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

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Act is expected to be voted on by the U.S. Senate, and signed by President Trump early this week.

There are two different versions of the bill that are being circulated, but both versions contain extended FMLA provisions that will apply to COVID-19 related absences and paid sick leave provisions. We are monitoring the situation and we will provide a detailed analysis of the Act, once it is signed into law.

As the number of confirmed 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise across the country and around the world, employers are looking for guidance regarding how they should react to the potential for spread of the virus. Several government agencies have responded to this demand. Bass, Berry & Sims’ labor & employment attorneys have compiled the latest guidance in an effort to address many of the common questions employers currently face.

Follow the link below to review a summary of:

  • The CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
  • The CDC’s Risk Assessment guidelines
  • The EEOC’s guidance on “pandemic preparedness” and compliance with the ADA
  • OSHA’s information on employers’ obligations with respect to COVID-19

We are closely monitoring the government’s response to this developing situation and will update our website with further guidance as it unfolds.

According to the National Restaurant Association, older adults have been the fastest-growing cohort of employees, and mismanaging those workforce dynamics can pose some compliance issues and concerns for employers. I recently discussed ways for employers to respond to the growing age gap in the restaurant industry in a recent article for Modern Restaurant Management.

Although most employers know that age is a protected category and there is no “mandatory retirement age,” compliance issues may arise when employers are careless in the ways they address performance management in older employees.

Continue Reading Age Discrimination in the Restaurant Industry

We are excited to share the next installment of our video series, Conducting Workplace Investigations | Step #6: Interview Best Practices. This series, 10 Steps Every Company Should Take When Conducting Workplace Investigations, is intended to guide HR leaders faced with investigating a complaint between coworkers, such as harassment or inappropriate conduct, through the investigation process.

Each video in this series offers practical tips on everything from creating the investigation plan; interviewing relevant parties; and dealing with the aftermath of the investigation, including potential disciplinary actions taken against an employee.

In this video, Bass, Berry & Sims labor and employment attorney Mary Leigh Pirtle outlines best practices to keep in mind when interviewing witnesses during a workplace investigation. These practices include guidance on the tone of the interviews and how to handle confidentiality during the process. Mary Leigh also addresses retaliation concerns and how to best address those for the witnesses of a workplace conflict.

Several attorneys in our Labor & Employment Practice Group are featured in this video series and offer great recommendations for navigating this tricky process.

View previous videos in the series:

Step 1: Intake the Complaint

Step 2: Interview the Complainant

Step 3: Plan the Process

Step 4: Perfect the Plan

Step 5: Interview Best Practices

To guarantee you don’t miss any videos in the series, be sure to subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter.

We are excited to be presenting a CLE webinar titled, “An Employer’s Obligations in the ADA Interactive Process” on February 11.

This 60-minute webinar will examine employers’ obligations within the interactive process, including how to recognize qualifying accommodation requests, what information an employer should request and be provided, and the process of exploring accommodation options and, ultimately, choosing the appropriate accommodation for the circumstance in question. Check out our blog post on this topic.

The program will take place on Tuesday, February 11 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (EST) and is hosted by Celesq.  For more information and to register, visit the event web page.

Join us for a complimentary seminar where we will review a broad range of topics pertaining to significant legislative and regulatory actions and court decisions that occurred in the area of employment law over the past year.

7:00 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Program

Topics will include:

  • FLSA changes to the salary threshold and joint employer test
  • Misclassification of employees as independent contractors
  • FMLA and ADA leave and accommodation issues
  • #MeToo, where we stand today
  • Labor and employment law-related legislative and regulatory actions and court decisions to watch for in 2020

Approved for HRCI and Tennessee CLE credit (1 hour)

Join us for a complimentary seminar where we will cover a broad range of issues employers face when discharging employees and provide guidance for successfully assessing and addressing the associated risks and liabilities.

7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Program

Topics will include:

  • Documenting the discharge
  • Workplace violence and direct threat issues related to terminations
  • Severance agreements and waivers
  • The proper approach for communicating a termination, including who should attend, what to say and do, and what written notice must be provided, including how to deal with the unique challenges that arise when an employee is on leave
  • How to handle final wage payments and bonus payouts
  • Addressing confidentiality concerns
  • Issues related to unemployment insurance
  • An overview of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and how it is applied
  • Addressing restrictive covenant concerns following a discharge

Approved for HRCI and Tennessee CLE credit (2.25 hour)

We are excited to share the next installment of our video series, Conducting Workplace Investigations | Step #5: Interview Best Practices. This series, 10 Steps Every Company Should Take When Conducting Workplace Investigations, is intended to guide HR leaders faced with investigating a complaint between coworkers, such as harassment or inappropriate conduct, through the investigation process.

Each video in this series offers practical tips on everything from creating the investigation plan; interviewing relevant parties; and dealing with the aftermath of the investigation, including potential disciplinary actions taken against an employee.

In this video, Bass, Berry & Sims labor and employment attorney Tim Garrett outlines best practices to keep in mind when interviewing employees during a workplace investigation. These practices include guidance how best to take notes during the interview and how to explain the interview process to participating employees. Companies can use the points that Tim covers in this video to get all of the relevant details in order to get to the truth of the matter being investigated.

Several attorneys in our Labor & Employment Practice Group are featured in this video series and offer great recommendations for navigating this tricky process.

View previous videos in the series:

Step 1: Intake the Complaint

Step 2: Interview the Complainant

Step 3: Plan the Process

Step 4: Perfect the Plan

To guarantee you don’t miss any videos in the series, be sure to subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter.

This was originally posted on November 7 and has been updated to include the more recent article.

I recently discussed the potential for age discrimination in the workplace when companies focus too much on recruitment of young employees. The article argues that by focusing solely on young talent, organizations miss out on the “perspective” and “expertise” that baby boomers can offer customers and fellow employees.

“It often manifests itself in what I call lazy language—when somebody says that they want to cultivate a ‘youthful environment’ when what they really mean is a ‘vibrant environment,’” I wrote in the article. Firms that try to recruit new workers solely on social-media sites that cater to younger job seekers can risk accusations of age discrimination.

The full article, “How to Keep Baby Boomer Workers Happy,” was published by HR Executive on November 4, 2019, and is available online. My  quotes were also included in the January 20 MSN article, “Annoying Issues Boomers Encounter When Looking for Work.”