While managing the fallout from COVID-19 has dominated the focus of employers this year, there have been a number of recent employment law developments unrelated to the virus. During this virtual seminar Bass, Berry & Sims labor & employment attorneys will address legislative developments and agency guidance with respect to a number of these issues and provide practical guidance for understanding the associated impacts and legal challenges.

Topics will include:

  • Managing political messages in the workplace.
  • Impact of the Bostock decision on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • DOL guidance in response to the “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” Executive Order.
  • DOL Proposed Rule on independent contractor classification.

WEBINAR DETAILS

Title: Recent Developments for Employers

Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020 Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CT

Who Should Attend

  • In-house legal counsel.
  • Human resources professionals.
  • C-level executives, consultants and principals.

This program is pending approval for HRCI and Tennessee CLE credit (1 hour)

We recognize that many of our readers sponsor ERISA welfare benefit plans and are currently undergoing their open enrollment process and issuing related participant communications. To assist with that process, we have prepared an Automatic Participant Disclosures Checklist for use during open enrollment and throughout the plan year.

If you have questions regarding the information in this checklist, please contact any of the attorneys in our Employee Benefits Practice Group.

On October 1, Tennessee will join a growing list of states providing additional protections to pregnant employees as the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (Act) takes effect. Covered employers include those with 15 or more employees. Under the Act, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to make reasonable accommodations for medical needs arising from pregnancy, childbirth or other related medical conditions unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. This includes requiring employees to take leave under a leave law or employer policy if another reasonable accommodation can be provided. The Act also prevents an employer from taking any other adverse actions against an employee in the terms, conditions, or privileges of an employee’s employment if the individual requests or uses a reasonable accommodation due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, such as counting pregnancy-related absences under a no fault attendance policy.

Continue Reading Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On September 11, in response to a New York federal district court striking down some of the Department of Labor (DOL) regulations regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the DOL issued guidance (Guidance) affirming in part and revising in part, its regulations. While most of the Guidance does not result in any significant change or consequence to employers, the DOL’s revision of its prior definition of “health care provider” significantly impacts how healthcare entities in the U.S. must implement paid leave benefits under the FFCRA.

Work Availability

The Guidance clarifies that the “work-availability” requirement under the FFCRA applies to all types of leave taken under the FFCRA. In other words, to take any leave under the FFCRA, the FFCRA-qualifying reason must be the actual reason that the employee is unable to work rather than the employer not having work available for the employee to perform. The DOL makes clear in the Guidance that the “work-availability” requirement ensures that employers are not forced to provide paid leave benefits under the FFCRA where the employer would not have had work for the employee to perform, regardless of whether the employee has a qualifying reason for leave under the FFCRA.

Continue Reading DOL Issues Another Round of Guidance on FFCRA

As states and cities begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions and organizations return their employees to the workplace, employers are forced to navigate an unprecedented and fluid landscape of post-pandemic compliance issues.

This virtual seminar will address the difficult issues facing employers as they return their employees to the workplace and provide practical guidance for understanding the associated legal challenges.

Bass, Berry & Sims labor & employment attorneys will present tools for developing and implementing a strategic plan that mitigates employer risk and liability.

This complementary webinar will cover:

  • Safety measure enforcement.
  • Employer’s obligations under OSHA.
  • Latest CDC guidance for employers.
  • Issues arising under the ADA and FMLA.
  • Responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace and an employer’s liability.
  • Work from home issues under the FLSA.

WEBINAR DETAILS

Title: Employer Obligations for Returning to the Workplace Amid COVID-19

Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CT

Who Should Attend

  • In-house legal counsel.
  • Human resources professionals.
  • C-level executives, consultants and principals in companies that are working to bring employees back to the workplace.

This program is pending approval for HRCI and Tennessee CLE credit (1 hour)

On August 3, the federal court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) issued an order invalidating several significant portions of the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Final Rule regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The SDNY struck down the following provisions:

  1. That work has to be otherwise available to the employee for the employee to be eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL).
  2. The DOL’s expansive definition of “healthcare providers” for the purposes of who can be excluded from the FFCRA mandated leave.
  3. That an employer must agree to the use of EPSL on an intermittent basis by employees for reasons not related to the possible spread of COVID-19 by the employee.
  4. That an employee must provide documentation requesting FFCRA before the beginning of the leave.

This ruling clearly applies in the Southern District of New York, however, its impact outside of the district is uncertain. As of now, employers who operate in that jurisdiction may have differing obligations under the FFCRA than employers operating outside.

A more detailed description of the ruling is provided below.

Continue Reading Court Ruling Invalidates DOL’s Final Rule Related to FFCRA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding workplace safety and addressing topics related to COVID-19, including whether workers should wear a cloth face covering while at work per the CDC’s recommendations.

OSHA generally advises, yes.  The FAQs state the following:

“OSHA generally recommends that employers encourage workers to wear face coverings at work.  Face coverings are intended to prevent wearers who have Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) without knowing it (i.e., those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic) from spreading potentially infectious respiratory droplets to others.  This is a known source control.”

Continue Reading OSHA Guidance Regarding Cloth Face Coverings in the Workplace

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on Monday, June 15, in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, ruling that the prohibitions against discrimination “because of sex” contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) extend to protect gay and transgender employees against workplace discrimination. Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the Court with Justices Alito and Kavanaugh each issuing dissenting opinions. In each of the three consolidated cases upon which this opinion was rendered, an employee had been terminated from employment for being gay or transgender.

The three employees brought suit in three different jurisdictions. In one case, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Title VII’s protections did not prohibit employers from firing employees for being gay, and dismissed the lawsuit. In the other two cases, the Second Circuit and Sixth Circuit ruled that Title VII did provide the alleged protections and had permitted the cases involving those two employees to proceed. These inconsistent rulings, therefore, set the following question before the Court:

Is it legally permissible under Title VII’s language prohibiting discrimination “because of sex” for an employer to take an adverse action against an employee merely because the employee is gay or transgender? 

Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules that Title VII Protects LGBTQ Employees

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 Technical Assistance Q&A on June 11, addressing an employer’s handling of pandemic-related harassment, pregnant employees, employees with family members at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and other workplace discrimination issues. Below is an overview of that guidance.

Continue Reading EEOC Update: COVID-19 Guidance on Various Workplace Discrimination Issues

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new guidance regarding an employer’s obligation to record all COVID-19 illnesses among workers if the illness is “work-related.” This new obligation went into effect on May 26, 2020, and supersedes guidance issued in April.

Recordkeeping Obligations

Employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following requirements are met:

When is a COVID-19 Illness Work-Related?

Continue Reading Employer’s Obligation on Reporting COVID-19 as a Work-Related Illness – Updated OSHA Guidance