Labor & Employment Law Perspectives

Employers who have been following the Department of Labor’s (DOL) guidance on independent contractors may feel that they are sitting on a playground seesaw. As we previously reported this past January, in the waning days of the Trump administration, the DOL issued a final rule (the Rule) on Independent Contractor Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Rule modified the DOL’s test for classifying workers as employees or independent contractors for purposes of…
Are courts making it impossible to guarantee trade secrets will not be disclosed upon filing of litigation? In a recent case, Binh Hoa Le v. Exeter Fin. Corp., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (covering Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) ruled that courts should take a more studied approach to allowing sealed records in trade secret proceedings, and a number of courts throughout the United States have quickly agreed. In fact, several…
OSHA’s long-awaited emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 is one step closer to taking effect. According to news reports, the Department of Labor submitted the rule to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for review on April 26, 2021.  The White House has also scheduled nine meetings with organizations, including unions and business groups, through May 5 to discuss the proposed rule. On his first full day in office, President Biden ordered OSHA…
After a yearlong delay due to the pandemic, it’s time for filing an EEO-1 Component 1 Report (EEO-1 Report) again. Last May, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it was delaying collecting EEO-1 reports until 2021 due to the impact of COVID-19. Data collection will open through the EEOC website on April 26, 2021, and the deadline to file is July 19, 2021. As a reminder, three groups of qualifying employers are required…
Does this fact pattern sound familiar?  Employer has a COVID-19 policy requiring employees with COVID-like symptoms or exposure to a COVID-positive (or suspected COVID-positive) person to report the same to Human Resources.  If reported, the employee is required to not come to work (or go home) and to self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days, consistent with CDC Guidance.  Seems easy enough. But then an employee calls work exactly two weeks prior to a company-paid…
As we previously reported, OSHA recently launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP), focusing efforts on workplace COVID-19 concerns. The NEP guidance specifies that OSHA will be directing heightened enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus, such as hospitals, assisted living centers, and other health care and emergency response providers treating COVID-19 patients.  The NEP guidelines also note that in an anti-retaliation effort, OSHA…
Last week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued new guidance that reinstates a 14-day quarantine standard for those who have had “close contact” with someone who has had COVID-19.  Thus, effective April 5, 2021, the option for a 10-day quarantine has been eliminated.  Those who have been fully vaccinated and do not have COVID-19 symptoms are exempt from the quarantine requirements.  A person is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving either…
This author much prefers the well-known (at least in some circles) advice from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – “DON’T PANIC.”  Unfortunately, even with some hopeful signs of normal (or something close to normal) returning, it may be better to share the admonition of “Don’t Relax.”  COVID-19 continues to have tremendous impact on many aspects of our lives, and certainly affects many employment considerations.  The changes keep coming, and the need to pay close…
Peter Ohr, the new top lawyer at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), issued a memorandum on March 31, 2021, regarding employees’ right to act together to improve their working conditions, which has long been guaranteed under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  Acting General Counsel Ohr dusted off Section 7 with an eye toward highly charged issues like employee health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, national efforts to increase the…
For more than three months now, qualifying Massachusetts employees have been eligible for medical and family leave benefits under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Act.  As employers build out their PFML compliance programs and receive employees’ PFML applications, many new questions and scenarios continue to arise.  This blog post sheds light on some of these practical issues, including insight from the Department itself. As explained in prior posts, Massachusetts workers…