Labor & Employment

On January 7, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden announced Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as his nominee for Secretary of Labor. If confirmed, Mayor Walsh would represent a stark contrast to incumbent Labor Secretary, longtime management attorney Eugene Scalia. Walsh served as the president of Laborers’ Union Local 223 prior to being elected Mayor. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka publicly endorsed Walsh for the position of Labor Secretary and praised the selection, underscoring Walsh’s background in organized labor. As Secretary of Labor, Walsh will presumably be tasked with helping to implement a number of Biden administration policy changes, including with respect to…
As recently reported by the Los Angeles Times, People, and a slew of other national and local media outlets, famed Beverly Hills restaurant, La Scala, recently faced significant public backlash after sending out invitations to a Prohibition-themed, indoor New Year’s Eve celebration.  The invitation, which was distributed to select customers, read: “We are considering taking reservations for New Year’s Eve Dinner.  Inside.”  It went on to instruct recipients to “Please keep this discreet, but tell all your friends.” Although the restaurant’s management has since apologized and the previously-announced fête is not going forward, the public backlash serves as…
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), which requires that employers with fewer than 500 employees provide sick and family leave benefits for certain COVID-19 related reasons, is due to sunset on December 31, 2020. Many believed that the FFCRA’s sick and family leave provisions would be extended into 2021 as part of the pandemic relief package that was signed by the President on December 27. However, these provisions were ultimately not extended, meaning that employers will not be required to provide paid leave under the FFCRA after December 31, 2020. Despite that the FFCRA’s leave provisions were not…
For Massachusetts employers, or employers with Massachusetts-based employees, Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”) has been on the horizon for nearly two years. By now, you have notified your workforce about benefits and contributions, displayed a poster informing them of the same, determined the size of your workforce and who is a “covered individual,” begun making deductions on behalf of eligible employees or applied for a private plan exemption, and more. Next, on January 1st, 2021, employees will become eligible to take leave under the PFML. Employers can prepare by consulting with counsel regarding your obligations, updating employee…
In this episode of The Proskauer Brief, partners Harris Mufson and Evandro Gigante discuss the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s recent guidance for employers regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. On December 16th, 2020, the EEOC issued updated guidance for employers in light of the FDA’s recent authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. Widespread vaccinations have been largely perceived as critical in returning all employees to the workplace in a safe manner and allowing employers to resume normal business operations. Tune in as we discuss what many employers should consider regarding requiring employees to be vaccinated before returning to the…
Facing a government shutdown and the expiration of many of the relief programs included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) enacted in March 2020, on December 21, 2020, Congress passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package as part of a broader $1.4 trillion government funding bill.  Along with other relief measures, the new legislation includes additional funding for unemployment benefit programs that had previously been funded in the CARES Act. Unemployment Benefits under the CARES Act The CARES Act expanded unemployment insurance benefits available to workers, including through the following three programs: (1) Federal…
On December 16, the EEOC issued updated guidance for employers in light of the Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) recent authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.  Widespread vaccinations are largely perceived as critical in returning all employees to the workplace safely and resuming normal business operations.  As such, many employers have been grappling with the following question: to what extent can we require, or at least encourage, employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?  The EEOC has now issued guidance clarifying that employers are lawfully permitted to require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office, subject to…
California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as “Cal/OSHA,” recently issued new emergency temporary standards to protect workers from COVID-19 (the “Emergency Temporary Standards”), which were approved by the Office of Administrative Law earlier this week.  The Emergency Temporary Standards, which are now in effect, apply to virtually all California employers, employees, and places of employment, with three exceptions:  (1) workplaces where there is only one employee who does not have contact with other people; (2) employees who are working remotely; and (3) employees covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases regulation. Under the Emergency Temporary Standards, all covered…
As employers faced with a representation petition filed during the COVID-19 pandemic can attest, Regional Directors of the National Labor Relations Board have been incredibly reticent to hold in-person elections.  Indeed, since April 1st, when the Board resumed processing representation petitions, approximately ninety percent (90%) of elections have been held by mail rather than in-person.  This necessary paradigm shift flew in the face of the Board’s long-standing general policy to hold manual-ballot, in-person elections.  However, on November 9, 2020, the Board finally provided Regional Directors and key stakeholders, such as employers, employees and unions with important guidance concerning when, and…
On November 2, 2020, the Eastern District of New York issued a notable decision regarding an employer’s compliance with federal and state public health law during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not the only case of its kind during the pandemic, and we certainly don’t expect that it will be the last as employers should be prepared to defend claims that they did not follow the governing health protocols or otherwise ensure the health and safety of their employees. Relevant Background In Palmer, et al. v. Amazon.Com, Inc., et al., case number 20-cv-2468 (E.D.N.Y. 2020), employees working at an…
As jurisdictions continue to respond to COVID-19 with new rules, regulations, orders and guidance, employers must ensure that they adhere to these requirements as they manage business operations. To assist multi-state employers as they navigate these developments, we have created ProTrack COVID-19, a state and local tracker tool. Our proprietary tracker allows employers to search the legal requirements in the jurisdictions where they conduct business, and provides realtime updates. Key features Access to our database of COVID-19 employment and privacy-related state and local rules, regulations, orders and guidance – updated in real-time. Interactive map feature to drill down to state-specific…
New York State has released an informal guidance page, including frequently asked questions, regarding the newly enacted statewide paid sick leave law, which took effect on September 30, 2020. As we have previously reported, the law requires employers with New York employees to provide a certain amount of paid or unpaid sick leave to be used for certain medical and employee safety-related reasons. Specifically, under the new law: employers with 4 or fewer employees and a net income of less than $1 million in the prior tax year must provide employees with up to 40 hours of…
On October 28, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an Executive Order addressing health and safety requirements for New Jersey employers that require or permit their workers to be physically present in the office. The Order supplements other guidance that was previously issued for certain industries – including retail, gyms and fitness centers, and child care. Below is a brief summary of what New Jersey employers need to know about the Order. Minimum Health and Safety Protocols. Beginning on Thursday, November 5, all employers that require or permit their workers to be physically present in the office to perform work…
State-by-State Real Time Updates on Employment and Privacy-Related Rules, Regulations, Orders and Guidance As jurisdictions continue to respond to COVID-19 with new rules, regulations, orders and guidance, employers must ensure that they adhere to these requirements as they manage business operations. To assist multi-state employers as they navigate these developments, we have created ProTrack COVID-19, a state and local tracker tool. Our proprietary tracker allows employers to search the legal requirements in the jurisdictions where they conduct business, and provides realtime updates. Key features Access to our database of COVID-19 employment and privacy-related state and local rules, regulations, orders and…
In this episode of The Proskauer Brief, partner Harris Mufson and associate Phil Lebel discuss recent legal developments in California, specifically a new supplemental paid sick leave law and coronavirus (COVID-19) exposure notification requirements. Tune in as we discuss steps employers can take to ensure compliance with these new requirements. Listen to the podcast.  …
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the flurry of associated leave issues, Gov. Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 1383 (“SB 1383”) into law, which provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) to employers with as few as five employees.  Beginning on January 1, 2021, when SB 1383 takes effect, employees of most small employers will be eligible for leaves of absence: (1) for the birth of a child; (2) for adoption or foster care placement of a child; (3) to care for a seriously ill family member; and/or (4) to care for the…