Over the past few months, the increased availability of the COVID-19 vaccine has created a host of questions for employers. Can employers require employees to get vaccinated only during non-work hours? Do they have to compensate employees who take time off work to get vaccinated? The city of Chicago recently enacted an ordinance that answers both questions (and a few more).

Continue Reading Chicago employers must give employees time off to get COVID-19 vaccine

After a year of conducting workers’ compensation hearings in Ohio via a teleconference bridge, on April 19, 2021, the Ohio Industrial Commission switched its hearing format to the WebEx platform. The format switch was necessitated by connection problems with the previous teleconference bridge.

Continue Reading Updates on Ohio workers’ compensation hearings: WebEx has arrived

Does a broken toe amount to a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? According to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, it depends on the circumstances. The Southern District recently held that an employee’s FMLA interference claim can go to trial after there was a dispute as to whether his broken toe constituted a serious health condition and whether he provided sufficient notice to the employer of his need for FMLA leave.

Continue Reading A broken toe and voicemails may be sufficient for FMLA interference claim

In response to a request from Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has issued $5 billion in dividends to eligible private and public employers. This was the third round of BWC dividends issued to lessen the burdens of COVID-19 on Ohio employers. We’ve answered the five most common questions on the issuance.

Continue Reading Five things employers should know about Ohio BWC dividends

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been criticized by some for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some labor unions and other interest groups have been vocal about what they perceive as insufficient action by OSHA to address COVID-19-related workplace hazards. The most recent criticism has come from within the federal government.

Continue Reading If the bear is poked, best to be prepared: OSHA and the pandemic

Employers considering whether to adopt a mandatory vaccine policy should be alert to recently-enacted and pending legislation regulating workplace vaccine policies in certain states. As we reported last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance for employers to consider before adopting a mandatory vaccine policy.

Continue Reading State law may impact employer vaccine policies

On March 11, 2021, President Joseph Biden signed The American Rescue Plan Act, which provides $1.9 trillion in funds for individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For employers, here are the key provisions to be aware of:

FFCRA tax credit extension

Since January 2021, employers subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) have not been required to provide FFCRA leave to employees; however, employers who opt to voluntarily provide FFCRA leave to employees can obtain tax credits to offset certain costs associated with providing the leave. The American Rescue Plan Act does not reinstate the mandate to provide leave or require employers to provide any additional leave, but extends the tax credits for qualifying family leave and sick leave wages that an employer voluntarily pays between April 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2021. The measure provides a new yearly allotment of up to 80 hours per employee of qualifying paid sick leave available for 2021 tax credits. Again, this does not obligate an employer to provide additional leave, but allows employers to offer a new bucket of leave to employees if they so choose. Continue Reading The American Rescue Plan Act: What employers need to know

New Jersey just became the fourteenth state to legalize off-duty, recreational marijuana use. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act (NJCREAMMA) into law, which broadly prohibits employers from taking adverse action against individuals for off-duty, recreational marijuana use.

Continue Reading The Garden State legalizes marijuana

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released its fiscal year 2020 statistics of charges filed and resolved on behalf of charging parties. There were 67,448 charges filed in fiscal year 2020, a reduction from the previous year and the lowest number of charges filed since at least 1992. While part of this drop may be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has also been a decrease in charges filed each year since 2016.

Continue Reading EEOC releases fiscal year 2020 charge and litigation data: Retaliation claims continue to dominate