Sep 10, 2021

Texas Expands Protections Against Sexual Harassment

Alert_Sexual Harassment

On September 1, 2021, two new Texas laws, Senate Bill 45 and House Bill 21, went into effect expanding sexual harassment protections for employees under Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code.  These two laws change the definition of “employer,” add a heightened standard for employers to respond to internal sexual harassment complaints, and expand the statute of limitations to file a sexual harassment complaint with the state agency. An “Employer” as defined by Senate Bill 45 Senate Bill 45 added sexual harassment specific definitions to the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (“TCHRA”), Labor Code Chapter 21.  Specifically, for… Read more

Aug 25, 2021

The OECD Two-Pillar Plan: A Joint Solution to a Global Tax Problem

According to the OECD Secretary-General Report to G20 Finance Ministers dated July 1, 2021 (OECD Report), 130 member jurisdictions of the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework on BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting), representing more than 90% of the global GDP, joined an agreement for the two-pillar plan to reform current international tax rules and to address tax challenges, including those arising from an increasingly digital economy. Since the release of the OECD Report, three additional member jurisdictions have joined the agreement, bringing the total up to 133 (out of 139 total members) as of August 12, 2021. Notably, the U.S., Russia,… Read more

Aug 9, 2021

North Carolina Amends Wage Notification Obligations for Employers

Payroll Deferral

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed into law amendments to the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act changing employers’ obligations to notify employees about their wages. The changes can be found here and are effective now. North Carolina General Statute § 95-25.7 “Payment to separated employees” previously required employers to pay a terminated employee all wages due by the next regular payday after the separation, either “through the regular pay channels or by mail if requested by the employee.” The law is now amended to require the employee to submit a request in writing, if the employee wishes the wages… Read more

Jul 27, 2021

HHS and DOJ Issue Guidance on How Disability Nondiscrimination Laws Apply to Those Affected by “Long COVID”

Some people who have had COVID-19 – even if the initial illness was mild – continue to experience symptoms that can last weeks or months after first developing COVID-19. People with this condition are sometimes called “long-haulers,” and the condition they have known as “long COVID” has continued to rise as a persistent and significant health issue. On July 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJ) jointly published guidance on how “long COVID” can qualify as a disability subject to the nondiscrimination… Read more

Jul 16, 2021

California Meal, Rest, and Recovery Period Penalties Include More Than Just Regular Hourly Wage

Most California employers know that under Labor Code § 226.7(c), employees who are not provided with a compliant meal, rest, or recovery period must be paid an additional hour of pay for each violation.  Most California employers have deemed that to mean an hour of pay at the established hourly wage.  The California Supreme Court has just held that the penalty includes not just the established hourly wage, but all non-discretionary payments as well. Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, S259172 (July 15, 2021), involved a class action alleging, among other things, that when Loews paid the penalty for a… Read more

Jul 9, 2021

President Biden Signs Executive Order to Promote Competition in the American Economy

executive order photo

On July 9, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14036 providing direction to promote competition in the American economy.  The Executive Order contains directives for federal agencies addressing issues in the Healthcare, Transportation, Agriculture, Internet Service, Technology, and Banking and Consumer Finance industries. Most important, the Executive Order contains provisions addressing the labor market.  Specifically, President Biden encouraged the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to ban or limit non-compete agreements and to ban unnecessary occupational licensing restrictions that impede economic mobility.  President Biden also directed the FTC and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to strengthen antitrust guidance to prevent employers… Read more

Jun 24, 2021

12-Month Extension of Temporary Relief from the Physical Presence Requirement

The IRS announced today, June 24, 2021, in Notice 2021-40, that it was extending, through June 30, 2022, the temporary relief from the physical presence requirement that is usually necessary for participant elections to be considered witnessed by a plan representative or notary public. The relief from the physical presence requirement was first extended in Notice 2021-3. The relief extension was provided in response to the continuing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to provide a comment period on whether relief from the physical presence requirement should be made permanent. Comments are due by September 30, 2021. You should review your policies… Read more

Jun 22, 2021

U.S. v. Arthrex Case Creates a New Path to Challenge IPR Decisions

As a result of yesterday’s Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Arthrex, any party dissatisfied with the result of an Inter Partes Review (IPR) can now seek review by the Director of the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Previously, and as codified by the America Invents Act (AIA), IPR decisions were appealed directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, with no possible review at the PTO.  Yet to be determined will be the details of how this extra appeal step is to be implemented.   And will, for example, the Director really have time, resources and responsibility for reviewing… Read more

Jun 21, 2021

California Falls into Line on Workplace COVID-19 Restrictions

On June 17, 2021, Cal OSHA’s board voted to adopt revised COVID-19 workplace standards that more closely align with what is being done across the country. The Governor issued an executive order that allowed the revised standard to become effective immediately. Cal OSHA’s statement regarding the revised standards can be found here. FAQs regarding the revised standards can be found here. The new rules can be found here. Most notably, the revised standards eliminate indoor mask requirements for all vaccinated employees and also eliminate social distancing requirements regardless of vaccination status.  Unvaccinated employees still are required to wear masks while… Read more

Jun 17, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to the Affordable Care Act

Today (June 17, 2021), the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) on procedural grounds, ducking the larger constitutionality question and leaving in place the broad provisions of the law, including the employer mandate requirements. In CALIFORNIA ET AL. v. TEXAS ET AL., Texas and other Republican-led states sought to strike down the ACA because the tax penalty for individuals who fail to have health insurance was reduced to zero. In the 7-2 decision, Justice Stephen Breyer held that the plaintiffs did not suffer any injury from the zeroing out of the penalty and thus… Read more