What a difference three months makes.  In May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced that fully vaccinated individuals could forgo masks and social distancing requirements in most indoor and outdoor locations.  At that time, the Alpha variant was not all that transmissible in the fully vaccinated, and millions of vaccine shots were doled out each day.  But now, with the increasing spread of the transmissible Delta variant, the CDC has updated its guidance to recommend that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.

Continue Reading Return of the Mask: CDC Issues New Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

On July 6, 2021 the U.S. State Department publicly announced that the travel ban waivers related to the world-wide pandemic will now be good for 1 year and multiple entry.  The effective date of this new decision is June 29, 2021.  Previously they were only good for 30 days and a single entry.  In addition, those that have received a waiver in the past may now use it for 12 months if it was granted after June 29, 2020.  See: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/extension-validity-for-nies-for-china-iran-brazil-south-africa-schengen-uk-ireland-india.html

Continue Reading NIE’s Now Good for 1 Year, More on Navigating the Travel Ban Jungle: National Interest Exception Checklist for the U.S. COVID Travel Bans

In January 2020, Illinois legalized the use of recreational marijuana through the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“the Act”).  Two months later, many employees began working remotely because of the pandemic.  Today, work-from-home continues to blur the lines between “work” and “home” in countless ways, and employee drug policies are no exception.  The new world of remote work has left many employers wondering what to do with their drug policies now that cannabis is legal and their employees are remote or hybrid.  Can an employer lawfully prevent their employees from using cannabis while working from home?

Continue Reading What Do I Do With My Workplace Drug Policy Now That Cannabis Is Legal in Illinois and My Employees Are Remote?

On July 16, 2021, Governor Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 150 into law, allowing certain owners of passthrough entities to find a way around the current $10,000 federal cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions for individuals.  The new law, applicable to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021 and ending before January 1, 2026, allows for many partnerships, limited liability companies taxed as partnerships, and S-Corporations to pay an entity level tax based on electing individual owners’ share of income, and then grants the owners a credit against California personal income tax for the full amount of tax paid at the entity level on their distributive share of California taxable income.

Continue Reading California Passes “Workaround” To Federal Limit on State Tax Deduction For Certain Owners of Pass-Through Entities

On July 21, 2021, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) issued a 3-1 decision affirming its precedent that displaying banners and a large inflatable rat (“Scabby the Rat”) near neutral employers does not violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “the Act”).  This decision may come as a disappointment to many employers as the NLRB under the Trump administration had been making efforts to end what many felt was unlawful secondary picketing under the Act.

Continue Reading Scabby Survives Another Trip to the NLRB: Board Reaffirms Rat-and-Banner Displays Targeting Neutral Businesses Are Permissible

On July 15, 2021, the California Supreme Court issued a decision in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC which was long-awaited but was ultimately highly disappointing to employers.

Continue Reading California Supreme Court Announces New Standard That Meal and Rest Period Premiums Must Be Paid at Same “Regular Rate of Pay” Used to Calculate Overtime Payments

A former Wal-Mart employee had his $102 million dollar verdict overturned in a recent win for California employers.  Roderick Magadia, the former employee, brought a class action and Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) complaint against Wal-Mart alleging, in part, that Wal-Mart issued deficient wage statements in violation of Labor Code Section 226.  The alleged defect was prompted by a “Myshare” bonus, a quarterly bonus based on non-discretionary metrics.  Because the bonus was non-discretionary, the law required Wal-Mart to factor the bonus into the “regular rate” of pay used to calculate the overtime premium.  But, since the bonus was earned and paid quarterly while the overtime premium on hourly pay is paid during every two-week pay period, the premium must be recalculated and adjusted with a supplemental payment each quarter.

Continue Reading Sheppard Mullin Helps Overturn $102 Million Dollar Verdict

As we previously reported, on May 5, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”) into law.  On July 6, 2021 the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) published its Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard (the “Standard”), a General Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan, and several Industry Specific Model Exposure Prevention Plans (“Model Plan” or Model Plans”) as required by the HERO Act.

Continue Reading New Health and Safety Obligations Established as NYSDOL Publishes Its Standard and Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Plan Required by NY HERO Act

The travel bans imposed by the U.S. Government during the COVID-19 national pandemic created enormous logistical challenges for anyone seeking to fly to the U.S. from a country on the travel ban list.  Even today, there is still a great deal of confusion regarding who is subject to the travel ban, what are the exceptions, and how to go about applying for a National Interest Exception (NIE) waiver.  The checklist below is intended to help simplify an albeit complicated process.  Of course, most U.S. Consulates are still operating at limited capacities so significant delays for waivers and visa stamping is still the norm.


Continue Reading Navigating the Travel Ban Jungle: National Interest Exception Checklist for the U.S. COVID Travel Bans

This article originally appeared on Law360 on June 25, 2021.

On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid.  The ruling invalidated a California labor regulation that requires growers to grant union organizers seeking to represent their workers property access, and declared it an unconstitutional taking of the grower’s property in violation of the 5th and 14th Amendments.  Several other California laws and decisions sanction similar union trespass onto private property.  For example, numerous state court decisions have granted unions access to private property of employers with whom they have a dispute on the theory that such access is required in order to enable labor to communicate its message to the public and to put economic pressure on the employer.  Likewise, California’s statutes have been applied to grant special protections to labor speech and to bar courts from enjoining union trespass on private property.  See e.g., Ralphs Grocery Co. v. United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 8, 55 Cal.4th 1083 (2012); UFCW, Local 324 v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, 83 Cal.App.4th 566 (2000); cf. Waremart Foods v. NLRB, 354 F.3d 870 (D.C. Cir. 2004).[i]  Cedar Point offers a new avenue of attack against such union invasions of an employer’s property and a possible leg up on getting such trespasses enjoined in the future.
Continue Reading SCOTUS Decision May Force Reversal of California Laws Sanctioning Union Trespass

On June 21, 2021, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) new COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) went into effect.
Continue Reading New U.S. DOL Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare Workers