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Kimberly Veirs represents employers in state and federal litigation related to discrimination, retaliation, and wage and hour compliance. Kimberly also counsels clients in all facets of employment law, providing counsel with respect to state and federal employment law compliance, including employment law issues involving the FMLA, ADA, FLSA and OSHA. She advises employers in matters involving employee discipline, wrongful termination, retaliation, discrimination, harassment, wage and hour claims, and other employment-related matters. Kimberly regularly advises companies on matters pertaining to employment agreements, severance agreements, terminations, handbooks and policies, and other workplace agreements.

Over the past two years, the pandemic has forced employers to navigate unchartered waters. The focus on health and safety, managing a remote workforce, and staying abreast of the evolving COVID-19-related guidance has left in-house counsel and human resources professionals with little time to focus on the fundamental steps essential to proactively and successfully manage employee issues. While the challenges associated with COVID-19 remain at the forefront of employers’ concerns, it is time to return to familiar waters and revisit some of the best HR-related practices.

We are excited to offer the final installment of this three-part series, both in-person and virtually, via webinar. For those local to the Nashville area, we invite you to join the Bass, Berry & Sims labor & employment attorneys for the in-person presentation where they will address best practices across a range of topics, including:

  • The keys to performance management: establishing and managing performance expectations.
  • Tips for managing difficult employees.
  • Making termination decisions while ensuring compliance with legal requirements.


Continue Reading [WEBINAR] Best Practices for Managing Performance and Challenging Employees

The past few years have been unprecedented for everyone, but employers have faced particular challenges in trying to keep their employees healthy and able to continue working while simultaneously navigating a significant amount of new – and often confusing – legislation, mandates, and executive orders. Due to these challenges, the focus on best practices for day-to-day management of employees has fallen by the wayside for many employers. However, as we approach the two-year mark since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and are beginning to see some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, now is a great time for employers to revisit these best practices that will enable them to better manage their workforces and reduce the risk of employment-related litigation.

Education through Training

Educating employees through a well-developed training program is one of the best investments that employers can make in their workplaces, particularly in light of the current enforcement environment. The Department of Labor (DOL), the National Labor Relations Board  (NLRB) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are making concerted efforts to share information and work together, which requires employers to be very proactive in managing potential employee issues. The most effective way to do so is by providing training for all employees. Although the federal equal employment opportunity laws do not require employers to conduct anti-harassment/anti-discrimination training, several states and municipalities require and/or encourage training. Training is a great way to reinforce a company’s culture, establish clear expectations, and to educate all employees about acceptable conduct, work rules, and consequences for non-compliance with those rules. Training is also beneficial from a legal perspective to establish an affirmative defense in defending harassment lawsuits. Employers must take reasonable care to prevent harassment from occurring in their workplaces. This requires employers to have policies in place designed to prevent harassment, and courts also look at whether employers conduct anti-harassment training and the frequency and effectiveness of that training.

Continue Reading Best Practices for Proactively Managing Workplace Issues and Minimizing the Risk of Employment-Related Litigation

Join us for a virtual seminar in which Bass, Berry & Sims labor & employment attorneys will address a broad range of recent employment law developments and anticipated issues significant to employers and provide practical guidance for understanding the associated impacts and legal challenges.

Topics covered during the webinar will include:

  • Return to work update

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

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

Bass, Berry & Sims has provided updated guidance on the employment-related provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the FFCRA regarding providing Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) benefits under the Act. This guidance includes answers to some

Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys Davidson French, Bob Horton and Kimberly Veirs recently presented a Middle Tennessee Society for Human Resource Management’s (MTSHRM) webinar.

The webinar, entitled “Update on Federal Legislation in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic Impacting Employers,” reviewed the latest DOL guidance for employers implementing the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act

Please note that the content below was posted on March 30, 2020. We have since provided updated guidance on the topics discussed in this post here.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is issuing ongoing guidance regarding the application of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  The guidance has provided answers to many pressing questions faced by employers as they prepare to implement the FFCRA’s requirements starting April 1, 2020, including how a “healthcare provider” is defined, whether furloughed employees are entitled to paid leave benefits, whether leave under the FFCRA may be taken intermittently, and the application of the small business exception.  DOL’s guidance can be found here.  Below is a summary of some of the most common FAQs.

Continue Reading DOL Issues Second Round of Guidance on FFCRA

Please note that the content below was posted on March 19, 2020. We have since provided updated guidance on the topics discussed in this post here.

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law. The final version of the law contains significant revisions to the bill that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Employers’ obligations will become effective no later than April 2, 2020. A summary of the employment-related provisions and answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the Act are provided below.

On March 23 from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. CT, we will host a webinar titled “Employer Obligations Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act”.

Please register here and join us as we discuss the latest guidance for employers and answer your frequently asked questions.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

Employers must provide paid sick time to employees who are unable to work (or telework) for the following purposes through December 31, 2020:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order described in (1) above or has been advised as described in (2) above.
  5. The employee is caring for a child if the school or place of care has been closed or the child care provider of such child is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.


Continue Reading Families First Coronavirus Response Act

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, employers should ensure compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new electronic reporting requirements for injury and illness data. The deadline for compliance was December 15, 2017, but OSHA’s website states that they will be accepting submissions of Form 300A through December 31, 2017.

What is the purpose of the new OSHA reporting rule?

According to OSHA, “making injury information publicly available will ‘nudge’ employers to focus on safety.” OSHA will post the establishment-specific injury and illness data it collects under this recordkeeping rule on its public website (after removing personally identifiable information).

The final rule also prohibits retaliation against any employees for reporting injuries or illnesses and requires that employers notify employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.

Continue Reading OSHA Reporting Deadline Quickly Approaching on December 31 – Here’s What You Need to Know