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EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Watch for vaccine mandate and outcome of remote work lawsuit

By Mike O’Brien  Watching for OSHA’s new vaccine mandate rule President Joe Biden has instructed the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop an emergency rule that will require private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their employees be vaccinated or receive a weekly negative COVID-19 test. Employers who fail to do so will face fines. In addition, regardless of employee headcount, OSHA will require all federal contractors to mandate vaccinations for their employees with no option for employees to receive weekly testing instead. Similarly, OSHA will require all employers in healthcare settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement to mandate employee vaccinations, with no weekly testing option. President Biden’s announcement was welcomed by many business leaders but criticized by Republican… . . . read more

HIRING

We should have waited for the reference checks

By Lynne Curry Question: When a long-term staffer passed away, we suddenly had a hard-to-fill position in our firm. We advertised, and when we got an acceptable candidate, offered him the position before completing reference checks. He’s already worked four days for us. What we’re learning from his references makes us worry we’ve selected the wrong candidate. Several describe him as arrogant, abrasive, and a superstar who believes his own press releases and doesn’t care who he ticks off. We’re stunned. None of this behavior showed up in the interview. He was confident, but courteous and professional with us.   We’ve talked about this as a management team and have decided to give him a chance, as he quit his former job and moved across the state to work for… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

All private-sector employers with 100 or more employees must mandate vaccination or a weekly negative COVID-19 test

By Mike O’Brien President Biden spoke from the White House Sept. 9 to announce his new Path Out of the Pandemic Plan. Among other things, President Biden has instructed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop rules that will require private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their employees be vaccinated or receive a weekly negative COVID test. Employers who fail to do so will face fines. Some media outlets report that such fines could be up to $14,000 per violation. Along with President Biden’s spoken remarks, the White House also issued this statement: The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated… . . . read more

Employment Law Update

Paid leave for vaccine tax credit updated & employer ups premiums for unvaccinated

By Mike O’Brien Update to the paid-leave tax credit expansion—paid leave for employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine  As previously described in these updates, the Treasury Department and the IRS announced that eligible employers could receive paid-leave tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for providing leave for each employee receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and for any time needed to recover from the vaccine. Generally, the tax credits are available for qualified leave wages an eligible employer provides with respect to leave taken by employees beginning on April 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2021, if the leave would have satisfied the requirements of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, as amended for ARPA. An eligible employer is generally an… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

We suspect our employees gave us phony vaccination cards

By Lynne Curry Question: Our senior leadership team couldn’t believe the hostility that erupted when we told our employees if they weren’t vaccinated by Sept. 15, we’d consider they had voluntarily resigned. Several of them emailed lengthy rants to every member of the management team. Others came into our offices crying and went home in tears. Then, like magic, the protests stopped. We thought it might have to do with the FDA approving Pfizer, or someone talking sense to the 11 employees who hadn’t wanted to get vaccinated. We breathed a sigh of relief. A few days ago, our office manager got suspicious. She looked up phony vaccination cards. Is this really a thing? If so, this torques us. What can we do about it? Is it best to let… . . . read more

HIRING

Salaries and employment strong for Class of 2020, despite pandemic

Overall median salaries rose and private practice employment stayed strong for the Class of 2020, even as other key employment metrics declined due to the pandemic. The National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) has released its Employment for the Class of 2020 — 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 2021. This year’s Selected Findings, available at www.nalp.org/classof2020, show that despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, employment and salary outcomes remained strong for the Class of 2020, although in many cases they fell short of the highwater marks set by the Class of 2019. The Class of 2020 faced innumerable hurdles due to… . . . read more

MANAGING THE OFFICE

Creating the right spaces for your post-pandemic law office

Staff have returned to law offices this summer, with more likely return in the fall. But the pre-pandemic office design might not work anymore, with some staff continuing full-time telework, others opting for part-time presence in the office—and many accustomed to the freedom they enjoyed while working from home. Allwork.Space, a company that focuses on what it calls The Future of Work, has this advice for reconfiguring offices for today’s needs: The open office may be a thing of the past. Large, one-size-fits-all spaces certainly don’t fit all needs, and can negatively impact productivity. Buildings may be static, but people are dynamic, so physical design must account for the motion of people through the static space. Re-designing your space for activity-based working can improve the workplace experience by better meeting… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

OSHA updates guidance to track the latest CDC mask recommendations

By Mike O’Brien The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its COVID workplace safety guidance entitled, Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. OSHA’s latest update on Aug. 13 “reflect[s] the July 27, 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mask and testing recommendations for fully vaccinated people.” Prior to this update, OSHA had stated that fully vaccinated employees did not need to wear masks and that COVID safety precautions really were focused on protecting only unvaccinated workers. However, that guidance has now changed in response to the highly contagious Delta variant. OSHA’s guidance includes “recommendations,” that do not carry the force of law and “creates no new legal obligations.” Still, OSHA’s counsel likely becomes a standard of reasonableness… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Are we making a mistake to require our employees to get vaccinated?

By Lynne Curry Question: Your recent post reported that many employers, including Facebook, Google, Tyson Foods, the Walt Disney Company, Houston Methodist Medical Center, United Airlines, Cisco, DoorDash, the Washington Post and Frontier Airlines, require all onsite employees to get vaccinated. That same day, we learned the Pentagon would require all active-duty troops to become vaccinated by Sept. 15. That, plus our history—having to shut down for two weeks when one of our employees tested for COVID, and the flack we were getting from vaccinated employees who have to wear masks because of a handful of unvaccinated employees, made us decide to have require all employees to get vaccinated. We didn’t expect the unglued reaction that came from our unvaccinated employees. We received repeated texts and emails from employees telling… . . . read more

LEADERSHIP

Embrace on-job learning and listen to employees for more resilient teams

Leaders who encourage their employees to learn on the job and speak up with ideas and suggestions for change have teams that are more effective and resilient in the face of unexpected situations, according to new research from Rice University and the University of Windsor. “A Resource Model of Team Resilience Capacity and Learning” will appear in a special issue of Group & Organization Management. Authors Kyle Brykman, an assistant professor at the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor, and Danielle King, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Rice, studied what makes employees more resilient and fosters learning in the workplace. The researchers specifically examined the interactions of 48 teams from five technology startups. “Understanding what organizations can do to help employees become more resilient is the… . . . read more


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