employers are also providing time off for employees to engage in election-related activities, such as serving as poll workers (in response to the anticipated shortage of such workers due to the pandemic).

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Missouri Court Rules in Favor of Business Owners in COVID-19 Coverage Lawsuit

Following up on our recent post about a business interruption insurance decision by a Washington D.C. court, a federal judge in Missouri ruled last month, in Studio 417, Inc., et al. v. The Cincinnati Ins. Comp., No. 20-cv-03127-SRB, that businesses can sue their insurance carrier for business interruption losses caused by COVID-19.

Plaintiffs, owners of a hair salon and various restaurants (the “Insureds”) purchased an all risks policy from Cincinnati Insurance Company (the “Insurer”). As a result of losses sustained due to COVID-19, the Insureds sought business income, civil authority, ingress and egress, dependent property and sue and loss coverages under their policies. The policies did not include a virus exclusion. After the Insurer denied their claims for losses related to COVID-19, the Insureds brought a putative class action against the Insurer for breach of contract and declaratory judgment.

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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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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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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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Video: OSHA Urges Employees to Wear Face Masks – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: The latest FAQs from OSHA recommend wearing face masks, among other suggestions, for employees returning to work. Attorney Robert J. O’Hara discusses the significance of OSHA’s decision to issue recommendations, rather than guidance, and how rules on face masks in the office may differ at the state and local levels.

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New Maryland Law Requires Applicant Consent Prior to Using Facial Recognition Technology in Job Interviews

In a recent Bloomberg Law article, we reported on legislative developments regulating the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) in employment law decisions.  On May 11, 2020, one of the pieces of proposed legislation we discussed, Maryland’s H.B. 1202, became law without Governor Larry Hogan’s signature.  As we reported, H.B. 1202 prohibits employers from using facial recognition technology during pre-employment job interviews without the applicant’s consent.  To use facial recognition services in interviewing employees, an employer must obtain an applicant’s written consent and waiver that states the applicant’s name, the date of the interview, that the applicant consents to the use of facial recognition during the interview and that the applicant has read the waiver.  Although the law defines terms such as “facial template” and “facial recognition services,” the terms provide little guidance and leave broad gaps for interpretation.

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July 2020 Immigration Alert

Trump Administration Amends Presidential Proclamation That Temporarily Suspends New H-1B, H2B, J-1, and L-1 Visa and Travel from Abroad

On June 29, 2020, the Trump administration issued an amendment to Section 3(a)(ii) of Proclamation 10052 (“Proclamation”) to suspend and limit foreign nationals attempting to enter the United States in H-1B/H-2B/H-4, L-1/L-2, or J-1/J-2 employment-based nonimmigrant visa categories.

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The Latest COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Illinois and Chicago Employers

Last week, Illinois moved in to “Phase 4” of the state’s five-stage Restore Illinois Plan (the “Plan”). As part of this transition, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity issued updated, industry-specific Phase 4 Guidelines (the “Guidelines”).

From an employer compliance standpoint, the transition from Phase 3 to 4 is not a radical change. Rather, the transition primarily involves loosened restrictions for already open businesses, and the reopening of additional industries (such as indoor recreation facilities like bowling alleys and skating rinks). Social distancing and other guidelines introduced in Phase 3 remain in effect. For an in-depth review of these guidelines, please see our advisory on Illinois and Chicago’s Phase 3 Reopening Guidance.

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Video: Health Care Employers Face Reopening Challenges – Employment Law This Week

Featured in #WorkforceWednesday: Attorney Denise Dadika examines the unique challenges health care employers face as they ramp business back up and reopen for both patients and employees.

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