The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed employers to an influx of novel employment law issues.  Many employers already have experienced an uptick in related internal complaints or litigation. We identify five particular employment law liabilities employers may be exposed to once the dust settles from the pandemic.
Continue Reading Top Five Employment Law Liabilities Facing Employers Post-Pandemic

In another decision recognizing employers’ rights to issue reasonable prohibitions even if they have some slight impact of employees’ right to engage in concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act, a beverage manufacturer’s rules banning cell phones in food production and warehouse working areas was recently upheld by the National Labor Relations Board.  Cott Beverages Inc., 369 NLRB No. 82 (2020).
Continue Reading NLRB: Employer Allowed to Ban Cellphones in Beverage Production and Warehouse Working Areas

As Texas begins to reopen, some employers are recalling employees placed on furloughs or leaves of absences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Labor recently issued guidance to clarify that an individual who is able and available to work, but refuses to take a job offer or return from a furlough, absent one of the COVID-19-related criteria, will not be eligible for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefit under the CARES Act. On April 30, 2020, the Texas Workforce Commission issued guidance stating that, depending upon the reason for refusal, these employees may remain eligible for receipt of state unemployment benefits. 
Continue Reading Texas Workers Who Refuse to Return to Work May Remain Eligible for Unemployment Benefits

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

An employer’s duty to bargain may change during emergency situations, and the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board released a series of case summaries Friday to help employers navigate the exceptions. General Counsel Peter Robb summarized nine Board cases addressing both general public emergencies and emergencies particular to individual employers.  Robb did not make any declarations about how the COVID-19 outbreak and associated response might affect bargaining obligations, but the summarized cases provide good examples of bargaining exceptions that may or may not apply.
Continue Reading NLRB General Counsel Releases Emergency Bargaining Case Summaries

Employers with collective bargaining agreements and union relationships know they generally cannot make unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment.  But in an unprecedented emergency like the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we are all facing, union bargaining obligations may be relaxed, either based on the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, or under National Labor Relations Board law.  As employers are forced to make ever more difficult operational decisions in the face of this emerging threat, here are some issues unionized businesses should consider when contemplating major workplace changes.
Continue Reading Coronavirus and the NLRA – Unilateral Changes in Emergency Situations

February is a great time for employers with New York operations to check on their progress regarding New Year’s resolutions for revising policies, training supervisors and implementing other changes to ensure compliance with recent developments in the law. The changes in employment laws during 2019 provide strong incentives for employers to update their practices. Following are 13 employment law developments that New York employers should make a part of their 2020 “resolutions” and employment practices.
Continue Reading New Year’s Resolutions for New York Employers: Implementing Lessons Learned from 2019

New York joins a handful of other states when its broad prohibition on employer inquiries into applicants’ prior wage or salary information takes place today, January 6, 2020.  As detailed in our previous alert on this issue, New York previously had expansive pay equity laws in effect for public employers, but the new law expands the prohibition to private employers throughout the state.
Continue Reading New York Statewide Ban on Salary History Inquiries for All Employers Effective January 6, 2020