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Employment Law Update

COVID-19, discrimination, DACA, and immigration developments

By Mike O’Brien bio EEOC says no to COVID-19 antibody testing: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently (6/17/20) updated its COVID-19 guidance to indicate that employers should not be requiring employees to submit to antibody testing. Here is the verbatim Q&A (found at EEOC Guidance): Question: (A.7.): CDC said in its Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.” In light of this CDC guidance, under the ADA may an employer require antibody testing before permitting employees to re-enter the workplace? Answer: No. An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. In light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” an antibody test at this time… . . . read more

Employment Law Update

Supreme Court ruling extends workplace protections to LGBTQ workers

By Mike O’Brien bio SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND TRANSGENDER STATUS NOW ARE PROTECTED CLASSES NATIONALLY: Federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees, the United States Supreme Court announced June 15 in a landmark ruling. The historic decision will extend workplace anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections to about 8 million LGBTQ workers nationwide. The ruling also vindicates a position long taken by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is a defeat, however, for the Trump administration, which opposed the EEOC. President Trump instructed the Department of Justice to argue that the provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation bias. This led to the odd circumstance where two parts of the same government argued for opposite… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Job searching during a pandemic

By Lynne Curry bio The career worst has happened. You lost your job during a pandemic. You suffer through the “sorry to tell you” call from your supervisor. When he says “take care of yourself,” you respond, “You take care too.” Then you sit frozen. When every employer is furloughing or laying or workers, how the heck are you supposed to get a new job? You spend the hours it takes to sign up for unemployment, and circle the date on your calendar when you need to have a new job. You spend a day cleaning up your resume and the next three days sending it out to every job you find posted in Indeed.com. No employer calls you. You call a few of your still-employed friends. They check with… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

Is COVID-19 ringing the death knell for on-premises servers?

By Doug Striker bio Back in the bucolic day of early January 2020, Aderant published an article predicting that more law firms would begin moving out of their on-premises servers to the cloud. Man, I wish we knew how many firms did that in March and April 2020 alone! When COVID-19 hit and we were all forced, en masse, to exit the building and head home, many firms left their precious servers behind. The IT wizards (aka “server nannies”) who manage those “server nurseries” were forced to continue working in the office, risking their health and the health of the people they returned home to. Not only that, but the IT wizards (they ARE actually wizards, not nannies, and they shouldn’t have to babysit servers) also had to move long-resistant firms… . . . read more

Silver linings for legal industry in COVID-19 crisis

By Doug Striker bio  It would be tragic if nothing good came out of this worldwide pandemic. Yes, it is easy to focus on the terrible, awful things that are happening on a global scale and even in our own neighborhoods and families. But at the same time, we simply must also recognize that good things are developing out of this tragic, exceedingly difficult experience. I recently heard a podcast on “99% Invisible” about the surprising silver linings that are emerging around the world due to our collective quarantine. People in Jalandhar, India can see the Himalayas from their city for the first time in decades because their air is cleaner. Researchers in Alaska can study whales without the incessant, deep roar of cruise ships on whale-watching tours. Pandas in a zoo conceived for… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Handle these 3 HR challenges in COVID-19 era

 By Lynne Curry  bio  1 Anticipate reluctance to come back to the office Question: I’ve been working from home since late March. At first I thought I’d hate working remotely; instead I love it. My work day is relaxed because I don’t have to put up with my micro-managing supervisor and can walk my dog during the day rather than waiting until after five. Working at home gives me something I haven’t had for a long time, work/life balance. Fast forward to May 1. My supervisor sends all of us an email saying we need to return to work May 4. My heart sank. Do COVID-19 risks give me the chance to say I need to work from home due to health concerns? Answer: The short answer—probably not. The long… . . . read more

So, your employee wants to stay on unemployment

By Paul Edwards bio It’s been a couple of months of COVID chaos and business owners across America are thinking about what it’s going to take to reopen their businesses—and the economy, in general. Of course, the first piece of that equation involves recalling your employees who have been temporarily furloughed or laid off. And, since one portion of the CARES Act included an additional $600 per week to anyone collecting unemployment benefits, one common question we’re hearing is, “What if my employees refuse to come back to work because they want to keep collecting unemployment?” Usually, this question seems to be based on a misunderstanding of how unemployment benefits work. Generally speaking, if your employees refuse work in favor of collecting unemployment benefits, they will likely not be eligible for those… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Top 10 questions an employer should ask before returning employees to work

By Mike O’Brien bio As various states and municipalities across the country lift shutdowns and begin easing COVID restrictions, employers are faced with complex questions about safely bringing their employees back to the workplace. We’ve compiled the top 10 questions every employer should consider before returning employees to work.    How do we implement proper infection prevention measures? First, and perhaps foremost, employers should design, implement, communicate, and begin to monitor basic infection prevention measures as they return employees to onsite work. Although a complex task, OSHA and CDC have both published step-by-step instructions for employers on how to implement appropriate infection prevention measures. OSHA has published an employer Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, which outlines the specific steps it believes all employers should take to reduce workers’ risk of exposure… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Managing virtual teams in a COVID-19 era

By Lynne Curry bio If you’re a manager struggling your way up the steep virtual workplace learning curve, you may discover the COVID-19 pandemic makes you a better leader. Here’s how to navigate your way through this trial by fire. Focus on results Effective remote supervision requires managers to switch gears from supervising activities to managing results. Train yourself to keep your focus, and that of your team, on results and overall productivity. Say goodbye to micro-management.  Not only doesn’t it work, but you’ll drive your employees and yourself crazy if you keep them under a microscope from a distance.  Things come up for employees working from home that don’t when they’re at a regular work site. Let your employees know what you hold them accountable for and allow them… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Coronavirus pushing rapid changes in employer law

By Mike O’Brien bio Employer  law is rapidly changing amid the coronavirus pandemic. For one thing, Congress has passed another coronavirus related law. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has provided some helpful guidance and answered a number of questions about the recent expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and about the new paid sick leave law, see: DOL FFCRA Q&A. Here are updates:  PAID LEAVE UNDER THE EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT (EPSLA): Employees of covered employers (private employers below 500 employees and certain public employers) are eligible for up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave for certain COVID-19 related reasons. If leave is because he/she is quarantined (by government order or a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical… . . . read more


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