On February 17, 2011, the Assembly approved a bill (A3707) to clarify recent changes in the Unemployment Insurance Law regarding disqualification from unemployment insurance benefits for misconduct by claimants. If passed, the bill would add a definition of “simple misconduct” that codifies into the statute the definition of “minor” misconduct found in existing regulations. The bill also would replace the law’s definition of “severe misconduct,” which currently only lists examples, with a comprehensive definition. The definition would include work-connected misconduct other than gross misconduct that either: 1) is committed with malice and deliberate disregard for the property, safety or life of people at the work site or consumers, and consists of violence, threats, theft, or other employee-caused, substantial property or monetary loss; or 2) is comprised of a pattern of instances of simple misconduct that are, after written employer warnings, repeated so frequently that they cause substantial property damage or disruption of employer operations. The bill also would add to the Unemployment Insurance Law the requirement found in existing regulations that the burden of proof is on the employer to demonstrate that employee actions constitute misconduct, and it would add a requirement not in the current regulations that the employer must provide written documentation to show that the employee’s actions constitute simple misconduct, serious misconduct, or gross misconduct.
Through its latest policy memorandum, issued on February 22, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has formalized additional requirements for H-1B petitions involving off-site employment. While USCIS states that its requirements for employers to provide detailed contracts and itineraries as described in the policy memo are intended to combat fraud and abuse due to an increased rate of H-1B program violations with off-site employees, the primary effect of the memo seems to be a more onerous process for filing such H-1B petitions.
Seattle Retail and Food Services Employers Beware: New City Ordinance Restricts Scheduling Practices
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a bill on September 19, 2016, enacting secure scheduling regulations for large employers in the retail and fast food businesses. Seattle is the second city, after San Francisco, to adopt such regulations. Mayor Ed Murray announced he plans to sign the ordinance within the next two weeks.
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.”