On May 1, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an OSHA Alert for restaurants and beverage service businesses providing curbside and takeout service during the pandemic.  This Alert is one in a series of industry-specific alerts that OSHA has published, and will continue to publish, to assist and educate businesses that will re-open (or that continued to operate), and which recommends certain measures to protect employees and patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading OSHA Releases COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Restaurants Offering Takeout or Curbside Pickup

In recent weeks, the states have begun to announce strategies for reopening public life and business activities. Just as the shutdown orders took varying forms on a state-by-state basis, it appears the reopening orders will follow a similarly varied and state-by-state approach, creating new challenges for multi-state employers.  However, there are some trends starting to emerge that may help employers piece together a cohesive strategy for bringing their employees safely back to work.
Continue Reading Employers Grapple With Reopening As States Begin To Loosen COVID-19 Shutdown Orders

The Centers for Disease Control and Occupational Safety and Health Administration collaborated to release new guidance for employers in the meat processing industry on April 26. OSHA and the CDC noted several unique facets of meat processing work that exposed workers to increased likelihood of COVID-19 transmission at work, including close contact, the duration of the close contact, shared tools and surfaces and the frequency of ride-sharing and community-based interactions among employees.
Continue Reading CDC, OSHA Release Workplace Safety Guidance for Meat Processing Employers

On April 23, 2020, the EEOC updated its Technical Assistance Questions and Answers, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” to address questions that many employers are struggling with related to employee COVID-19 testing.  The EEOC’s new guidance confirms that employers are authorized to administer COVID-19 tests before allowing employees to enter the workplace, and that doing so does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Continue Reading EEOC Confirms Employer-Mandated COVID-19 Testing Does Not Violate the ADA

On April 17, 2020 the EEOC updated its’ Technical Assistance Questions and Answers to provide employers with additional guidance interpreting the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO Laws in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The EEOC first reminds employers that while these laws continue to apply, employers should still adhere to the ever-changing guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local health authorities.  With that in mind, the new guidance addresses several topics.
Continue Reading EEOC Updates Guidance Regarding the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, Other EEO Laws and COVID-19

Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently committed to begin the gradual process of reopening businesses in Texas. On April 17, 2020, Governor Abbott issued two Executive Orders that relate to the strategic reopening of select services as the first step to open Texas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading Texas Governor Issues Executive Orders to Reopen Business for Retail and Healthcare Employers

On Saturday, April 11, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam officially signed the Virginia Values Act into law.  The bill’s headlining purpose—adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of classes protected under the Virginia Human Rights Act—is commendable and has garnered widespread support.  However, other, more technical changes in the bill that are unrelated to the headlining purpose are poised to change the landscape of employment litigation in Virginia and could lead to a significant increase in discrimination lawsuits filed in Virginia’s state courts.  Virginia employers are well served to begin preparing now for this new procedure in the handling of employment discrimination charges and litigation, as the bill’s new provisions go into effect on July 1st.
Continue Reading Virginia Values Act Could Open Floodgate of New Employment Discrimination Cases For Virginia Employers

On April 10, the Department of Labor published corrections to its regulation on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and fixed an internal inconsistency regarding concurrent use of employer-provided paid time off and paid expanded family medical leave under the Act.
Continue Reading Department of Labor’s Families First Corrections Fix Contradiction on Concurrent Leave

Almost overnight, COVID-19 has radically altered the American workplace.  Employers and employees alike have been forced to adapt to unique issues related to employee health, compensation, leave, and in unfortunate circumstances, furlough or lay-off.
Such change may be accompanied by grievances, concerns, and fears.  And in some instances, employees will desire to communicate those anxieties to the greater public at large. 
Continue Reading Navigating Employee Media Communications in the Age of COVID-19: A Recent NLRB Decision Provides Useful Guidance

EEOC guidance on COVID-19 continues to evolve as the medical community learns more about the virus.  On April 9, 2020, the EEOC expanded the list of symptoms about which employers may ask when screening employees entering the workplace, without running afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
Continue Reading EEOC Updates Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Workplace Inquiries