As Fall settles in and schools reopen, many employees with children (and their employers) are breathing a masked sigh of relief. Back to school means back to work, and back to work means increased productivity and greater job stability during a time when productivity and stability are needed.
Continue Reading With Schools Reopening, Employers and Employees Must Continue to Navigate a Patchwork of Federal and State COVID-19 Leave Laws

The Department of Labor has released a new set of “Questions and Answers” for employers under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  The guidance supplements the temporary rule issued by DOL in April; final regulations are still forthcoming.
Continue Reading DOL Updates Guidance on Coronavirus Paid Leave Law, Addresses Business Reopenings

Over the past 40 years, the National Labor Relations Board has grappled with the appropriate balance between an employer’s right to discipline an employee for abusive behavior and an employee’s right to engage in Section 7 activity. Much to the dismay of employers, this balancing act has historically tipped heavily in favor of protecting an employee’s right to engage in Section 7 activity at the expense of an employer’s right to discipline its employees for conduct such as using racial slurs while picketing, engaging in sexist behavior, or yelling obscenities at a supervisor while discussing wages.
Continue Reading NLRB Loosens Restrictions on Employee Discipline for Abusive Conduct and Speech

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