Jun 8, 2021

Updated EEOC Guidance and New COVID-19 Litigation

COVID update

The EEOC issued updated guidance stating that federal equal employment opportunity laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, subject to some exceptions.  An employer must permit accommodations for disabilities and sincerely held religious beliefs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Rehabilitation Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”).  Our prior article regarding the EEOC’s Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccinations outlines these exceptions. With COVID-19 vaccines now widely available, lawsuits over vaccine mandates are beginning to emerge.  Most of these lawsuits target… Read more

May 25, 2021

New York Passes New Workplace Safety Requirements

On May 5, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (“HERO Act”) providing new workplace safety requirements on all employers in New York.  The HERO Act goes into effect on June 4, 2021. The HERO Act requires the New York State Department of Labor to adopt industry-specific model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standards (“Model Plan”) for all employers across the state.  This Model Plan will address exposure prevention of airborne infectious diseases and require, among other things: health screenings; appropriate social distancing measures and enforcement of isolation and quarantine… Read more

May 24, 2021

Expansion of New Jersey WARN Act Draws Near

In January 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Loss Job Notification Act (“NJ WARN Act”) requiring employers to provide severance to employees who lose their job in a mass reduction in force.  Due to the pandemic, New Jersey amended the effective date of the NJ WARN Act to 90 days after the termination of Executive Order 103 (“EO 103”) of 2020, which declares a state of emergency in New Jersey due to COVID-19. Currently, EO 103 is set to expire on June 13, 2021.  Governor Murphy indicated that EO 103 may not… Read more

May 24, 2021

Santa Clara County, California, Issues New COVID Safety Order Requiring that Governmental Entities and Businesses Ascertain the Vaccination Status of Their Personnel

On May 18, 2021, the Health Office of the County of Santa Clara, California, issued a new COVID safety measure order.  The Order became effective May 19, 2021, and will remain in effect until rescinded, superseded or amended.  The Order can be found here. The most notable portion of the Order is the requirement – in Section 9(c) – that all governmental entities and businesses ascertain the vaccination status of their personnel.  This must be done within 14 days of the effective date of the Order, i.e., by June 2, 2021.  Thereafter, updated information for all unvaccinated personnel must be… Read more

May 23, 2021

Supporting Liability for Online Marketplaces that Allow Third-Party Sellers to Offer Defective and or Counterfeit Products

With many consumers turning to more shopping online, what liability do online marketplaces face when a product is sold to a consumer by a third-party seller that is defective or counterfeit? Often, none. Online marketplaces may escape liability for harmful or counterfeit products sold by third-party sellers if marketplaces are not considered the sellers of these products, but instead are the platform third-party sellers use to execute their sales. Online marketplaces’ liability hinges on status as a seller of a specific product because under § 402A of the Second Restatement of Torts marketplaces must be a “seller” of products to… Read more

May 17, 2021

OSHA Directs Employers to Follow CDC Mask Guidance

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Agency (“OSHA”) has issued a statement indicating that it is reviewing and revising its Workplace Guidance in light of the CDC announcement last week regarding mask requirements for vaccinated individuals.  In additions, OSHA has instructed employers to follow the new CDC Covid-19 recommendations until OSHA can revise its own guidance. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a website update Monday that it is “reviewing the recent CDC guidance and will update our materials on this website accordingly.” Until then, it said, employers and workers should refer to the CDC guidance for information… Read more

Apr 26, 2021

DOL Issues Cybersecurity Guidance for Retirement Plans

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) issued informal guidance outlining “best practices” for managing the cybersecurity risks facing employer-sponsored retirement plans.  Although the DOL has previously stated generally that plan fiduciaries must ensure systems are in place to protect participant data, this guidance marks the first time the DOL has directly addressed cybersecurity in this context. The most notable portion of the guidance for plan sponsors and fiduciaries are the DOL’s Tips for Hiring a Service Provider with Strong Cybersecurity Practices. This guidance outlines both: (i) the questions plan fiduciaries should ask potential plan service providers… Read more

Apr 13, 2021

United States Patent and Trademark Office Expands Patents for Humanity Program to COVID-19 Inventions

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced that the Patents for Humanity awards program is now open for COVID-19 related patents and patent applications, providing award winners with accelerated procedures at the USPTO. With the vast amount of COVID-19 related patent applications filed over the past year, the program provides another avenue outside of petitions to accelerate examination of pending patent applications related to this subject matter. The Patents for Humanity (PH) program, not to be confused with the popular Cards against Humanity game, is an awards competition “recognizing innovators who use game-changing technology to meet global… Read more

Apr 8, 2021

Department of Labor Issues Model COBRA Premium Subsidy Notices

Yesterday, the Department of Labor released Frequently Asked Questions and model notices and election forms in connection with the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) COBRA premium subsidy. The model notices and election forms may be used by employers to notify Assistance Eligible Individuals of the availability of the COBRA premium subsidy. Background. The ARPA provides Assistance Eligible Individuals with a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for medical, dental, and vision coverage. An Assistance Eligible Individual is a COBRA qualified beneficiary who, during the period from April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021 (i) is eligible for COBRA by reason of a… Read more

Apr 7, 2021

Virginia Passes Overtime Wage Act

VA Overtime Act

On March 20, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Overtime Wage Act into law.  Beginning on July 1, 2021, the Virginia Overtime Wage Act (“VOWA”) will go into effect resulting in new overtime rules far broader than the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The VOWA contains provisions significantly different than the FLSA that require immediate attention of Virginian employers. Most notably, the VOWA expands FLSA provisions by changing the regular rate calculations for workers, providing larger damages for misclassified workers, extending the statute of limitations for overtime claims, and expanding liquidated damages for overtime violations. The VOWA defines… Read more