DOL Sends Proposed New Joint Employer Rule to White House for Review

February 25, 2021

By Nihla F. Sikkander

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. 

Read More >> DOL Sends Proposed New Joint Employer Rule to White House for Review

Lessons from Google: What Employers Should Know About Minority Unions

February 16, 2021

By Thomas G. Eron and Hannah K. Redmond

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.

Read More >> Lessons from Google: What Employers Should Know About Minority Unions

No Time to Waste – The NLRB and Signs of What’s to Come Under the New Administration

February 10, 2021

By Stephanie H. Fedorka and Erin S. Torcello

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.

Read More >> No Time to Waste – The NLRB and Signs of What’s to Come Under the New Administration

OSHA Issues Stronger Workplace COVID-19 Safety Guidance

February 9, 2021

By Nihla F. Sikkander

On Jan. 29, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released updated guidance to assist most employers and workers with implementing a coronavirus prevention program and mitigating the risk of the spread of coronavirus. The guidance titled, “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” (Guidance) was prepared to comply with President Biden’s Executive Order issued on Jan. 21, 2021, directing the federal government to take “swift action to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace.” 

Read More >> OSHA Issues Stronger Workplace COVID-19 Safety Guidance

Arbitration Agreement Does Not Bar New York State Division of Human Rights Proceeding

January 28, 2021

By Nicholas P. Jacobson and Thomas G. Eron

Earlier this month, the federal court for the Western District of New York issued a decision in Charter Communications, Inc. v. Derfert, No. 20-cv-915, 2021 WL 37726 (W.D.N.Y. Jan. 4, 2021) holding that an employment arbitration agreement did not preclude a hearing before the New York State Division of Human Rights (the Division) on an employee’s discrimination claim.

Read More >> Arbitration Agreement Does Not Bar New York State Division of Human Rights Proceeding

Federal Court in Florida Issues Decision in COVID-19 Related WARN Case 

January 15, 2021

By Mary E. Aldridge

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) litigation is gearing up in the wake of millions of COVID-19 related layoffs that took place in 2020. 

The Federal WARN Act applies to employers with 100 or more employees, and typically requires written notice 60 days in advance of a plant closing or mass layoff. The Act permits employers to reduce this notice period upon showing that a statutory exception applies. Specifically, the Act contains exceptions relating to faltering companies, unforeseeable business circumstances, and natural disasters. If an employee sues his employer for failure to provide statutorily required notice, the burden is on the employer to demonstrate that one of these exceptions applies. 

Read More >> Federal Court in Florida Issues Decision in COVID-19 Related WARN Case 

U.S. Department of Labor Adopts Final Independent Contractor Status Regulations

January 13, 2021

By Paul J. Buehler III

On Jan. 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its final rule to revise and update its regulations regarding classification of employees vs. independent contractors. This determination of independent contractor status is critical to wage liability, as employees are generally guaranteed minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act—absent some exemption—while independent contractors are not.

Read More >> U.S. Department of Labor Adopts Final Independent Contractor Status Regulations

Long-Awaited Stimulus Relief Bill Has Passed: Key Highlights for Employers

December 30, 2020

By Stephanie H. Fedorka

The long-awaited stimulus relief bill has officially been enacted. On Dec. 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Bill), several months after aid had lapsed for many individuals and businesses from the first stimulus bill passed early-on in the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress came together to push through a 5,593 page, $900 billion stimulus package intended to help those individuals and businesses who continue to struggle economically as a result of the ongoing pandemic. After expressing bipartisan criticism of its contents, President Trump finally signed the Bill on Dec. 27, 2020. 

Read More >> Long-Awaited Stimulus Relief Bill Has Passed: Key Highlights for Employers