The U.S. Department of Labor issued supplemental CARES Act guidance  on May 8, 2020, that addresses the interplay between the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program and partial unemployment benefits at the state level.  The FPUC program is the portion of the CARES Act that enhances state unemployment insurance benefits by $600 each week a claimant is eligible for state benefits.  That program is in effect only between the week ending April 4, 2020 and the week ending July 31, 2020.
Continue Reading Department of Labor Clarifies Entitlement to Additional $600 in Partial Unemployment Context

As states have worked to process the millions of unemployment claims arising out of the pandemic, many questions have arisen about who is eligible for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit under the CARES Act.  The Department of Labor’s most recent guidance attempts to answer many of these questions posed by the states and may be helpful to employers considering furloughs or layoffs.

Continue Reading DOL Amplifies Guidance on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program

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

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal-state program, administered separately by each state following guidelines established by federal law. On March 12, 2020, the Department of Labor issued advisory guidance for state workforce agencies, suggesting ways in which the states might relax program requirements and expand benefit eligibility in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading States Follow Department of Labor Guidance for COVID-Related Unemployment Claims

The #MeToo movement has placed sexual harassment on the front pages of newspapers, has galvanized some states to reconsider their own sexual harassment laws, and has encouraged employers to take a closer look at their policies and procedures. With such heightened awareness of sexual harassment, employers may feel an inclination to resolve doubts in favor of the accuser.  A recent Second Circuit decision, however, illustrates a counterweight to this outlook.
Continue Reading Sexual Harassment Claims: Follow Policy and Procedure or the Accused May Become the Accuser

The arbitrability of wage-and-hour actions brought under the California Private Attorneys General Act is an increasingly important issue due to the growth of PAGA-only actions in California.   In that regard, a split has emerged among courts regarding the arbitrability of PAGA claims for unpaid wages under Labor Code Section 558.
Continue Reading A Split of Authority Regarding the Arbitrability of PAGA Claims Is Due For Resolution

In Hernandez v. Pacific Bell Co., a California court held that employees who drive between their homes and a client worksite (in this case, a customer’s residence) using a company vehicle under the company’s voluntary vehicle take-home program need not be compensated for the commute time. 
Continue Reading California Court Holds Commute Between Home and Client Site is Not Compensable Time Under Voluntary Company Vehicle Take-Home Program

Voters in Michigan, Utah and Missouri passed marijuana-related ballot measures in the November 2018 elections.  Each of these measures recognizes that marijuana remains a controlled substance, and illegal, under federal law, and that authorized users, growers, physicians, and any others who properly support or participate in these programs will be shielded from liability only under state law.
Continue Reading Drug-Free Workplaces Are Not Compromised by 2018’s Newest Crop of Marijuana Laws

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many state legislatures have begun to take action to provide greater protections for victims of sexual harassment and make it easier for them to make complaints in the workplace.  For example, in California, AB 2770 amends Civil Code Section 47 to protect alleged victims of sexual harassment by a co-worker in making complaints to the employer without the fear of being found liable for defaming the alleged harasser. 
Continue Reading California’s AB 2770 Protects Employers and Victims of Sexual Harassment from Defamation Claims

Say an employee slips $20 from the register and even admits to it when you show the camera footage.  Or, more innocently, say an employee is overpaid $20 entirely by accident.  If the employee refuses to give it back, should you deduct the $20 from the employee’s paycheck? It depends.  Here are four questions to ask yourself. 
Continue Reading Employee Theft: Can Employers Deduct Suspected or Known Theft from an Employee’s Paycheck?