As the COVID-19 pandemic rages and excitement grows from promising vaccine announcements, employers are asking a critical question: Can I require my employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Although each employer’s circumstances are unique, the short answer is the classic law school answer: “It depends.” The longer answer is “perhaps, but with exceptions, and even then you may want to reconsider.”

Continue Reading Can Employers Require Employees to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19?

Effective November 5, 2020, New Jersey public and private sector employers will have a new set of health and safety mandates to follow if they plan to allow or require employees to perform services at a New Jersey worksite. Although many of the requirements have most likely already been adopted as best practices, failure to adhere to the requirements will now carry fines and penalties for non-compliance including, but not limited to, business closure. An employee complaint system will be implemented for violation reporting. Accordingly, all employers should be mindful of the requirements and ensure immediate implementation.

Continue Reading New Requirements for New Jersey Employers as COVID-19 Numbers Continue to Rise

“An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.” There it is. Simple. Direct. Clear. Groundbreaking.

In its landmark decision issued June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects, gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination in employment.

Continue Reading A “Simple, But Momentous” Decision: LGBTQIA Rights Are Protected By Title VII

Terminating an employee who is subject to a restrictive covenant may void that agreement in states that permit and enforce them. For example, New York law provides that an employer cannot enforce a restrictive covenant if it terminated the employee. See, Buchanan Capital Markets, LLC v. DeLucca, 144 A.D. 3d 508 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016).

The law in New Jersey is unsettled at this time, but if the employer terminates an employee because of the coronavirus, I believe it is likely that New Jersey courts will not enforce the agreement at this time. An employee’s covenant not to compete is enforceable only if it is reasonable under all the circumstances in a particular case. Maw v. Advanced Clinical Commc’ns, Inc. 179 N.J. 439, 447 (2004).

Continue Reading Termination of Employees with Restrictive Covenants Could Negatively Affect Enforcement

On Wednesday, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations implementing the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements established by the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), which went into effect this week.

The Department’s temporary rule, which is available here, covers significant ground in terms of delineating workers’ and employers’ rights and responsibilities under the FFCRA, as well as how employers must go about determining what obligations they have thereunder. Included in the numerous topics and aspects of the new law addressed and explained is one particular question (among many, many others) that almost everyone has been asking since the President signed the FFCRA into law just over two weeks ago: Is there a “small business exemption” for employers with fewer than 50 employees and when and how does that exemption apply to exclude a small business from the provisions of the FFCRA? In short, as explained below, yes, there is a small business exemption available to private employers that have fewer than 50 employees, but it only is available under certain circumstances and is not a full-blown exclusion. Even qualifying small businesses are not absolved of all paid leave obligations under the Act.

Continue Reading Department of Labor Temporary Rule Defines and Explains Small Business Exemption to Employer Paid Leave Requirements Under Families First Coronavirus Response Act

As businesses continue to traverse the unchartered waters created by the COVID-19 outbreak across the country, the law constantly is evolving, and employers must grapple with new limitations created by both Congress and state and local governments on what seems like a daily basis. Employers must take care to learn, understand, and comply with the emergency legislation being passed at all levels of government. In so doing, employers must remain mindful of the penalties and enforcement of violations of the substantive benefits provided by these coronavirus-inspired laws, and must exercise care to avoid violating the anti-retaliation provisions included in these new laws.

Continue Reading Employers Beware: Retaliating Against Employees Who Exercise Their Rights in Response to COVID-19

The federal government has provided new hope for employees affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic by way of an economic stimulus package that includes, among other things, enhanced unemployment benefits.

On Friday, March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES” Act), which expands the situations in which an employee is eligible to receive unemployment compensation. In addition, the CARES Act provides an enhanced unemployment benefit to employees impacted by COVID-19, enabling employees to receive up to an additional $600.00 per week in unemployment insurance benefits through Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

Continue Reading The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”): What It Could Mean For You

How things have changed since I published my Employer’s Guide to COVID-19 less than a week ago. While the guidance, recommendations, and issue-spotting set forth in that article have not changed, the legal landscape concerning the novel coronavirus has. State governors have issued emergency orders. New laws have taken, or will take, effect. Non-essential business have been instructed to close their doors and convert to remote work arrangements, if possible. People have been advised to stay home. Here’s an update on what’s changed and how it impacts you, your business, and your employees.

Continue Reading Updated Resource & Guide to COVID-19: Emergency Orders, State Lockdowns, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The coronavirus pandemic has arrived in the United States, and it undoubtedly has impacted your business or workforce in some way. On Friday, March 13th, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to free up $50 billion in federal resources to combat COVID-19 and has since issued coronavirus guidelines for America.

At the local level, some states, counties, and municipalities have gone into lockdown by requiring all non-essential public places to close indefinitely until this crisis has passed. On Sunday, March 15th, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf mandated the closing of all non-essential businesses in five eastern counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Allegheny). On Monday, March 16th, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered the closing of all schools and non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses effective at 8:00 p.m., and instituted a curfew for non-essential and non-emergency travel between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. These mandates will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

Continue Reading An Employer’s Guide to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

COVID-19 concerns have swept across the country in the last weeks. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other governing bodies have called upon all Americans to do what they can to slow the transmission of the disease by practicing social distancing. For employers, that means seriously considering allowing their employees to work remotely.

Continue Reading Remote Working: What Employers Need To Know