Employer Law Report

COVID-19 return to work considerations: Navigating the reopening process

Many states are releasing their plans to reopen businesses and lift stay-at-home orders. There are many important considerations for employers to take into account while planning their return to work. Porter Wright’s Labor & Employment Department developed a checklist of issues to consider for a safe and productive return to work. You can find that checklist here.

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Think twice before hitting “record”

It is simple enough: press record and you can easily share your internal video conference call, re-watch it later, or forget it and move on. You move on until you receive a discovery request or a subpoena for information if the company is sued. Now, your internal video call is discoverable and may be seen by those outside your intended viewership.

My colleagues Abby Chin and Molly Crabtree delve into this issue on the Technology Law Source blog.

Completing the Form I-9 when COVID-19 prevents renewal of your employee’s identity document

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a COVID-19 temporary policy for List B identity documents when completing a Form I-9 for a new hire. As a reminder, the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification requires the employer to verify the identity and employment authorization of employees not later than three days after the first day of employment. List A includes documents that establish both identity and employment authorization. List B includes documents that establish identity. List C includes documents that establish employment authorization. The employer must physically examine one document from List A or a combination of one document from List B and one document from List C to verify both identity and employment authorization. The employer records information from the documents in Section 2.

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

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.

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Avoiding the avalanche for now: Court Issues temporary restraining order barring Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s emergency amendment

On April 15, 2020, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission issued an emergency amendment creating a rebuttable presumption that, for any essential employee who files for COVID-19 related injuries, those injuries will be presumed to have arisen out of and be casually connected to their employment. You can read more about this amendment and its effects in our prior blog post. As we expected, challenges to the validity of this amendment have already begun.

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Ohio BWC pandemic-related developments

As Ohio attempts to move forward during this pandemic, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is doing the same. For example, the BWC has resumed the scheduling of medical exams where necessary, is using alternative methods such as file reviews when possible, and has provided guidance on telemedicine resources to assist with the continuation of benefits to injured workers. The BWC is also making efforts to ease the economic impacts to businesses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some highlights that employers, both self-insured and state-funded, should be aware of during this unprecedented time. Continue Reading

Parsing President Trump’s latest tweet and proclamation on immigration

President Donald Trump released a “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following COVID-19 Outbreak” on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. This proclamation provides the legal context and direction to implement a Monday night tweet asserting his intention to “suspend immigration.” While we analyze the legal implications of this proclamation below, it is also important to understand the context. As a practical matter, the limitation on the issuance of immigrant visas has been the result of the COVID-19 closure of consulates around the world. There have not been interviews in the past six weeks, and it is not certain when they will resume. Thus, there has already been a halt in the issuance of immigrant visas. Therefore, the practical effect of this order is limited.

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Navigating the interactive process of the Americans with Disabilities Act during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently updated its COVID-19 guidance to provide employers with additional insight on how to properly engage in the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) interactive process.

Engaging in the interactive process

In parts of the country, governors are beginning to talk about reopening their states for business. When this occurs, employers are likely to experience an influx in disability accommodation requests.

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Proposed changes to Ohio workers’ compensation laws react to COVID-19 pandemic

Ohio lawmakers have proposed multiple bills that would expand the Ohio workers’ compensation laws in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of March 2020, lawmakers introduced House Bill 573 that would include COVID-19 as a statutorily defined occupational disease under the Ohio workers’ compensation laws, similar to other occupational diseases such as asbestosis.

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