Military Leave and USERRA Reemployment Rights: 3 Steps for Reading Orders to Determine Five-Year Cap Exemptions

Employers may be surprised to learn that certain employees with greater than five years of military leave may still have reemployment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). USERRA has numerous exemptions to the statute’s five-year service limit, and employers may need to consult an employees’ orders and discharge documents (DD-214 or NGB 22) before denying an employee reemployment rights under USERRA.

2022 Changes to Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave: ‘Back to the Future’? Well, Not So Fast!

Earlier today, the Michigan Court of Claims issued a stay of its July 19, 2022, decision in Mothering Justice v. Nessel that had reinstated ballot initiatives that would have drastically changed the state’s paid medical leave and minimum wage laws. The stay is in place until February 19, 2023. This means that the adopted and amended versions of these laws will remain in place for now.

Not Monkeying Around Anymore: Time for Employers to Pay Attention to Monkeypox

The World Health Organization (WHO) director general declared the current outbreak of monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Similarly, San Francisco declared a public health emergency due to the increase in monkeypox cases and the state of New York declared the spread of the virus an “imminent threat to public health.”

2022 Changes to Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave: Back to the Future

On July 19, 2022, the Michigan Court of Claims reinstated Michigan’s original (2018) voter-initiated versions of the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (IWOWA) and the Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA). This reversion immediately increases Michigan’s minimum wage rate to $12 per hour and significantly expands the paid sick leave employers must provide to eligible employees.

The Latest in Multi-Jurisdictional Paid Sick Leave Compliance

Variations in paid sick leave requirements can cause major compliance issues for employers, particularly as the requirements can vary not only state-to-state but from locality to locality within a state. In fact, respondents to Ogletree Deakins’ recent survey report, Strategies and Benchmarks for the Workplace: Ogletree’s Survey of Key Decision-Makers, ranked leaves of absence, including paid sick leave and state leave laws, as the number one most challenging multijurisdictional compliance issue.

Connecticut Update: Recreational Marijuana, Captive Audience Meetings, and Leave Notices Requirements Take Effect July 1, 2022

The Connecticut legislature has been busy in 2021 and 2022. Approximately twelve months ago, it passed legislation effectively legalizing recreational marijuana under Connecticut state law. Very recently, it amended Connecticut’s employee free speech statute to, among other things, prohibit employers from convening what organized labor often refers to as “captive audience meetings” with employees to address unionization efforts. Also, effective January 1, 2022, many employees became eligible for Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits, and the legislature amended the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA) to apply to almost all private sector Connecticut employers.

New Mexico’s Paid Sick Leave Law Becomes Effective on July 1, 2022

Beginning on July 1, 2022, New Mexico’s Healthy Workplaces Act (HWA) requires private employers with even one employee working in New Mexico to provide paid sick leave (PSL) to eligible employees. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) recently published HWA guidance, in the form of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), and regulations to provide guidance and clarity on various issues as the effective date approaches, including the definition of “covered employees”; rules for accrual, use, and carryover of paid sick leave; frontloading; and employee documentation and employer notification requirements.

Updates to Illinois’s Bereavement Leave and Employee Sick Leave Laws

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker recently signed into law two bills addressing employee leave. The Family Bereavement Leave Act (FBLA) provides eligible employees with unpaid time off to grieve the death of a family member covered by the act, and it provides employees with time off due to certain pregnancy- or adoption-related events.

Excusing False Positive Drug Test Caused by CBD Use May Be a Reasonable Accommodation, Says U.S. District Court in Louisiana

A federal district court in Louisiana, in Huber v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., recently denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law (LEDL) case, finding, among other things, that accounting for and excusing a false positive drug test resulting from extended cannabidiol (CBD) use may be a reasonable accommodation.

Ontario Appellate Court Ruling Leaves Employers Waiting for Determination on Interpretation of COVID-19 Leave Provisions

Employers in Ontario have been waiting for clarification on the interpretation of COVID-19 leave provisions throughout much of the pandemic. Employers had hoped that the Court of Appeal’s decision in Taylor v Hanley Hospitality Inc. would provide clarity on the implications of Employment Standards Act, 2000 infectious disease emergency leave (IDEL) on an employee’s employment status.

A Primer on Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

In 2019, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed the Paid Family Medical Leave Act, which established a paid family and medical leave insurance (PFMLI) program for Oregon employees. On April 27, 2022, the Oregon Employment Department (OED) filed proposed administrative rules with the Oregon Office of the Secretary of State to detail the specifics of the program.

Cal/OSHA Updates COVID-19 ETS FAQs and Issues Fact Sheet for California Employers

On May 7, 2022, the day after the latest revision to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) went into effect, Cal/OSHA issued updated answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a fact sheet. The FAQs continue to evolve and change with each revision and readoption of the ETS. The FAQs now reflect the updated definitions, processes, and changes to the quarantine requirements for close contacts.

Maryland’s ‘Time to Care Act’—Frequently Asked Questions About Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits for Maryland Workers

Starting in 2025, Maryland workers may have an easier time making ends meet when they take otherwise unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Thanks to Maryland’s newly enacted Time to Care Act of 2022 (TTCA), Maryland workers will be able to apply for paid leave benefits from a state fund beginning on January 1, 2025.

Federal Court: Employee’s Self-Serving Testimony and Discovery Responses Did Not Satisfy Burden of Proof on Summary Judgment

In Buckmaster v. The National Railroad Passenger Corp. d/b/a Amtrak, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland addressed whether an employee had offered any evidence of discrimination or retaliation beyond his own speculative beliefs and personal disagreement with his employer’s legitimate business reason for terminating his employment.

No Vacation From Vacation Pay in Vacationland: Beware, Maine Employers!

In spite of significant opposition from Maine’s business community, including the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and leaders in the tourism, hospitality, and small business communities, Governor Janet Mills signed into law Legislative Document (L.D.) 225, “An Act Regarding the Treatment of Vacation Time upon the Cessation of Employment” on April 7, 2022.

DOJ Emphasizes Need for Individualized Assessments in Finding Indiana Nursing Board Violated ADA

On March 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) found the Indiana State Board of Nursing violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to allow a nurse taking medicine prescribed to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) from participating in the Indiana State Nursing Assistance Program (ISNAP).

Philadelphia Mayor Signs Bill Providing for COVID-19–Related Paid Leave

On March 10, 2022, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law the third iteration of the Public Health Emergency Leave law, which will guarantee up to forty hours of paid sick leave (COVID-19 leave) for eligible Philadelphia employees. The COVID-19 leave shall be provided to employees immediately without any waiting period or accrual requirements.

 

Employee’s Poor Performance Trumps FMLA Claim

On March 9, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an employer-friendly decision in Anderson v. Nations Lending Corporation. Despite some facially bad facts—including that the employee was discharged only four days after returning from leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and subject to a supervisor’s comments about her being “sick a lot”—the court affirmed summary judgment in favor of the employer.

COVID-19 Paid Leave Is Back in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia City Council recently passed a third iteration of the Public Health Emergency Leave law that will guarantee up to forty hours of paid sick leave for Philadelphia employees to recover from COVID-19 or avoid exposing others, to care for a family member with COVID-19 or who exhibits symptoms that might jeopardize the health of others, to care for a child whose school or place of care has closed due to COVID-19, or to take time off to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot (and address any side effects related to such vaccination).

Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act to End on March 15, 2022

On May 28, 2021, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law an act requiring eligible Massachusetts employers to provide emergency paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work for COVID-19–related reasons. On September 29, 2021, Governor Baker approved an extension of the law, titled “An Act Providing for Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave,” and increased its funding.

Pittsburgh Expands Workplace Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

On December 6, 2021, then-mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, signed legislation amending the city’s workplace antidiscrimination ordinance to include victims of domestic violence as a protected class. Under the amended ordinance, employers with five or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on their actual or perceived status as victims of domestic violence and must attempt to reasonably accommodate such individuals, if needed. The Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, which is tasked with enforcing the ordinance, also established and released employer guidance, shedding more light on these new requirements.