On March 19, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf issued a broad executive order requiring the closure of “all businesses that are not life sustaining.” Simultaneously, the secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health issued a similar order, explaining “the closure of non-life sustaining businesses is necessary to protect the public’s health.”
Healthcare entities are facing a growing number of challenges related to the virus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease caused by that virus, COVID-19. Among the primary concerns is whether a specific healthcare entity is covered by the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); and if so, how to avoid violating that rule when sharing names or other identifying information of individuals infected with or exposed to the virus.
’Tis the season of generosity, random acts of kindness, and selfless gifts. But not all gifts are well received—or positively perceived. In the employment law context, where compliance and best practice remain the watchwords, presents exchanged by colleagues, however well-intentioned, must still pass muster under law and corporate policy.
On Sunday, November 4, 2018, at 2:00 a.m., daylight saving time will end. This World War I–era practice of turning back the clock one hour in the fall became a federal law in the United States when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act in 1966. The jury is still out on whether “falling back” is beneficial. Claims that it helps to conserve energy are dubious. Most people probably don’t get an extra hour of sleep that night. And, the time change doesn’t actually increase the number of hours of sunlight per day. However, it does present a good opportunity for employers to examine their timekeeping practices with regard to nonexempt employees.
On April 12, 2018, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced three new wage and hour opinion letters. The DOL only recently resumed issuing opinion letters on June 27, 2017, after having abandoned the practice several years prior.
The right to communicate with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is protected by federal law. In fact, the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan identifies “preserving access to the legal system” as one of its six enforcement priorities. Recently, one employer learned that a letter from its in-house attorney to its workforce may be viewed as violating federal law by chilling employees’ willingness to file discrimination claims.
Does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) protect nursing mothers against post-pregnancy workplace discrimination?
Can an employer’s perceived preferential treatment of an alleged rapist create a hostile work environment for the female employee who reported the rape? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a jury should determine the answer to that question.
Complaints of unequal pay should not be taken lightly, and certainly should not be met with an immediate adverse employment action. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently reinstated a female office worker’s equal pay retaliation claim that had been dismissed by a federal district court, and is allowing that case to move forward to a jury.
Want a road map for how not to react to a successful job applicant who announces her pregnancy immediately after receiving an offer letter? Look at the reaction of one prospective employer in Florida who recently settled a legal claim on that issue.
On October 20, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly issued a publication entitled “Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals” which, according to the opening paragraphs, is “intended to alert human resource (HR) professionals and others involved in hiring and compensation decisions to potential violations of the antitrust laws.”
One question being asked by employers on a nearly daily basis is, “Do we really have to meet the December 1, 2016 effective deadline for the revisions to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime regulations?”
The effective date for the revisions to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) overtime regulations is less than 80 days away, and employers continue to struggle with the challenges created by changes to the existing rule. On September 20, 2016, two disparate groups filed two federal court lawsuits, both attempting to put off or halt the implementation of the revisions.
As of August 24, 2016, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there were 2,517 cases of Zika virus in the United States, 29 of which were “[l]ocally acquired mosquito-borne cases” (all 29 of those were in Florida), and the remainder of which are travel associated. The CDC also reported 9,011 cases of the virus in U.S. Territories; of those, 8,968 were locally acquired, and the remaining 43 were labeled as travel associated.
Most—if not all—employers are aware that federal and state laws preclude employment discrimination based upon the race or national origin of an employee, and they know that illegal activity can include both discriminatory actions and biased statements.
On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the publication of its final rule updating its existing overtime regulations. The updated regulations are scheduled to become effective on December 1 of this year and are predicted to extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited proposed rule that would change the federal regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime provisions in a June 30, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), and the firestorm of praise and criticism has begun.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was enacted to insure that consumer reporting agencies act with “fairness, impartiality, and respect for the consumer’s right to privacy.” But one federal court held recently that LinkedIn’s search technology does not make that site a “consumer reporting agency” for purposes of FCRA.
An employee who was fired after asking to be reassigned to a role with less direct personal interaction as an accommodation for her social anxiety disorder has been allowed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to take her case to a jury. Jacobs v. N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, No. 13-2212 (March 12, 2015).
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay nonexempt employees at least one-and-one-half times the employees’ regular hourly wage for every hour worked in excess of 40 hours in one week. Courts regularly have noted that the goal of the FLSA is to counteract the inequality of bargaining…..
A diabetic employee who quit her job in response to her employer’s rejection of her suggested “reasonable accommodation” cannot support claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, because she failed to participate in the interactive process in good faith. EEOC v……
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes nationwide standards “to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information and applies…..
News sources recently reported that one of the Dallas nurses infected with the Ebola virus visited a retail establishment before boarding a plane from Cleveland to Dallas. Since then, retailers and customers have been concerned about Ebola in the retail environment. In addition to issues concerning customers’ fears of contraction, Ebola…..
Concerns related to the Ebola outbreak are increasing among both employers and employees in the United States. The outbreak is currently most active in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. However, there has been at least one confirmed death from the disease in the United…..
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for an employer to fail to hire or to discharge an individual or otherwise discriminate against such individual “with respect to his [or her] compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment” because of a protected characteristic, including race. To…..
To prevail on a claim of retaliation under federal law, an employee must prove that he or she engaged in a “protected activity” under an antidiscrimination statute and subsequently suffered an adverse employment action. In addition, the employee must establish that the protected activity was “causally connected” to the employer’s…..
The vacation request of an employee suffering from depression and anxiety did not qualify as a leave request under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), according to a recent decision of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. While the leave might have proven medically beneficial, the court found that…..
Health care employers face myriad challenges in complying with numerous laws—with physician hospital staff privileges and whistleblower issues not least among them. On the privileges side, a well-developed body of law provides rigid requirements on both sides of the employer-hospital relationship. On the whistleblower side, claims continue to expand and…..
Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied a motion to dismiss a claim filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a class of individuals challenging United Parcel Service, Inc.’s leave policy. The EEOC claimed that the challenged policy, under…..
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently deemed a car dealership’s prohibition on “pins, insignias, or other message clothing which are not provided to them by the company” overly restrictive and a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Boch Imports, Inc., NLRB, No. 1-CA-83551 (January 13, 2014). According…..