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Paul Zimmerman

Showing 19 posts by Richard Reice.

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Taking the Shot: Can You Require Your Employees to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19?

As has been headline fodder for days, COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and are on the way to the general public. This is big news for employers. Over the next three or four months, many of your employees and contractors will become eligible to receive vaccinations. And this begs the question: should you—and can you—require your workforce to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Subject to the exceptions discussed below, Michelman & Robinson, LLP has taken the position that the answer to both queries is a resounding “yes.” We believe that getting vaccinated should become an essential term and condition for all employment—this given the overwhelming public health benefit and business continuity that is sure to come if and when employees nationwide are immunized against COVID-19. (Read More)

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New York Amends Its Sick Leave Policy

Last April, New York enacted permanent paid sick leave to most workers starting next year.

Previously, paid sick leave was mandatory in just New York City and Westchester County. Under the new state law, however, all New Yorkers will be eligible for sick time, and companies with 100 or more employees must allow workers to accrue up to 56 hours, up from the 40 hours of paid sick time per year that employers in NYC and Westchester county were required to provide. (Read More)

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Courts Find OFCCP's Sole Reliance on Statistical Analysis to Prove Pay Disparity Is Flawed

In two recent cases, courts have rejected conclusions of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) that employers had discriminatorily underpaid its women, Black and Hispanic workers. In the first case, an administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Labor set forth a ruling on September 22, 2020 that may lead the OFCCP to rethink its statistical analysis approach to workplace wage disparities. (Read More)

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DOL Proposes New Rules for Determining Independent Contractor Status

The Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”) guarantees a minimum wage for employees and the payment of overtime for hours worked over 40 in one week for non-exempt employees. Independent contractors are not employees and thus they are excluded from FLSA coverage. Over the years, different federal agencies and courts have generated similar but different tests for determining independent contractor status, with the result that the same set of facts may yield different and inconsistent results depending upon the agency, court, and test. The trend, however, by both legislatures and courts concerned about the implications of the gig economy, has been to favor employment status and to limit those categories of workers who can be classified as contractors. California’s AB5 law, which dramatically limits who can be classified as a contractor, is a prime example of pro-employee status legislation. (Read More)

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The Many Questions Surrounding COVID-19-Related Workers’ Compensation Claims

COVID-19 has divided the workforce. There are employees who can work remotely, lowering their exposure to the disease and greatly reducing the chance of workplace injury. And then there are those on the front lines who must continue to work on location, such as first responders and employees in the health care, food service, and delivery industries. In either case, workers can and are becoming sick, and as businesses begin to reopen on-site before widespread testing is available, it is inevitable that even more employees will catch COVID-19. This begs the question: will employees who come down with the illness give rise to a spike in related workers' compensation claims? (Read More)

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Employment in the Wake of Coronavirus: EEOC and OSHA Guidance Allows Employers to Go Where They Could Not Go Before

Employees returning to their workplaces once stay-at-home and similar orders are relaxed will want to know that they are safe. As explained in a previous alert, employers must ensure that their places of business are free from recognized hazards pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and its General Duty Clause—no small challenge when faced with an invisible virus. (Read More)

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Employment in the Wake of Coronavirus: Reintegrating Your Workforce in the New Normal 

The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for employers, employees, independent contractors, and the self-employed. Yet, as cases begin to plateau and the curve appears to be flattening in places like New York, the pandemic’s epicenter here in the U.S., the conversation has begun to shift from how to survive the crisis to how best to manage our way back to work—when the time comes—in an effective and safe manner. The answer to the latter question will fall not only on policy makers governing the parameters of the public aspects of our daily lives, but also squarely on employers—like you—as they are given, in whole or in part, the all-clear to resume operations. (Read More)

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Maintaining Your Trade Secrets During the Coronavirus Crisis

Many offices around the country are closed and workers are sheltering in place due to government issued quarantine and stay-at-home orders. Nevertheless, employees who can are telecommuting. But as a result, confidential information—once reserved for company servers or desks in the workplace—has now found its way onto personal computers and kitchen tables. Which means the time is ripe to remind your employees of the need to maintain the confidentiality of your sensitive materials.

Toward that end, Michelman & Robinson encourages you to consider the following 10 action items that could serve to protect your trade secrets. (Read More)

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DOL Is Requiring Employers to Post Families First Employee Rights Notice

As Michelman & Robinson previously reported, certain employers must provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic—this according to the recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Now, the U.S. Department of Labor is requiring that employers covered by the Families First Act post information about its benefits in poster form. M&R fleshes out the DOL mandate. (Read More)

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HHS Relaxing Enforcement of HIPAA to Facilitate Sharing of Information During the COVID-19 Crisis

HIPAA—the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996—established a set of national standards to protect the privacy of a person’s physical or mental health or condition, and the health care provided to that individual. In fact, HIPAA’s privacy rules directly address the use and disclosure of a patient’s health information by health care providers, group health plans, and others. But in the shadow of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, HHS (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has taken steps to ensure that hospitals and health care professionals are shielded from punishment when they share a patient’s coronavirus-related information without that patient’s prior approval, despite applicable HIPAA restrictions. Michelman & Robinson explains. (Read More)