Jan 8, 2021

Onshoring and the Biden Administration

Onshoring New Admin

President-Elect Biden campaigned on a platform that included a focus on continued onshoring of the production of “critical products.” The Biden Administration onshoring plan seeks to reduce supply chain risks and national security threats by incentives to rebuild the United States’ manufacturing capacity.  The Biden plan includes both general and medical specific strategies: General Use the full power of the Federal Government to rebuild domestic manufacturing capacity in U.S. critical supply chains Use federal purchasing power to bolster domestic manufacturing capacity for designated critical products. Implement a comprehensive approach to ensure that the U.S. has the critical supplies it needs… Read more

Jan 7, 2021

Restrictions on Use of Bulk Power Equipment from Chinese Companies

Bulk Power

Electric utilities supplying “Critical Defense Facilities” (i.e.,“Responsible Utilities”) face new restrictions on the use of bulk power equipment produced by companies with ties to China.  Effective January 16, 2021, electric utilities designated by the Department of Energy (“DOE”) as Responsible Utilities are prohibited from “acquiring, importing, transferring or installing” bulk power equipment operating at 69 kV or higher (i.e., “Regulated Equipment”) “manufactured or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction” of the Peoples Republic of China.  (Department of Energy Prohibition Order Securing Critical Defense Facilities, No. 6450-01-P)  Unlike the prior ban on Chinese… Read more

Jan 7, 2021

Congress Passes Corporate Transparency Act

Anti-money laudering

With the bipartisan support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and law enforcement at both the state and federal levels, the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) was approved by Congress with a veto-proof majority in December 2020.  The CTA requires corporations and limited liability companies to disclose to law enforcement and others with legally mandated anti-money laundering responsibilities (e.g. financial institutions) information on who is the real, natural person (beneficial owner) who owns and controls an entity at the point of formation and update such information upon any change. The name, address, date of birth and driver’s license or other identification… Read more

Jan 6, 2021

DOL Issues New Policy on FMLA Leave and Notice Requirements and New Rule on Worker Classifications


DOL Adopts Telemedicine Policy to Support FMLA Leave and New Notice Requirements On December 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a Field Assistance Bulletin regarding the use of telemedicine to establish a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more health care professionals are utilizing telemedicine to deliver examinations, evaluations, and other healthcare services.  On July 20, 2020, the DOL issued FAQ#12 permitting employers to accept telemedicine visits as “in-person visits” with a health care provider for purposes of establishing a serious health condition under… Read more

Jan 4, 2021

Department of Labor Issues Two New Opinion Letters Regarding Travel Time and Overtime Payments

FLSA New Opinions

On December 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued two opinion letters: one regarding travel time for partial telework days for non-exempt employees and one regarding overtime payments for live-in caregiver employees. Travel Time for Partial Telework Days In the first opinion letter, the DOL addressed travel time for employees who work partial telework days. The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) generally requires employers to compensate non-exempt employees for the period between an employee’s first and last principal activities and an employee’s travel time from worksite-to-worksite.  In the opinion letter, the DOL responded to a question regarding whether… Read more

Jan 4, 2021

Employers Grapple with Recent Ban-the-Box Legislation

Ban the Box Legislation

Employers are finding their ability to ask about an applicant’s criminal background more difficult as more states pass “ban-the-box” legislation.  The name of these laws comes from the removal of the box on job applications where applicants must check if they have a prior criminal conviction. While various jurisdictions have different versions of this law, the general rule is that an employer may not require a criminal background check before making a conditional offer of employment.  Understanding the nuances of each jurisdiction’s version of the “ban-the-box” statute is critical to avoid potential liability on an individual or class-wide basis. St…. Read more

Jan 4, 2021

Department of Labor Issues New Rule on Tip Regulations

DOL New Tips Rule

On December 22, 2020, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a long-awaited final rule regarding tip pooling for hospitality business employees.  The new rule removes a prior regulation prohibiting “nontraditional” tip pools, which includes employees who are not regularly tipped.  Under the new rule, an employer who both pays its staff a standard minimum wage and does not take a tip credit against the minimum wage obligation may now include employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, such as cooks and dishwashers, in mandatory tip pooling arrangements. In this new rule, the DOL also: provides that an employer… Read more

Dec 22, 2020

EEOC Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination

Employer Vaccination

With the approval of COVID-19 vaccinations under Emergency Use Authorization, employers should review their policies and procedures to be ready when the vaccine is readily available to the general public.  Recently, the EEOC issued additional COVID-19 guidance covering COVID-19 vaccinations.  The EEOC’s guidance details mandatory vaccination policies and accommodation requests, and employer administered vaccines. The big question many employers (and their employees) have already been asking is, “Can an employer require its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19?”.  According to the EEOC, the answer is yes, but with some important caveats and exceptions.  Generally, employers may require that employees be vaccinated… Read more

Dec 11, 2020

HHS Proposes Significant Changes to HIPAA Privacy Rule

On December 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing significant changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule which are intended to reduce impediments to care coordination and case management communications among individuals and providers. According to HHS, the changes would also enable greater family and caregiver involvement in the care of individuals experiencing emergencies or health crises; boost flexibilities for disclosures in emergency or threatening circumstances, including the opioid crisis or COVID-19 public health emergency; and cut administrative work for HIPAA covered providers and health plans. Several of the proposals modify… Read more

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