On April 1, 2021 the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) officially updated its Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State to remove the quarantine requirement for domestic travelers arriving in New York State from other U.S. States or territories. This updated guidance document has been anticipated since Governor Cuomo announced on March 11, 2021, that the domestic traveler quarantine requirement would be lifted on April 1.
Following in the footsteps of more than a dozen other states, on March 31, 2021, New York passed legislation legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21.
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (the Act) legalizes the licensed cultivation and distribution, as well as the use and possession, of recreational marijuana in New York State. Though medical marijuana has been legal in New York since the Compassionate Care Act was passed in 2014, the Act significantly expands the lawful use of marijuana in the state.
On March 12, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed a new law that grants paid leave to employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Under the statute, employees may take up to four hours of paid time off per vaccine injection. A link to our prior post discussing the statute is available here.
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) into law. Notably, the law did not create a new mandate of paid sick and family leave. Instead, the ARPA simply extended and expanded the availability of payroll tax credits for covered employers who voluntarily choose to continue offering “FFCRA” style paid sick and paid family leave.
Many employers are grappling with the decision of whether to provide an incentive (e.g., a cash payment, other form of financial incentive or increased time off) to employees to encourage them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employers wishing to implement a COVID-19 vaccine incentive program should be aware that such a program will likely be considered a “wellness program” which implicates a myriad of legal issues, including issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
A recent case from the Appellate Division, First Department – King v. Marsh & McLennan Agency, LLC, 2021 N.Y. Slip. Op. 00909 (1st Dept. Feb. 11, 2021) – serves as a reminder that, depending on where your business is located within the state of New York, a different rule applies for the enforceability of your employee non-competition and non-solicitation covenants in the event of a termination without cause.
In the wake of the social justice movements and a nationwide push towards greater equality, transparency, diversity and accountability, it is expected that pay equity will be a focus for the Biden administration in the coming year. Pay equity issues are gaining the attention of employees and, in turn, becoming of increasing concern for employers.
On February 23, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sent a proposed new regulation on joint employment status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to the White House for regulatory review. This action is indicative that new guidance will follow for determining joint employer status when an employee performs work that benefits more than one employer.
It is no secret that private sector union membership has dramatically decreased over the past several decades. This reality has forced labor organizers to get creative with their efforts. Perhaps this is one reason why stories of a union presence at tech industry giant, Google, have recently gained so much attention. Reports of a “minority union” at Google began to swirl earlier this year after a group of several hundred Google employees announced their creation of the “Alphabet Workers Union.” Named for Google’s parent, Alphabet, Inc., the Alphabet Workers Union was supported by, and now affiliated with, the Communication Workers of America. The union claimed its membership quickly grew to more than 800 members.
On Jan. 28, the New York State Appellate Division, First Department, issued a decision with potentially significant implications for employers confronted with their employees’ use of medical marijuana.
The first few weeks in the Biden administration have been nothing short of busy. At the National Labor Relations Board (Board), it seems like there has been no time to waste in prioritizing items on the administration’s agenda.
Only hours after being sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2021, President Biden took unprecedented action and fired Trump-appointed General Counsel Peter Robb. Former General Counsel Robb was reportedly offered the opportunity to resign, but refused, and was then fired. Robb’s term was set to expire in November of this year. A day later, Biden terminated second in command, Deputy General Counsel Alice Stock. President Biden appointed Peter Sung Ohr to serve as Acting General Counsel of the Agency. Ohr, most recently served as the Regional Director of Region 13 of the NLRB in Chicago.