Ohio Employment Law Matters

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Governor DeWine signed an executive order on June 16, 2020 that provides exceptions to the general rule that employees may not refuse to return to the workplace following a COVID-19 pandemic layoff or work-at-home situation. Employees with “good cause” may remain at home and refuse to work and still receive unemployment benefits. Good cause includes: Employee is over the age of 65; A medical professional’s recommendation that an individual not return to work because the…
The U.S. Department of Labor announced June 24 that it will no longer automatically pursue double damages for overtime and minimum wage violations when it seeks to settle claims prior to filing suit. This new policy is effective July 1, 2020. This announcement follows an executive order by President Trump to eliminate regulations and enforcement policies that will impact the economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. The DOL clarified that it…
The chart above illustrates charge filing data for fiscal year 2019. Retaliation charges continue to dominate EEOC charge filings. Following closely behind are disability, sex, and race discrimination charges. This should continue to serve as a reminder not to turn an otherwise meritless charge or complaint of discrimination into a good retaliation claim or charge by taking a negative action in response to a complaint or charge of discrimination. If employment action is taken following…
OSHA released a guide to nonessential businesses on safely returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses should review this guidance, keeping in mind that businesses have a duty under OSHA’s general duty clause to keep employee’s safe. Following this guidance could operate as a defense to an employee safety complaint related to COVID-19 protections. OSHA divides the reopening of non-essential businesses in terms of three phases: Phase 1: Limit in person work and observe…
Don’ts: Don’t involuntarily exclude employees based on being over the age of 65 and thus “high risk” for contracting COVID-19. Doing so is illegal, even if the motivation is to keep the employees safe. Likewise, don’t involuntarily exclude pregnant workers based on perceived virus risk to the employee or her child. Don’t require COVID-19 antibody testing as a condition of workplace re-entry. Dos: Engage in an individualized assessment as to whether an employee with a…
In a decision on June 15th, the U.S. Supreme Court held 6-3 that the protections for “sex discrimination” include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In three combined cases, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against sexual orientation and gender identity because it is discrimination because of sex. Justice Gorsuch wrote the opinion in which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, and Chief Justice…
Undoubtedly, you received numerous communications from businesses by now about their responses or stances on the George Floyd issue, protests, and recent discussions about systemic racism. Should your business send one out to customers or vendors? What about employees? What should it say? It is a business-specific decision about whether to send out a communication clarifying the company’s practices on discrimination and stance on systemic racism. If a business chooses to send one, the content…
Some businesses are considering limiting their liability from COVID-19 infections in their facilities and workplaces through liability waivers for employees, guests, and other visitors. Are they a good idea? Probably not. Here’s why. Employee waivers Employer return-to-work COVID-19 waivers are problematic for a variety of reasons, most notably, the fact that they are likely an impermissible prospective (future) waiver of workers’ compensation claims. Basically, workers cannot release their claims under workers’ compensation laws for illnesses…
Governor DeWine expanded Ohio’s responsible restart program and added several categories of businesses to the list of businesses that may reopen beginning June 10th: Aquariums Art galleries Country clubs Ice skating rinks Indoor family entertainment centers Indoor sports facilities Laser tag facilities Movie theaters (indoor) Museums Playgrounds (outdoor) Public recreation centers Roller skating rinks Social clubs Trampoline parks Zoos The following may open June 19th: Amusement parks Casinos and racinos Water parks Outdoor theatres Sector…
UPDATED 6/17/20 with SBA interim guidance and new application Businesses that took PPP loans now have more flexibility to spend the money than the original CARES Act and the IRS and SBA regulations permitted. More information and regulations on this new expansion should be forthcoming. The law is the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (HR 7010). Among the changes: Extends the covered period to spend the PPP funds from 8 to 24…