Workers’ compensation provides the exclusive remedy for injuries and illness that employees suffer arising out of and within the course of their employment.  In the early stages of this pandemic, work-related travel to high impact countries or work-related exposure in a case that was being tracked by public health authorities provided support for work-related exposure.  In health care settings, work-related exposure will likely be established when exposure to infected patients occurs.  But in other settings and as the diseases spreads in the United States, the analysis about whether an illness is covered by workers’ compensation will be more difficult.
Continue Reading Workers Compensation, Insurance, and COVID-19

The Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016, which implements the District of Columbia’s new Paid Family Leave program, kicks-in for employees on July 1, 2020.  However, employers must post a PFL notice in the workplace no later than February 1, 2020.   
Continue Reading D.C. Employers Risk Fines for Failing to Comply with Paid Family Leave Notice Requirements

Although the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” it has not yet declared the outbreak as a pandemic. Nevertheless, the emergence of the latest coronavirus is an opportunity for employers, as it reminds them to consider policies and procedures related to pandemic planning.
Continue Reading Coronavirus: A Reminder for Employers Without a Pandemic Plan

As California braces for wildfire season, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health approved an emergency regulation on July 30, 2019, that requires California employers to monitor air quality for particle pollution, and reduce workers exposure to the potential harmful pollutants from wildfire smoke.
Continue Reading California Employers Must Take Steps To Protect Workers From Wildfire Smoke

Last August, we reported on OSHA’s proposed rulemaking regarding electronic submissions of workplace injuries and illnesses in our blog entitled, “OSHA Issues Proposed Rule Regarding Electronic Submission Requirements.” OSHA has since issued a final rule which became effective on February 25, 2019.  The new rule rescinds the requirement that employers with 250 or more employees, or employers in certain high-hazard industries, electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries or Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report).
Continue Reading OSHA Eliminates Electronic Submission Requirement for Certain Workplace Injuries and Illness Forms, Citing Concerns for Employee Privacy

A memorandum recently released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has clarified the agency’s position on whether safety incentive programs and post-accident drug testing would be considered retaliatory pursuant to its controversial recordkeeping rule published on May 12, 2016.  This rule prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report work-related injuries or instituting procedures that could chill employees from reporting work-related injuries.
Continue Reading OSHA Clarifies Stance on Anti-Retaliation Measures to the Relief of Employers

OSHA recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing modification to the current rule to “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, “ which requires employers to electronically submit their injury and illness records to OSHA.  
Continue Reading OSHA Issues Proposed Rule Regarding Electronic Submission Requirements

The United States Supreme Court recently resolved a Circuit Court split on the appropriate standard of review of a District Court’s decision whether to enforce a subpoena issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).  In McLane Co., Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 15-1248, 581 U.S. __ (April 3, 2017), the Court held that such a decision should be reviewed only to determine whether the District Court abused its discretion – a deferential standard of review.  This conclusion was fairly uncontroversial.  Indeed, the abuse of discretion standard has long been used for review of decisions whether to enforce administrative subpoenas (such as those issued by the National Labor Relations Board). Historically, however, the Ninth Circuit alone has used a de novo standard of review in these circumstances, while the seven other U.S. Courts of Appeal to have addressed this issue all applied the more deferential standard.  The Ninth Circuit panel itself questioned why de novo review applied, in light of the substantial authority to the contrary, and the Supreme Court took the case to resolve this circuit split.

Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Holds That District Courts’ Decisions to Enforce or Quash EEOC Subpoenas Are to Be Reviewed Under Deferential Abuse of Discretion Standard

On Monday, September 19, 2016, the Seattle City Council approved an ordinance (C.B. 118765) designed to bring more stability to the schedules of retail and food service industry workers, who often experience last-minute scheduling changes, loss of paid hours, and back-to-back shifts. The law, which was developed during a series of meetings between the City, business owners and worker advocates, will be codified in Chapter 14.22 of the Seattle Municipal Code and will take effect on July 1, 2017.
Continue Reading Seattle Passes “Secure Scheduling” Law for Hourly Retail and Food Service Employees