March 2021 marks one year since the beginning of state-mandated stay-at-home orders and workplace shutdowns due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused the most significant disruption to workplaces in generations, and not just in terms of barking dogs, homeschooling, gate-crashers at virtual meetings, and sweat pants. The pandemic forced employers and employees to quickly pivot and change. Many of these changes will undoubtedly impact the workplace for years to come. The following is a roundup of 10 ways in which the pandemic may have a lasting influence on how we work.
On January 12, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law House Bill (H.B.) 352, which makes significant and sweeping changes to how employment discrimination claims will be handled in the State of Ohio. H.B. 352 amends pertinent sections of Ohio Revised Code 4112, which contains Ohio’s employment discrimination laws, in the following ways.
On October 6, 2020, in Bennett v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville, No. 19-5818, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a district court’s decision in favor of a public employee who claimed that the city had terminated her employment in retaliation for exercising her rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
On August 19, 2020, in Marquardt v. Carlton, et al., No. 19-4223, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed summary judgment for the City of Cleveland on a former employee’s claim that the city had terminated his employment in retaliation for his exercising his rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
On May 29, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued the “Director’s Updated and Revised Order for Business Guidance and Social Distancing.” As expected, the new order extends many of the same requirements and guidelines previously in place through the (now expired) “Stay Safe Ohio” order, including requiring employees to wear face coverings except in limited circumstances, and sector-specific operating mandates. These requirements are now extended through July 1, 2020, with some notable changes and additions.
On May 14, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced an order to continue Ohio’s phased reopening of the state’s economy, adding daycare centers, summer camps, gyms, campgrounds, and pools to the list of businesses that may now reopen. Combined with the state’s prior Stay Safe Ohio and Responsible Restart Ohio orders, here is the most updated calendar for Ohio’s reopening
The United States Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned employers in a joint statement issued on April 13, 2020, that they are “on alert” and working together to monitor employer collusion that exploits the COVID-19 pandemic in order to engage in anticompetitive conduct or fraud. The agencies specifically called out essential businesses and employers of frontline employees, staffing companies (including medical travel and locum tenens agencies), and recruiters.
As the news reports show, the sudden shift to employees working from home poses new cybersecurity risks for businesses and the employees who work remotely.
An employer’s response to COVID-19 involves numerous privacy issues. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about these issues within the United States and globally, based on laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (which applies in the United States) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While many of these principles can be applied globally, employers should always look to applicable local laws in their jurisdictions and guidance from public health authorities. Employers should also consult any applicable internal policies, data privacy notices, employee collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and individual employment terms.
On December 12, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a sexual misconduct complainant’s fear of further contact with the respondent was not enough to support a claim against the university for deliberate indifference under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Employers beware: Companies are experiencing a wave of phishing scams that target employee paychecks.
If spending is a good indicator of shifting priorities for both business and government, then cybersecurity is quickly becoming priority number one. Last week, the White House announced a proposed 10 percent increase in spending on cybersecurity for the 2016 fiscal budget. The proposal includes $14 billion for efforts to prevent…..
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. is the latest high-profile business victim of data theft. The consequences have been significant. In response to threats of violence, Sony has reconsidered its range of options for the release and distribution of its feature film The Interview. Also last week, three separate federal class actions…..
Yesterday afternoon, in DeBoer v. Snyder, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an eagerly-awaited opinion, upholding laws in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee banning same-sex marriage. The court held that laws banning same-sex marriage in these states do not violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The crux…..