OSHA Announces Significant Expansion of ‘Instance-by-Instance’ Citation Policy

Late on January 26, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a press release concerning a significant change in long-standing policy related to instance-by-instance issuance of citations that will become effective in sixty days and radically alter the landscape of certain inspections. The stated purpose of the policy change is “to make [OSHA’s] penalties more effective in stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements.”

Michigan Court of Appeals Maintains Status Quo Regarding Paid Medical Leave

On January 26, 2023, in the long-awaited opinion in Mothering Justice v. Attorney General, a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled, in a 3–0 opinion, that the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA) and Michigan Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, as implemented in March 2019, will remain in place.

Employment-Based Immigration Updates for 2023

As we move deeper into the new year, the U.S. government continues to try to resolve the challenges facing the immigration system due to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting processing backlogs. These challenges may still continue, but new changes and updates have already taken effect—and more will likely come in 2023, impacting employers and the decisions they make with regard to their foreign national employees.

New York Judge Blocks COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Healthcare Facilities

On January 17, 2023, a New York trial court judge struck down the state’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, ruling that the New York State Department of Health (DOH) acted outside its authority and noting that “the COVID-19 shots do not prevent transmission.”

Congress Eases Criminal Offense Restrictions for Employment With Financial Institutions

Included in the defense spending bill signed by President Biden in December 2022 is a section with key provisions for financial institutions that will ease restrictions on hiring candidates with criminal records. Section 5705 in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023, titled “Fair Hiring in Banking,” further narrows convictions that would constitute a bar to employment under Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (Section 19) absent a written waiver by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

SECURE 2.0 Retirement Legislation Has Arrived in Style and Is Here to Stay: Top 10 Contribution-Related Provisions

After months of suspense and intrigue on whether SECURE 2.0 would make it to the finish line and become law, the U.S. Congress ended the suspense by attaching SECURE 2.0 to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 funding bill on December 23, 2022. President Biden made it official on December 29, 2022, by signing the appropriations bill into law (Public Law No. 117-328).

New York State Publishes Proposed Updated Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

In accordance with its quadrennial obligation to evaluate the impact of New York State’s Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy in the workplace, on January 12, 2023, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), in consultation with the New York State Division of Human Rights, published a proposed updated model sexual harassment prevention policy.

San Francisco Passes Ordinance Requiring Private Employers to Provide Paid Military Leave

On January 20, 2023, San Francisco Mayor London Breed approved a city ordinance that will require large, private employers to provide differential paid leave for military reservists called up to active duty. The “Military Leave Pay Protection Act” adds Article 33Q to the city Police Code, and will make San Francisco the first major city in the United States to require that private employers provide differential paid leave to employees who are members of the military while they perform military service, the sponsor of the ordinance said when introducing it last year.

USCIS Expands Premium Processing to All EB-1 and EB-2 Classifications, Including New Petitions

Beginning January 30, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers E-13 (EB-1C) multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 (EB-2) National Interest Waiver (NIW) petitions.

Albany County, New York’s New Law Requiring Disclosure of Pay Ranges in Job Postings

Employers in Albany County, New York, will soon be required to disclose expected pay ranges in job postings under a new pay transparency law. The law, which is expected to go into effect on March 9, 2023, adds Albany County to the growing list of jurisdictions across New York State with similar pay transparency requirements.

Connecticut Proposes Legislation to Increase Salary Transparency in Job Postings

Connecticut recently proposed legislation (Proposed H.B. No. 5243) that would “require employers to disclose salary ranges in all job postings.” In 2021, Connecticut was one of the first states to enact a pay transparency law requiring employers to disclose to applicants and employees the salary ranges for their positions. The proposed legislation would expand the existing law.

New York City’s New Job Protection Bill: Will It End At-Will Employment?

New York City is considering a bill known as the “Secure Jobs Act,” which would prohibit employers from discharging employees without “just cause” and advanced notice in most cases. Introduced on December 7, 2022, Int 0837-2022 would further restrict employers’ use of electronic monitoring and biometric data in making discharge and disciplinary decisions, and provide other protections for workers.

OSHA Alert: Time to Post Annual Form 300A Summary of Injuries and Illnesses; Penalties Jump More Than 7.7 Percent

This year, as has been the case the past six years, January brings two items from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that almost all employers will want to keep in mind. One is an adjustment to the penalties OSHA can impose for a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act and the other is a requirement to post injury and illness records.

Colorado’s New Pay Standards Reflect the State’s Rising Cost of Living

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) recently released the 2023 Publication and Yearly Calculation of Adjusted Labor Compensation Order (2023 PAY CALC Order). The 2023 PAY CALC Order has increased the compensation thresholds applicable to a variety of Colorado wage-and-hour and workplace requirements.

New Year, New State Minimum Compensation Thresholds for Restrictive Covenants

For many employers, a new year is a new opportunity to update policies, procedures, and agreements—including restrictive covenants. In addition to ensuring compliance with applicable state requirements as to timing, consideration, and restrictions, companies need to be aware of applicable compensation minimums for employees being asked to sign noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements. With the start of the new year, many states have increased minimum compensation floors for such employees.

DHS Announces Proposed Fee Increases for Immigration Benefits

On January 4, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would increase fees for specific immigration and naturalization benefit requests. The department’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cited the expansion of humanitarian programs, federally mandated pay raises, additional staffing requirements, and the need for essential investments as reasons for the proposed increases.

 

NLRB Concludes Exigent Circumstances Delay, Do Not Eliminate, Decisional Bargaining

In a decision instructive to employers facing sudden, emergency conditions requiring immediate response, a divided National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Metro Man IV, LLC d/b/a Fountain Bleu Health and Rehabilitation Center, Inc., 372 NLRB No. 37 (December 28, 2022), expanded an employer’s obligation to bargain with a union in the aftermath of exigent circumstances.