April 2020 E-Update
CDC Updates COVID-19 Guidance to Add New Symptoms and Guidelines on Release from Isolation
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided updated guidance on several issues of relevance to employees infected with COVID-19 – additional symptoms of COVID-19 and when individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 may stop self-isolating, which would enable them to return to work. For more, click here.
DOL Issues New COVID-19-Related WARN FAQs and Updates FFCRA Q&As
The federal Department of Labor (DOL) issued new Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions and added to its extensive Questions and Answers resource for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). For more, click here.
EEOC Provides Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations and Employee Testing When Returning to Work
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” resource to expand upon its guidance on some issues of concern to employers – reasonable accommodations and employee testing. For more, click here.
NLRB Issues “Election Protection” Final Rule
On April 1, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board issued its anticipated “Election Protection” final rule. (Last August, the Board issued the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which we discussed here.) The final rule differs in some respects from the proposed rule. For more, click here.
NLRB Addresses “Contract Coverage” Standard Following Expiration of CBA
In KOIN-TV, the National Labor Relations Board held that its recently adopted “contract coverage” standard is inapplicable to an employer’s unilateral changes made after a collective-bargaining agreement (“CBA”) has expired unless the CBA “contained language explicitly providing that the provision [permitting the unilateral change] would survive contract expiration.” For more, click here.
D.C. Expands Both DC-FMLA and Sick and Safe Leave Law for COVID-19. The District of Columbia temporarily expanded both its Family and Medical Leave Act (DC-FMLA) and its Sick and Safe Leave Act (DC-SSLA) to include COVID-19-related reasons. For more, click here.
Virginia Vastly Expands Its Employment Laws. Substantial changes to Virginia’s employment laws were enacted, including expanding anti-discrimination protections, requiring reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and childbirth, increasing the minimum wage, providing a private right of action for wage payment violations, strengthening worker misclassification laws, prohibiting non-competes for low-wage employees, and implementing whistleblower protections. For more, click here.
Employer Legally Obligated Only to Stop Co-worker Harassment, Not More. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that the employee could not sustain a hostile environment harassment claim where the employer had effectively stopped the co-worker harassment, and the employer was not required to do more than that. For more, click here.
“There are no nuances to be discerned regarding the Holocaust”; Holocaust-Denier’s Discrimination Claim Dismissed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected a teacher’s claims of race, ethnicity and religion discrimination under federal and state law, finding that his termination was legitimately based on his teaching anti-Semitic views to his students. For more, click here.
ADA Does Not Require “Forgiveness or a Second Chance.” An employee could be terminated for violating conduct rules, even resulting from her disability, and the employer was not required to provide an accommodation to enable her to meet the standards in the future, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. For more, click here.
OFCCP Update – New Directives, Lower Veterans’ Hiring Benchmark. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued several items of interest to government contractors and subcontractors this month. For more, click here.
NLRB Reaffirms Employer’s Right to Require Confidentiality During Internal Investigation. In Securitas Security Services, the National Labor Relations Board concluded that the employer lawfully required confidentiality during an internal investigation of a confrontation and allegation of racial discrimination. For more, click here.
A New Supervisor May Set New Expectations. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit rejected an operations manager’s claim that he was terminated in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, finding instead that he was unable to meet the expectations of his new supervisor. For more, click here.
“Employees cannot immunize themselves from legitimate termination by taking FMLA leave.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit provides support to an employer’s ability to take legitimate employment action for an employee’s misconduct, regardless of the employee’s use of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. For more, click here.
The current COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on many employees who have had to take leave for COVID-19-related reasons. While the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides paid leave to certain employees, and some states and local jurisdictions have implemented specific COVID-19 paid leave requirements, in addition to existing employer paid leave programs, there will be some employees who do not have or have exhausted paid leave to cover their COVID-19-related absences. For more, click here.