New developments related to joint employer liability have arisen since our blog article posted on April 4, 2019. In that post, we discussed the proposed rule to narrow the definition of a “joint employer” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Following a review and comment period, in Jan. 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a Final Rule, adopting the rule as proposed which then became effective in March 2020.

Continue Reading Joint employer rule, now disjointed

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses across the country, employers are faced with the difficult question of how to keep their workplaces safe. Some employers are attempting to restrict off-duty employee conduct to limit high-risk behavior.

The National Football League (NFL) is one employer taking steps to regulate off-duty conduct to reduce risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL has apparently reached an agreement with the players’ association that restricts the players’ off-duty conduct in some surprising ways. Players are prohibited from attending indoor night clubs, concerts, and even indoor religious services that allow attendance above 25 percent capacity. If a player violates these rules and then tests positive for COVID-19, he will reportedly not be paid for any games he misses and future guarantees in his contract will be voided. The NFL and the players’ association have presumably entered into this agreement for two chief reasons: to minimize COVID-19 outbreaks among teams and, in turn, to increase the likelihood that NFL football can be played this season. Commentators have thrown some challenge flags at the agreement, however, due to its potential for punishing employees for engaging in lawful off-duty activities.
Continue Reading NFL is tackling off-duty conduct to reduce COVID-19 spread. Can your business, too?

It is difficult to imagine another time when uncertainty and concern in the workplace have been at a higher level. The COVID-19 pandemic has led many states to issue stay-at-home orders, mandating that non-essential businesses shutter and implement telework and essential businesses operate under restrictions. As states “reopen” essential and non-essential businesses, employees will be called back to workplaces different than the ones from which they were furloughed or laid off. There will be new rules and restrictions, new working conditions and, in some places, a new concern about workforce reductions for economic reasons. Workers’ concerns about job security, safety and working conditions are a prime target for union organizing.

Continue Reading Employer responses to union organizing efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic

As the April 1, 2020 effective date for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act quickly approaches, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) continues to release guidance via a Q&A page through which the DOL illustrates how it will enforce the Act.

Some of this guidance has been discussed in earlier posts which you can find here and here. In addition, the DOL has provided the following new information.
Continue Reading Department of Labor’s Q&A page provides new information about enforcement of Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Below are answers to three common questions about COVID-19 and employer obligations under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA):

Is there any OSHA standard or regulation that covers workplace exposure to COVID-19?

No. OSHA standard applies specifically to workplace exposure to COVID-19. However, the OSHA General Duty Clause requires all employers to provide

Ohio Governor Michael DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted recently announced that the state has expanded unemployment compensation benefits to workers and businesses impacted by COVID-19. By way of background, Ohio’s unemployment insurance system provides 50 percent of a qualifying worker’s former average weekly pay, subject to caps based on the number of dependents in the household.

Governor DeWine has issued an executive order that expands unemployment benefits related to COVID-19. Moreover, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has published a series of questions and answers related to the order. Here are the highlights:
Continue Reading Ohio expands unemployment compensation protections in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Continuing a trend towards reversal of case precedent, the NLRB has issued two decisions important to companies with union contracts. In Valley Hospital Medical Center, the Board considered whether an employer has the right to stop making dues deductions from employee paychecks after a collective bargaining agreement with the union expires. Dues deductions in collective bargaining agreements are common. Unions bargain aggressively for them because these provisions require the employer to automatically deduct union dues from employee paychecks and submit them directly to the union.

Continue Reading NLRB shift on two important issues for union companies

On Saturday, March 14 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), by a bipartisan vote of 363-40. The bill now proceeds to the Senate, which is currently on recess but will return this week. The bill could be voted on as early as today. President Trump has signaled his approval for the bill, so it is likely to pass Congress in some form or fashion. The bill will take effect fifteen days after enactment. It will remain in effect until it expires under a sunset provision on December 31, 2020.

Continue Reading HR 6201 could provide employees with COVID-19 relief while changing the landscape of labor and employment law for employers

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) governs certain rights of workers in union and non-union workplaces. NLRB cases impact such things as employee rights to complain about working conditions on behalf of oneself and others and the right to communicate to co-workers about interest in unionization. As a result, trends in NLRB decisions are important to all companies, union and non-union.

Continue Reading Active NLRB is reversing many trends; union and non-union companies need to be aware

The National Labor Relations Board has issued a final rule governing joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act. This rule, published in the Federal Register on February 26, 2020, will take effect in late April 2020.

To be a joint employer under the final rule, a business must possess and exercise substantial direct and immediate control over one or more essential terms and conditions of employment of another employer’s employees.


Continue Reading The new NLRB joint-employer rule