Governor Newsom Signs COVID-19 Sick Pay, Small Business Relief Bill

California is extending COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) through the end of 2022 under a bill signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 29, 2022. Assembly Bill (AB) 152 will also set up a program to provide grants of up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses to cover costs incurred for COVID-19 SPSL.

Governor Newsom Signs Bill Imposing Game-Changing Pay Transparency Requirements

On September 27, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the state’s pay transparency bill into law, imposing several new and unprecedented requirements on California employers. With the signing of Senate Bill (SB) 1162, effective January 1, 2023, California will join Colorado, Washington, New York City, and other municipalities, in requiring that employers disclose pay ranges in job postings. California will break new ground in also requiring reporting on other demographic and pay information to the state.

Job Resignations, Vacation Days, and Redundancy Pay: Employment Law Surprises From Italy, the Netherlands, and Australia

Employment laws in every country have anomalies that can catch employers off-guard because they do not seem to make sense—until you look under the surface. Three examples of this are from Italy, the Netherlands, and Australia, involving rules governing voluntary employment resignations in Italy to vacation leave accruals in the Netherlands to surprising redundancy pay entitlements in Australia. Here is a quick look at some fascinating features of these countries’ laws.

New York City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools Law: Proposed Rules Are Finally Here

On September 23, 2022, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection published proposed rules to implement the city’s automated employment decision tools (AEDT) law. The law, which will take effect on January 1, 2023, conditions the use of automated employment decision tools by employers and employment agencies on their compliance with certain requirements, including the performance of bias audits and the furnishing of notifications to candidates and employees. The proposed rules define several key terms, identify the requirements for a bias audit, address obligations for publishing the results of a bias audit, and specify the notices to be furnished to employees and candidates for employment.

New York City to Convene Hearing on Proposed Rules for Automated Decision Tools Legislation

As we previously reported, restrictions concerning the use of automated tools to screen candidates for employment or employees for promotion within New York City are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2023. The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection will hold a public hearing concerning proposed rules to implement the closely watched law on Monday, October 24, 2022.

Eleventh Circuit Serves a Whopper of a Ruling on Franchisor’s ‘No-Poach’/‘No-Hire’ Agreement With Franchisees

Over the last several years, business-to-business “no-hire” and “no-poach” agreements have come under legal attack, including through enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission and criminal prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice. Even President Biden jumped into the fray on July 9, 2021, when he issued his “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.”

OSHA Expands Scope of Its Severe Violator Enforcement Program to Target Additional Employers

On September 15, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published Directive Number CPL 02-00-169, a new instruction to its enforcement arm, updating policies and procedures for OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). The instruction, which took effect immediately, aims to expand the scope of the SVEP and target additional industries.

NYC Private-Sector Vaccine Mandate Becomes Optional Beginning November 1, 2022

On September 20, 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York City’s private-sector vaccine mandate would become optional for businesses, beginning on November 1, 2022. The first-in-the-nation COVID-19 vaccination mandate for private-sector workers enacted by former mayor Bill de Blasio took effect on December 27, 2021.

Fourth Circuit Reinstates Employee’s Claim That Social Media App Messages Provided Sufficient Notice of a Medical Absence

On August 15, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held in Roberts v. Gestamp West Virginia, LLC, that an employer’s “usual and customary” notice procedures relating to absences extended beyond the company’s written policies and potentially included social media messages between an employee and manager.

German Parliament Approves Familiar Health and Safety Measures to Address Another COVID-19 Season

The German government’s plans and actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months are becoming more concrete. On September 8, 2022, the German parliament passed new measures aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19 this fall and winter. This legislative initiative included rewriting the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, which is scheduled to be in effect from October 1, 2022, through April 7, 2023.

New Federal Labor Court Ruling: Legal Obligation for Employers in Germany to Record Working Time

A recent decision of the German Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht) shows yet again that the issue of working time remains highly fraught for German employers. Following a 2019 ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) setting forth an obligation on the part of European Union employers to establish objective, reliable, and accessible systems for recording their employees’ daily working time, the subject of working time became a widely discussed topic throughout Germany. The Federal Labor Court effectively put an end to such discussions with its decision of September 13, 2022.

USCIS Implements Third Phase of Premium Processing Expansion for Previously Filed EB-1C and EB-2 NIW Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that premium processing is now available for certain previously filed Form I-140 immigrant petitions seeking classification under the EB-1C multinational executive and manager and the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) categories. This is the third phase of the planned expansion of premium processing services by USCIS in an agency-wide effort to increase efficiency and reduce backlogs caused by COVID-19, among other things

OSHA Seeks to Clarify the “P” in PPE, Issues NPRM on ‘Fit’ for Construction Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is moving forward with plans to update its standards to “clarify the requirements for the fit” of personal protective equipment (PPE) that must be provided to construction workers. On September 7, 2022, OSHA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)—a final step before publishing the proposed rule for comment.

When Is ‘Too Hot’ Actually Too Hot to Work? OSHA Cites Contractor After Florida Farm Worker Fatality

On August 12, 20222, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a citation to a farm labor contractor alleging violations for exposing workers to high ambient outdoor heat following the death of a worker on a strawberry farm in Florida. The citation serves as warning for employers, particularly those in warm climates, of OSHA’s enforcement approach following the April 2022 launch of the agency’s new three-year national emphasis program (NEP) on indoor and outdoor heat-related hazards, particularly with regard to how working in the sunlight can create hazardous conditions.

New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission Releases Interim Drug Testing Guidance

On September 9, 2022, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) issued long-awaited interim guidance to employers regarding the use of a Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert (WIRE) to “detect[] and identify[] an employee’s usage of, or impairment from, a cannabis item or other intoxicating substance.” In addition, the NJ-CRC also released a template “Reasonable Suspicion Observed Behavior Report” form that employers may, but are not required to, use in connection with workplace drug testing.