California Department of Public Health Issues COVID-19 “Employer Playbook”

On July 24, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued guidance entitled “COVID-19 Employer Playbook For a Safe Reopening.”  The CDPH then revised the 32-page Employer Playbook a week later, on July 31st.  A link to the most up-to-date guidance is available here. Continue Reading

Board Announces Intent to Issue New Rules Eliminating Disclosure of Certain Personal Information and Requiring Absentee Ballots for Those on Military Leave

Yesterday, the NLRB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) calling for public comments as to two important changes to its regulations governing representation elections. Continue Reading

1st Circ. Holds Non-Compete Agreement Unenforceable Against Fired and Rehired Employee

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have been forced to conduct staff layoffs as businesses were closed in compliance with shelter-in-place orders and subsequently rehire employees as lockdown restrictions have been lifted. One concern employers should bear in mind is how the layoffs and later rehiring of employees impact the enforceability of any previously agreed upon restrictive covenant agreements. Continue Reading

Safety Protocols in the Face of COVID: What New Virginia Safety Standards Require of Employers

Beginning July 27, 2020, Virginia will become one of the first states to implement comprehensive, mandatory safety regulations for employees returning to work during and post-COVID.  In a press release last week, Governor Ralph Northam announced that the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board had voted to adopt an emergency temporary standard, §16VAC25-220, which is designed to “control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of” COVID-19. Continue Reading

Sticks and Stones…The NLRB Rethinks Its Position on Abusive Workplace Speech by Employees While They Are Engaged in Protected Concerted and Union Activities

On Tuesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) issued its much-awaited decision in General Motors, LLC (GM), 369 NLRB No. 127 (2020), in which it held that abusive or inappropriate workplace speech by employees engaged in protected concerted or union activity (PCA) is not protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or Act) and that employers may discipline workers for engaging in such conduct, provided, the discipline is not shown to be retaliation for protected conduct. Continue Reading

NLRA “Advice” All Employers Should Consider in a COVID World

Most employers wrestling with COVID-19 related employment law issues aren’t paying much attention to the labor law issues arising out of the pandemic.  Indeed, because most U.S. employers are non-union, many operate under the mistaken belief that they fall outside the reach of the National Labor Relations Act (Act or NLRA) and don’t have to concern themselves with labor law compliance.  However, the NLRA protects almost all private sector employees regardless of whether they are union-represented or not.  Accordingly, except for those employing agricultural employees or workers covered by the Railway Labor Act, both unionized and union-free employers are subject to the NLRA and must conform their personnel policies, practices and decision-making to the Act. Continue Reading

AFL-CIO Sues the Board Over New Rules – AGAIN

Last August, we wrote about three important new rules that the National Labor Relations Board (Board or NLRB) was proposing to issue.  As proposed, the new rules reversed existing Board case handling practices and/or case law and essentially codified certain substantive changes in the Board’s law through the formal rulemaking process.  Because these changes were slated to be the subject of formal rulemaking, once enacted, they could neither be ignored by the Board nor reversed or modified in future Board case decisions.  Rather, in order to change or reverse them, the Agency would be required to go through the formal procedures of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).  Having now passed through the APA’s public notice and comment process, these new rules are now final and scheduled to take effect on July 31. Continue Reading

Important CalSavers Registration Deadlines for California Employers

Important Upcoming Registration Deadline:  California employers with more than 100 employees are required to register (or certify as exempt) with the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program (CalSavers) by September 30, 2020 (the original deadline of June 30, 2020 was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic).  The registration deadline for California employers with 100 employees or fewer will be phased-in over the next two years.  California employers with 51 to 100 employees are required to register by June 30, 2021, and those with 5 to 50 employees are required to register by June 30, 2022.  Businesses located in California may begin to receive notices from CalSavers to register or certify an exemption for the company.  The link to the CalSavers’ website to register or to claim exemption is https://employer.calsavers.com. Continue Reading

San Francisco Enacts a Temporary Ordinance Granting Workers Laid Off Due to COVID-19 a Right to Reinstatement

On July 3, 2020, San Francisco enacted a temporary emergency ordinance requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to offer reemployment to employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Known as the “Back to Work” emergency ordinance and aimed at mitigating the severe economic harm to individuals who have been unable to work due to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19, this enactment creates a right to reemployment for eligible laid-off workers if their prior covered employer resumes business operations and/or seeks to re-staff.  According to its terms, this statute will remain in effect for only 60 days.  Thus, unless it is extended or reenacted, the statute will remain in effect only through September 1.  However, what its lingering legal effect will be in terms of hiring rights, duties and obligations in San Francisco beyond its expiry remains an open question. Continue Reading

Will the NLRB GC’s “Suggested” Manual Election Protocols Matter?

On July 6, and after consulting with the Board’s Regional Directors (“RDs”) and other of the Agency’s internal stakeholders, the NLRB’s General Counsel (GC) issued Memorandum GC 20-10 offering suggested protocols for the RDs to follow as a way of returning to manual elections in light of the ongoing pandemic.  Before COVID-19, the overwhelming majority of National Labor Relations Board-conducted representation elections were done manually.  Board agents typically came to an employer’s place of business, set up a voting booth and employees were allowed to vote en masse on whether or not they wished to be represented by a union by manually marking a paper ballot.  Elections were run in this manner because the workplace was where almost all of the employees were physically present and maximum employee participation in the election process could be assured.  In addition to providing a level election playing field favoring neither management nor labor, and minimizing the Board’s physical oversight of the voting process, manual voting guarantees that elections can be held under laboratory conditions by greatly minimizing the risks of inappropriate conduct that could adversely affect the outcome of an election. Continue Reading

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