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COMPLIANCE

What, if anything, does OSHA require you to do to protect telecommuters?

While telecommuting is nothing new, the imperative for using it has never been greater. In addition to all the cost-saving, work-life balance, recruiting and hiring advantages, letting employees work from home during a pandemic has become a vital infection control measure. But it also poses significant compliance challenges, particularly in the realm of OSHA. After all, how are you supposed to meet your duty to protect the health and safety of office employees if they work from home at a location beyond your physical control? This article will provide the answer. Spoiler alert: OSHA requirements don’t generally extend to employees working from home; but you still can and should take some basic steps to ensure their health and safety. OSHA & telecommuters The Occupational Safety and Health Act (Section 4(a))… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE QUIZ

Can racial discrimination be proven with circumstantial evidence alone? 

SITUATION An equipment repair technician who also happens to be the office’s only African American employee endures racial abuse at the hands of his supervisor and co-workers. He complains to management and is warned to “stay in his lane.” Shortly thereafter, somebody leaves a noose on his desk. It’s the last straw. The technician claims he was subject to systemic racial discrimination and files an EEOC complaint. The office closes ranks and vehemently denies the charges and nobody is willing to testify on the technician’s behalf. Without witnesses to corroborate his story, the technician is left to rely on the following evidence: Pictures of the noose on his desk; His own testimony, which is credible and reliable; and The fact that the manager and supervisor’s denials lack credibility and consistency…. . . . read more

JOB PLACEMENT REPORT

Class of 2019 is the most employed since the Great Recession

The Class of 2019 experienced the highest employment rate in the dozen years since the start of the Great Recession, according to the National Association for Law Placement, Inc. NALP has released its Employment for the Class of 2019 — Selected Findings, a synopsis of key findings from the upcoming annual Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law School Graduates. The release of the full Jobs & JDs report is anticipated in October 2020. This year’s Selected Findings show that the Class of 2019 experienced the highest employment rate in 12 years. The overall employment rate for the Class of 2019 was up 0.9 percentage points to 90.3% of graduates for whom employment status was known, compared to 89.4% for the Class of 2018. This marks the highest… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

How to create and implement a mandatory face mask policy at your law office

What began as a CDC guideline is evolving into a legal duty with more than 20 states and countless municipalities across the country adopting laws requiring individuals to wear masks or face coverings in enclosed indoor public spaces. As a result, law offices must adopt and enforce mandatory mask policies at their facilities. While mask requirements vary slightly by jurisdiction, here are the 10 basic elements they should include. Defining our terms  This analysis is about non-medical face masks that people at medium at low risk levels are required to wear, as opposed to N95 particulate respirators and more elaborate respiratory equipment, eye and face shields other personal protection equipment (PPE) required for health workers and others with a higher risk of infection. Policy statement Start by stating that all… . . . read more

PANDEMIC

Employment offers pulled and start dates for law grads uncertain

Law schools are reporting rescinded employment offers and law firms report uncertainty about associate start dates. These are key findings from a second round of pulse surveys conducted by the National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. legal employers, law schools, and JD students. In May 2020, NALP began conducting a series of short “pulse” surveys, releasing the first round of results in June. The surveys are designed to quantify the rapidly evolving changes in the industry. Key findings from the second round of surveys, conducted from June 18-30, 2020, are included in the report. In total, 356 offices completed the legal employers survey, of which 264 held summer programs in 2020, and 167 schools completed the law schools survey. A… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

Take advantage of case management software benefits

By Elizabeth Miller  bio Case management software is now so popular in law firms that it is rare to hear of a firm that does not have it. The problem is that even though firms have the software, they don’t take advantage of all the benefits. Managing incoming leads and cases Give your law firm an advantage over other firms by providing potential clients with an exceptional experience without the need for face to face interaction. Offer your clients e-signature to sign retainer agreements and other documents from anywhere. Digitize your client intake with forms making it efficient and convenient to sign on with your firm. Centralized case details The great thing about case management software is that all client information, communications, time entries and notes are in one place. … . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Use contact logging to ensure law office employees practice social distancing

Managing a law office compliance program in the age of COVID-19 poses new and unprecedented challenges. One of the biggest and most important is ensuring that employees and the persons they interact with on the job follow social distancing requirements. To succeed in this effort, you must have the capability to track actual encounters. One possibility is digital technology, the use of apps, wearables and other so called “contact tracing” solutions that monitor encounters in real time. But in addition to being highly privacy-invasive, these solutions may be too costly and cumbersome for many offices. So, you may want to consider using this cheaper, easier and less intrusive manual method instead. What’s at stake Without a vaccine or treatment, social distancing, i.e., keeping at least six feet away from other… . . . read more

PARTNERSHIP PATTERNS

Study identifies generational similarities, differences in the workplace

The National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP), in partnership with PP&C Consulting principals Aric Press and Yolanda Cartusciello, has released Multiple Generations in Law Firms: Working Together. The first-of-its-kind study provides insights into some of the generational dynamics at play in the current law firm work setting. The survey gathered responses from 2,473 lawyers—1,394 partners and 1,079 associates during 2019. With members of the Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Millennial generations all working together in today’s law firms and popular culture providing so many tropes and stereotypes for each of these distinct generations, the study seeks to measure some of the similarities and differences in the opinions and attitudes held by partners and associates of a variety of ages. The oldest members of the Millennial generation have become partners… . . . read more

GOING AHEAD WITH SHORTER SESSIONS

Survey shows COVID-19 impact on summer programs, recruiting, and OCI

The National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) has released the results of two short “pulse” surveys about the impacts of COVID-19 on U.S. legal employers, law schools, and JD students. The surveys, conducted in May, were designed to quantify the rapidly evolving changes in the legal profession and the industry as a result of the pandemic. NALP is following up with a second set of surveys to members in the coming weeks. Key findings for legal employers include: • The overwhelming majority of offices (86%) that originally planned to host a 2020 summer program still plan to do so. • Almost two-thirds (64%) of offices reported that their 2020 summer programs will now be 5-6 weeks in length, a considerably shorter period than in recent summers. In 2019 the… . . . read more

EMPLOYERS FOOT THE BILL

Feds say insurers not required to pay for employer return to work COVID-19 testing

Since the public health emergency began, the US government has taken the position that insurers shouldn’t be allowed to make consumers pay for COVID-19 lab tests. But now comes news that insurers will not be put in that same position with regard to return to work screening conducted on employees by their employers. FFCRA rules for COVID-19 test payment The key piece of federal relief legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), required insurers to cover COVID-19 tests without imposing any copayments, deductibles, coinsurance or other patient cost-sharing. But the rule (Section 6001 of FFCRA) rule applied only to tests deemed “medically appropriate” by a healthcare provider. The key question: Would insurers also have to foot the bill for screening tests not used for diagnosis and treatment? Apparently, the answer… . . . read more


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