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. Moran

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

EEOC Issues COVID-19 Vaccination Guidance

December 18, 2020

By Nicholas P. Jacobson and Nolan Kokkoris

On Wednesday, December 16, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new guidance (the Guidance) for employers regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. While the Guidance offers some insight for employers who are considering offering vaccinations to employees or requiring that employees get the COVID-19 vaccination, a number of questions still remain unanswered. The following are some key takeaways from the Guidance.

Read More >> EEOC Issues COVID-19 Vaccination Guidance

Reminder: New York Minimum Wage Rates and Salary Thresholds for the Executive and Administrative Exemptions Will Increase on December 31, 2020

December 11, 2020

By Subhash Viswanathan

Employers in New York will be required to comply with the new state minimum wage rates and the new state salary thresholds to qualify for the executive and administrative exemptions, effective December 31, 2020.

Read More >> Reminder: New York Minimum Wage Rates and Salary Thresholds for the Executive and Administrative Exemptions Will Increase on December 31, 2020

Governor Cuomo Signs Amendment to the New York State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act

November 17, 2020

By Mary E. Moran

Employers issuing notices pursuant to the New York State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (NY WARN) are now subject to additional requirements due to a statutory amendment that Gov. Cuomo signed into law on November 11, 2020. This amendment, which is effective immediately, expands the list of entities whom covered employers must notify prior to implementing a plant closing or mass layoff. The list now includes: (1) the chief elected official of the unit(s) of local government and the school district(s) in which the plant closing or mass layoff will occur; and (2) each locality which provides police, firefighting, emergency medical or ambulance services or other emergency services to the site of employment subject to the plant closing or mass layoff.

Read More >> Governor Cuomo Signs Amendment to the New York State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act

How Long Does Your CBA Obligate You to Pay for Retiree Health Insurance Coverage?

November 13, 2020

By Richard S. Finkel

If you are a municipal employer in New York State struggling to find the answer to that question, you are not alone. In the absence of express language in your collective bargaining agreement, a definitive response is elusive. So elusive that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has reached out to New York’s Court of Appeals for guidance. Whatever answer the Court of Appeals returns, if any, the value of a carefully negotiated and precisely drafted collective bargaining agreement cannot be overstated. 

Read More >> How Long Does Your CBA Obligate You to Pay for Retiree Health Insurance Coverage?