Indiana Supreme Court Reaffirms That the Blue Pencil Doctrine Is an ‘Eraser’ for Overbroad Restrictive Covenant Language

On December 3, 2019, in Heraeus Medical, LLC v. Zimmer, Inc., the Indiana Supreme Court reaffirmed the “blue pencil doctrine,” likening the doctrine to an eraser and stating that Indiana courts may only delete language from overbroad restrictive covenants; they cannot reform or add to such agreements.

New Jersey Resumes Efforts to Amend ABC Test for Independent Contractor Status, Passes Slate of Laws Targeting Misclassification

The New Jersey legislature closed out 2019 by trying to push through a bill that would have substantially amended the state’s “ABC test” for determining independent contractor status, and effectively prohibited New Jersey companies from utilizing independent contractor workforces. On January 14, 2020, the state senate introduced S863, which presents many of the same problems for New Jersey businesses that its predecessors did.

CDC Confirms First Case of Wuhan Coronavirus in the United States: What Employers Need to Know

Employers with employees traveling to and from China may want to take note that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on January 21, 2020, that the United States had confirmed its first case of a new strain of the coronavirus that appeared in Wuhan, China, last month. The virus has already sickened hundreds of people and is reported to have killed six, according to Chinese authorities.

USMCA Review: A New Deal for Labour in the ‘New NAFTA’

The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a free-trade pact that was agreed to by U.S. President Donald Trump, then-president of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on November 30, 2018. This agreement changes the current rules governing North American trade contained in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

New and Updated California Workplace Safety Regulations Expected in 2020

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board continues to have a multitude of draft regulations on its plate for this coming year. Employers and trade groups will have the opportunity to influence California’s new workplace safety regulations at the advisory committee level and by attending the monthly Standards Board meetings, which will occur throughout the state. Here we highlight some of the most critical updates for California employers.

Sixth Circuit Considers Whether Comparator Info Is Discoverable in a Failure to Promote Case

In Jones v. Johnson, No. 18-2252 (January 9, 2020), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals considered the discoverability of comparator information in a case involving an allegation that an employer failed to promote an employee. The court reversed a district court’s decision in favor of an employer on the grounds that it had improperly limited the scope of discovery.

California’s AB 5 Enjoined as to Motor Carriers; Federal Court Enters Preliminary Injunction on FAAAA Preemption Claim

On January 16, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California entered an order granting a preliminary injunction requested by the California Trucking Association (CTA), which was represented by Ogletree Deakins shareholders Robert R. Roginson, Alexander M. Chemers, and Spencer C. Skeen, in a matter challenging Assembly Bill (AB) 5 as to motor carriers operating in California.

The NLRB’s Revised Representation Case Procedures, Part I: The New Pre-Election Procedures

On December 18, 2019, the NLRB published final rules changing and clarifying many of the representation case procedures established in the 2014 amendments. The rules, which will take effect April 16, 2020, state unequivocally that “the Board is not rescinding the 2014 Amendments in their entirety.” Rather, the 2019 rules address issues of fairness and statutory compliance the 2014 amendments altered or did not address.

Congress Looks to Secure Your Retirement Under the SECURE Act

In late December, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, the most sweeping retirement legislation since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The Act, whose enabling legislation was included as part of a large government funding bill, contains many significant changes affecting employers and participants. Several provisions are effective immediately or retroactively, and others go into effect beginning in 2021.

USCIS to Begin Accepting Electronic Registrations on March 1, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it would begin accepting electronic registrations for H-1B candidates subject to the annual quota for fiscal year (FY) 2021 on March 1, 2020. The registration period will run through at least March 20, 2020. USCIS intends to notify selected registrants no later than March 31, 2020.

New Year, New Legislative Session Greets Florida Employers

Florida’s 2020 legislative session convened today in Tallahassee. This session will be one to watch, as over 20 workplace-related bills have already been filed, covering such topics as discrimination and retaliation, minimum wage and overtime pay, pre-employment verification and background screening, reemployment assistance, tax credits and refunds, job relocation, job protections for medical marijuana users, paid family leave, and heat illness prevention.

Department of Labor Issues Final Joint-Employer Regulation

On January 12, 2020, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division released the final changes to its joint-employer regulation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Originally proposed in April 2019, the updated regulation provides a clear, bright-line standard that is intended to clarify the circumstances in which a business entity may be determined to be a joint employer of another entity’s employees.

U.S. Senate Confirms OSHRC Nominees

On January 9, 2020, the U.S. Senate confirmed by voice vote both of President Donald Trump’s nominees to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). Cynthia L. Attwood was first to be confirmed, followed shortly thereafter by Amanda Wood Laihow. The confirmations come as no surprise, as the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions unanimously approved both candidates on December 3, 2019.

New Year Brings New Opinion Letters From DOL’s Wage and Hour Division

On January 7, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued three opinion letters, two of which concerned the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). (The other dealt with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.) These opinion letters are the first of the new year and a new decade.

U.S.-Iran Tensions Raise Concerns for International Travel

On January 4, 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) detained and questioned more than 60 individuals of Iranian descent at a Washington State border crossing as they attempted to return to the United States from Canada. According to news reports, CBP officers questioned a number of the travelers about their families, military backgrounds, and ties to Iran.