Feb 14, 2022

New York City to Require Bias Audits of Automated Employment Tools

New York City passed a one-of-a-kind law that will require employers to audit automated decision-making tools used to evaluate job candidates and employees.  AI and algorithm-based technologies used for hiring and promotions must be audited for bias that could lead to discrimination based on race, sex, age, or national origin.  Employers will have all of 2022 to prepare, as the law is effective January 1, 2023.  This law applies to employers with employees/applicants, whether those seeking to join the company or current employees seeking a different position with the company who resides in New York City. The law requires employers… Read more

Feb 11, 2022

New York City to Require Employers to List Salary Ranges in Job Postings

Employee Salary Exemption

New York City took the next step to expand its pay transparency laws.  Effective May 15, 2022, job postings must include the minimum and maximum salary offered for any position located within New York City.  This amendment to the New York City administrative code allows for employers to be held responsible for an unlawful discriminatory practice if the salary is not included in job listings.  Employers will have to include the salary range in all announcements or postings regarding promotion or transfer opportunities as well.  The stated salary range may be based on the highest and lowest salary that the… Read more

Feb 10, 2022

California Reinstitutes Paid COVID Leave

Coronavirus COVID-19 Caution Road Side Sign

At the same time that it is lifting statewide mask mandates (although local mandates may remain in place), California has reinstituted paid COVID leave requirements that had expired on September 30, 2021. The new law –Senate Bill 114 – was signed by Governor Newsom on February 9, 2022.  The new law appears as Labor Code section 248.6, and reestablishes the COVID paid supplemental leave requirement for employers with more than 25 employees.  The new law is retroactive to January 1, 2022, and goes into effect immediately, although an employer’s obligation to provide the new paid leave does not begin until… Read more

Jan 14, 2022

Supreme Court Blocks OSHA “Vaccine-Or-Test” Rule for U.S. Workers

COVID Vaccine

On Thursday, January 13, 2022, a divided U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s workplace vaccine-or-test rule, declaring that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had exceeded its authority.  (The Court let stand a separate vaccine mandate for people working in health care facilities that receive federal funding.) While the Court agreed that COVID-19 represents a grave danger to society, it disagreed that Congress had given OSHA the power to regulate threats to public health by imposing vaccination requirements on the U.S. workforce. The rule, which was published November 5th, went into effect earlier this week, would have applied to… Read more

Jan 12, 2022

New Agency Guidance Requires Employer-Sponsored Group Health Plans to Cover Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Tests

COVID update

On January 10, 2022, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”) issued guidance requiring employer-sponsored group health plans to cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests (“OTC Tests”) at no cost to plan participants starting January 15, 2022. Plan participants do not need an order from their health care provider to be eligible for the free tests. The Department guidance strongly encourages plans to pay for OTC Tests upfront so that participants do not need to pay out of pocket and then submit a claim for reimbursement to the plan. As an… Read more

Jan 4, 2022

Good News and Bad News Regarding Excessive Fines Clause in DOJ-declined FCA Cases

The Eleventh Circuit recently ruled that the Excessive Fines Clause applies in declined qui tam cases.  That is the good news.  However, the Eleventh Circuit also upheld a judgment where the ratio of total liability to actual damages was greater than 1500:1.  That is the bad news.  See U.S. ex rel. Yates v. Pinellas Hematology & Oncology, P.A., __ F. 4th __, 2021 WL 6133175 (11th Cir. 2021). In Yates, the defendant submitted 214 claims to Medicare. It falsely represented that tests were performed at locations with CLIA certificates, when in fact, they had been performed at locations without CLIA certificates.  Actual… Read more

Jan 4, 2022

Fulton County Superior Court Enjoins Anthem Blue Cross from Terminating Participating Providers During Public Health Emergency

In 2021, House Bill 454 was approved by both houses of the Georgia General Assembly and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp. Most commentators have focused on the section of the legislation requiring insurers to reimburse providers at in-network rates for 180 days if that provider became out of network for a covered person during the following plan year, after open enrollment. That provision went into effect on January 1, 2022. However, two companion cases seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief brought in Fulton County Superior Court by Northside Hospital and several affiliates (collectively, “Northside”) against Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare… Read more

Dec 14, 2021

Supreme Court Will Not Stop New York’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For Health Care Workers

Supreme Court Photo

In a pair of cases decided on Monday, December 13, 2021, the Supreme Court declined to grant emergency relief to a group of 17 unnamed doctors, nurses, and other health care workers seeking to stop New York’s coronavirus vaccination mandate for health care workers. The cases are Dr. A. et al. v. Hochul and We The Patriots USA v. Hochul. The New York workers claimed that since the mandate does not include an exception for religious objectors, they were being forced to choose between their livelihoods and their faith and that the requirement violated their right to free exercise of… Read more

Dec 6, 2021

Department of Labor Final Rule for Tipped Employees

On October 28, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule that sets a limit on the amount of time tipped employees can spend in non-tipped activities when the employer receives a tip credit.  This new rule contradicts the November 8, 2018 opinion letter that withdrew the 20 percent limit for non-tipped work.  The new rule goes into effect on December 28, 2021. Under the final rule, an employer can take a tip credit only when the tipped employee is performing tip-producing work or when the tipped employee is engaged in work that directly supports tip-producing work.  The… Read more

Nov 8, 2021

IRS Cost-of-Living Adjustments Employee Benefit Plan Limitations for 2022

The IRS has released the 2022 cost-of-living adjustments applicable to the dollar limitations on benefits and contributions of retirement plans and health and welfare benefit plans. As a result of the increase in inflation, some of the 2022 limits reflect significant increases from the 2021 amounts. We recommend plan sponsors update their systems and formulas to include the limits that have been adjusted. These limits are effective January 1, 2022. For a printable version of this chart, click here. For more information on these cost-of-living adjustments, contact your SGR Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits counsel.