On April 16, 2021, Governor Newsom approved S.B. 93, a statewide COVID right-to-recall law that faltered on its first attempt last October.  In the interim, a number of counties and cities (including the Cities of Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, and Pasadena, and Los Angeles County) passed almost identical measures, which will remain in effect to the extent they are more generous than the state law.

Like the local ordinances, the state law is time-limited and directed to the industries with workforces most decimated by COVID: hotels, event centers, private clubs, airport hospitality operations, airport service providers and janitorial, maintenance and security services for commercial buildings. Through December 31, 2024, employers in those industries are required to notify those laid off because of COVID about newly-available positions, and offer them to the laid-off employees based on a qualification-based preference system. Post-layoff changes in ownership, the form of the organization, or the location of the business will not excuse an employer from these recall protocols, as long as the business conducts the same or substantially similar operations as it did before the pandemic.

Continue Reading California’s COVID Right-to-Recall Law Unites Patchwork of Local Ordinances

HuntonAK Labor and Employment Co-Chair Emily Burkhardt Vicente was honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2021 Top Women Attorneys on their list of Women of Influence.

The award recognizes women who have displayed their leadership through professional achievements, community leadership, milestones and awards. Emily dedicates her time in and outside the firm to advancing the promotion, retention and advancement of diverse lawyers and staff within the firm and community. She serves as co-chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and is actively involved in the LA County Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Committee.

Emily, along with all nominees, were featured in the April 26th edition of the Los Angeles Business Journal and will be profiled in the Women’s Leadership Series throughout the month of June.

Please read the firm press release for more information.

Last month, the State of New York passed legislation which permits New York employees up to four hours of paid leave to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. While this new legislation became effective immediately upon passing on March 12, 2021, employers were left with many questions regarding their obligations under the law. In an effort to resolve some of these questions, the New York Department of Labor issued guidance in the form of FAQs to provide clarification for employers.

Continue Reading NY DOL Releases Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination Leave

Join HuntonAK’s labor and employment team and top in-house counsel subject matter specialists as we discuss the most important labor and employment law issues facing employers in 2021.

We will cover not only the legal but also the practical aspects of what all in-house counsel will want to know in this pivotal year.  Our topics will range from return to work/work from home issues to the latest changes in the law and expected hot legal issues in 2021.

Texas CLE credit, ethics credit, and virtual networking time will be included.

Please note event registration is for in-house counsel lawyers only.

Detailed agenda and registration information available here:  ACC Houston Half Day CLE Seminar: Employment Law 2021

On April 7, 2021, a split panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (the “11th Circuit”) issued its highly-anticipated decision in Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, reversing a 2017 judgment against Winn-Dixie that found that the grocery chain’s website violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  The 11th Circuit reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings, in part, based on its finding that websites are not a “public accommodation” under the ADA.

Continue Reading The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Issues Its Highly-Anticipated Decision on Website Accessibility

President Joseph R. Biden on April 12 nominated current Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker to lead federal OSHA.  If confirmed, employers should prepare for the potential that California-style enforcement may reach the federal law.

President Biden has pledged to make improved working conditions a central tenet of his administration, including support for changes to federal OSHA and the National Labor Relations Act.  Parker’s nomination is consistent with a trend towards increased enforcement of employers by federal regulators.

Continue Reading Biden’s Nominee to Lead OSHA May Signal Increased Enforcement Scrutiny

Uber Technologies, Inc. has been sued in a class action lawsuit alleging the company’s use of criminal background checks discriminates against Black and Latinx drivers. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on April 8, challenges Uber’s “unlawful use of criminal history to discriminate against its drivers in New York City as well as its brazen noncompliance with human rights and fair credit laws.”

Named plaintiff Job Golightly, a Black resident of Bronx County, New York, drove for Uber from 2014 through August 2020. Golightly claims that his criminal history consists of a single 2013 misdemeanor speeding violation from Virginia. According to the lawsuit, until 2017 Uber had relied solely on background checks conducted by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). Plaintiffs allege that in mid-2017, in response to negative news coverage on assaults committed by drivers, Uber began using the credit reporting agency Checkr to conduct additional background checks on current and prospective drivers. As a result, in August 2020 Uber allegedly conducted a background check on Golightly that revealed his 2013 speeding violation. One day later, Golightly claims that Uber deactivated him from its platform, preventing him from driving for the company.

Continue Reading Gig Employer Hit with Background Check Class Action

Covid-19 has left employers who want their employees back in the office in a difficult position. With the pandemic still raging, many employees are fearful of returning to the office with unvaccinated peers. In order to ease their employees’ concerns and provide a safe work environment, some employers are offering incentives to get vaccinated. Some existing vaccine incentives include gift cards, time off after receiving the second dose, pay for the time spent getting the vaccine, or bonuses ranging from $75 to $500. Although offering vaccine incentives may seem like a solution at this time, employers should be mindful of the legal ramifications of providing their employees with incentives for receiving the vaccine.

Continue Reading Legal Considerations of Employer-Provided Covid-19 Vaccine Incentives

On March 22, 2021, Marty Walsh, the two-term Boston mayor, was confirmed as the Labor Secretary by the United States Senate in a 68-29 vote.  He becomes the first union leader to run the Department of Labor (the “DOL”) in over four decades.

Workplace safety will be one area that we can expect to undergo significant change under Walsh.  Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released a new National Emphasis Program (“NEP”) that permits OSHA to conduct programmed inspections of the risk of worker exposure to COVID-19.  The employers covered by the NEP are those OSHA considers as those where employees have a higher likelihood of close-contact exposure.  The NEP includes language regarding employer outreach and compliance assistance; but, it is clear the primary emphasis will be on inspection targeting.

Continue Reading DOL and OSHA: Agency Updates

In recent years, there has been a growing trend amongst litigants of protecting documents filed as part of the judicial record from public view by sealing them by agreement under a protective order.  However, a recent opinion out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit criticizes this now-common practice.  Binh Hoa Le v. Exeter Fin. Corp., No. 20-10377, ––– F.3d –––, 2021 WL 838266 (5th Cir. March 5, 2021).

Continue Reading The Fifth Circuit Criticizes the Practice of Sealing Documents by Agreement