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Denise Giraudo is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

On December 17, 2021, in a “Friday Night Surprise” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the Stay on the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).  This seminal ETS applies to employers with 100 or more employees and requires that employees be either (1) vaccinated; or (2) weekly tested and fully masked if unvaccinated.  While it is anticipated that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether the ETS stands, OSHA has already stated that they will begin enforcement of the ETS in January 2022.  Specifically, OSHA will enforce all requirements except testing for unvaccinated employees beginning January 10, 2022, and enforcement related to testing will begin February 9, 2022.

Continue Reading OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Survival Guide

On November 4, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its much-anticipated mandate-or-test workplace vaccine emergency rule (“the Rule”).  The Rule requires employers with 100 or more employees to either mandate covered employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or require covered employees that are not fully vaccinated to test for COVID-19 at least weekly and wear a face covering.  The Rule went into effect immediately on November 5 with employers expected to comply by no later than January 4, but implementation has since been halted due to pending legal challenges.  For more information of the Rule requirements and specifics, see our prior article It’s Here: OSHA’s Rule Mandating COVID Vaccinations or Weekly Testing for Employers.

Continue Reading Challenged – OSHA’s Rule Mandating COVID Vaccinations or Weekly Testing for Employers Halted

The much-anticipated vaccine rule is here.  On November 4, 2021, and in response to President Biden’s Executive Order, the Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Commission, issued the Emergency Temporary Standard (“the Rule”), requiring mandatory vaccination or weekly COVID testing for many U.S. employers.  The Rule is effective immediately.

Continue Reading It’s Here: OSHA’s Rule Mandating COVID Vaccinations or Weekly Testing for Employers

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the largest economic stimulus package in American history into law.  Although the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) made several amendments to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), the majority of the amendments were technical corrections that do not impact the substantive provisions of the FFCRA.
Continue Reading The CARES Act: What Employers Need to Know About Its Impact on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, shortly after it was passed in the Senate by a vote of 90-8, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Act (the “Act”) into law.

There are two paid leave provisions of the Act that employers with fewer than 500 employees should be aware of: (1) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act; and (2) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.  The Act also provides, among other things, $1 billion in grants to states for emergency unemployment insurance and refundable tax credits for employers providing paid emergency sick leave or paid FMLA.  Further, for those who have been closely following the trajectory of this bill, it is worth noting that there are key differences as highlighted below between the original version of the bill passed by the House on March 14 and the final law, which are the result of several “corrections” that the House made to the bill on March 16 before sending it to the Senate.
Continue Reading What Employers Need to Know About the Newly-Enacted Families First Coronavirus Act

On March 14, 2020, the House of Representatives voted 363-40 to pass H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act—a relief package that, among other things, contains several provisions affecting employers.  The Senate has not yet scheduled a time to vote on the bill, although it is expected that a vote will occur this week.
Continue Reading What Employers Need to Know About H.R. 6201: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On June 19, 2018, District of Columbia residents voted to pass (by a 55.14% to 44.86% margin) Initiative 77, providing for a single minimum wage for all employees, including tipped workers.

The restaurant industry led the opposition to the Initiative noting that the additional labor costs of the minimum wage will need to be sourced by one of the following: (1) through job cuts; (2) by the employer’s overhead; or (3) by passing the costs to the consumer through an increase in the costs of goods and services, which can decrease business and/or decrease the likelihood of customers tipping.
Continue Reading Minimum Wage Inches Closer to Reality for Tipped Workers in the District of Columbia

In a welcome departure from its recent practice, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently issued its first new opinion letters in almost ten years. In addition to issuing three new opinion letters earlier this month, on January 5, 2018, WHD reissued seventeen opinion letters previously withdrawn under the Obama administration.

The resurrection of this practice offers employers a useful tool to ensure compliance with federal employment laws. Prior to the Obama administration, the WHD had a longstanding practice of issuing opinion letters in response to inquiries from employers concerning the application of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other laws enforced by the WHD. These letters have traditionally provided guidance to both employers and employees concerning compliance with the laws and regulations under WHD’s purview. Significantly, for employers, good faith reliance upon WHD’s opinion letters can provide a defense to potential claims of a violation of the FLSA or other laws under the WHD’s jurisdiction.
Continue Reading Department of Labor Offers Employers Clarity By Resuming Its Practice of Issuing Opinion Letters

Washington D.C. may become the next local government to require that restaurants pay minimum wage to its servers, bartenders, and any other workers who currently earn a “tipped wage” – a lower base wage, plus tips. Presently, that base wage is $3.33 per hour.
Continue Reading D.C. Voters Will Decide Whether to Eliminate Tipped Restaurant Wages