Dec 10, 2020

Employer Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccinations

COVID Vaccine

Every day we are closer and closer to a vaccine release for COVID-19.  As this day quickly approaches, employers have many considerations in developing policies regarding vaccination.  For example, employers must consider whether or not to require vaccination of their employees and, if not, will there be other requirements?  There has been no similar situation in recent history, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have yet to issue any guidance on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.  While it is tempting to look to flu vaccination rules for guidance concerning COVID-19… Read more

Dec 7, 2020

2020 Estate Planning – Winding Down

Yr End Estate Planning

With less than 30 days to the end of 2020 (for most it can’t come soon enough), time is fleeting to complete your year-end tax planning. Gifts An individual can make gifts free of gift tax and without using lifetime exemption up to $15,000 per person per year.  A married couple can make gifts of up to $30,000 per person per year regardless of which spouse actually makes the gift.  (The annual exclusion amount is adjusted annually for inflation but will remain at $15,000 for 2021.) Use it or lose it!  If you do not make a gift in any… Read more

Dec 1, 2020

Indemnity Rights of Condominium Board Members

An appellate court decision issued on November 19, 2020 raises concerns that condominium board members may be exposed to unexpected personal liability in connection with their board service. In light of the decision, condominium boards should carefully examine the board member indemnification provisions of their bylaws. In Board of Managers of the 28 Cliff St. Condominium v. Maguire, the former board president was sued by the current board of managers for misuse of condominium funds.  The former president, defendant Maguire, disputed the claim of misuse and sought an order from the court requiring the condominium to indemnify her for the… Read more

Dec 1, 2020

Annual Party Poopers’ Guide to the Holidays: Pandemic Edition

COVID Office Party

Like clockwork, the holidays are upon us and fast approaching.  This year, unlike any other, has been quite the roller coaster due to the upending COVID-19 pandemic.  With the holidays come joy and the spirit of giving, along with holiday parties employers host and rewards for employees for their dedication and hard work throughout the year.  Many employers look to this holiday season to reinvigorate their employees, especially given all that has occurred over this year.  In addition to the added precautions due to COVID-19, employers must be mindful of some common employment law pitfalls during the holiday season. Office… Read more

Nov 30, 2020

ICE Extends WFH Remote Form I-9 Verification to December 31, 2020

WFH I-9 Form

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently announced that it is extending the remote I-9 verification for employers and workspaces operating remotely through December 31, 2020.  In March, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would defer the physical presence requirement associated with the Form I-9. Under the guidance, employers who have employees working remotely are not required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.  However, employers must inspect the identity and employment authorization documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax, email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents,… Read more

Nov 23, 2020

CMS Issues Final Rule Amending “Stark Law” Regulations

On November 20, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule to modernize and clarify the regulations that interpret the Medicare physician self-referral law (often called the “Stark Law”), which has not been significantly updated since it was enacted in 1989. According to CMS, “The final rule supports the CMS ‘Patients over Paperwork’ initiative by reducing the unnecessary regulatory burdens on physicians and other healthcare providers while reinforcing the Stark Law’s goal of protecting patients from unnecessary services and being steered to less convenient, lower quality, or more expensive services because of a physician’s financial… Read more

Nov 18, 2020

New York Court Rules that OSHA’s Primary Jurisdiction Over Worker Health and Safety Blocks Nuisance Claim for COVID Related Matters

COVID Workplace Claim

As COVID infection rates continue to rise in the United States, employees are increasingly looking for creative ways to hold employers liable for infections and unsafe conditions in the workplace.  In a recent New York federal court case, Palmer v. Amazon, the plaintiff employees asserted claims against their employer for public nuisance and breach of duty to protect the health and safety of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In their pleadings, the plaintiffs alleged that Amazon created a public nuisance by failing to comply with applicable workplace guidance for worker safety in light of the COVID outbreak. OSHA does not… Read more

Nov 16, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program: Rejected for Forgiveness. Now What?

PPP Update

New borrowings under the “Paycheck Protection Program” (PPP) promulgated under The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the sweeping coronavirus relief package signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, have come to an end and borrowers under the program are moving into the forgiveness and/or repayment phase of PPP.  PPP was designed for loans made under the program to be forgiven by the private sector banks charged by the Small Business Loan Administration (SBA) with lending the funds.  The PPP funds lent by banks are supported by a guaranty by the SBA, making those… Read more

Nov 10, 2020

California Voters Approve Enhanced Data Privacy Rights


On November 3, 2020, California voters approved Proposition 24, an initiative intended to strengthen existing personal data privacy rights.  Proposition 24 builds on and will supersede the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018, that went into effect this past January, and that provides Californians with the ability to better understand how their personal data is being used, along with the right to opt out of certain data collection programs. The new law is known as the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (CPRA).  The CPRA creates a new state agency – the California Privacy Protection Agency (PPA) – that… Read more

Nov 10, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Issues Two Opinion Letters

Employee Training

On November 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued two new opinion letters providing additional guidance under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) regarding employee training and employee travel. In the first opinion letter, the DOL provided guidance regarding compensability for time spent on voluntary training programs.  In its guidance, the DOL stated that if an “independent bona fide institution of learning,” offered the voluntary training program, and the voluntary training program occurred outside of the employee’s regular work hours, then the time spent training would not be compensable.  The DOL stated that it considers a training program… Read more