Nov 4, 2021

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Emergency Rule on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing for Medium and Large Employers

On Friday, November 5, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) will issue an emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) detailing President Joe Biden’s directive that all employers with 100 or more employees require employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or to require non-vaccinated employees get tested weekly and wear face coverings in the workplace. Covered employers. The ETS directs businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccinations for their workforces, or have employees show a negative test for the virus at least weekly (and wear face coverings in the workplace). Notably, to determine… Read more

Oct 20, 2021

California Senate Bill 331 – “Silenced No More Act”

On October 7, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 331, that will become law on January 1, 2022. Dubbed the “Silenced No More Act,” the new law effectively will eliminate an employer’s ability to prevent disclosure of factual information related to claims of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, regardless of the actual merit of those claims. Effective January 1, 2019, California Code of Civil Procedure § 1001 was amended to prohibit settlement agreement provisions limiting factual disclosures about claims of workplace harassment and discrimination based on gender. The new legislation further amends Code of Civil Procedure § 1001 to… Read more

Oct 14, 2021

New 401(k) Adoption Agreements on the Horizon: Pitfalls for the Unwary

401(k) MEP

Employers that use an IRS-approved form 401(k) or profit-sharing plan document are required to adopt updated IRS-approved adoption agreements no later than July 31, 2022.  Most plan recordkeepers and other plan document providers are currently in the process of updating their clients’ plans, but this would be a good time for any employers who have not heard from their vendors about these required updates to reach out and ask about the timeline for their document updates. In addition, it is important for employers to carefully review the updated documents prepared for their plans.  Simply “rubber stamping” the updated document package… Read more

Oct 13, 2021

New York’s Highest Court Limits Jurisdiction Over Foreign Companies

Cooperative Building in New York City

Foreign companies wishing to do business in New York are generally familiar with the requirement that, under New York Business Corporation Law (the BCL), a foreign corporation must obtain authorization to do so.  If such a company is not registered to do business in accordance with the BCL, it forfeits the ability to initiate an action in New York’s courts.  Previously, some New York state and federal courts held that companies that registered to do business in New York consented to be sued in New York even on matters unrelated to their business in New York. Last week, the New… Read more

Sep 28, 2021

Build Back Better Act’s Threats to Current Estate Planning Techniques

On September 13, 2021, the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman announced the Committee’s plan to pay for the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act (the “Act”). The Act has measures to combat the climate crisis, create jobs, encourage economic and affordable housing development, and lower health care costs. To pay for these measures, the legislation contains a variety of changes, some of which are expected to become effective as soon as the legislation becomes law. Decrease to the Gift and Estate Tax Exemption The 2021 exemption for the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax is $11.7 million. Under… Read more

Sep 10, 2021

Texas Expands Protections Against Sexual Harassment

Alert_Sexual Harassment

On September 1, 2021, two new Texas laws, Senate Bill 45 and House Bill 21, went into effect expanding sexual harassment protections for employees under Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code.  These two laws change the definition of “employer,” add a heightened standard for employers to respond to internal sexual harassment complaints, and expand the statute of limitations to file a sexual harassment complaint with the state agency. An “Employer” as defined by Senate Bill 45 Senate Bill 45 added sexual harassment specific definitions to the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (“TCHRA”), Labor Code Chapter 21.  Specifically, for… Read more

Aug 25, 2021

The OECD Two-Pillar Plan: A Joint Solution to a Global Tax Problem

According to the OECD Secretary-General Report to G20 Finance Ministers dated July 1, 2021 (OECD Report), 130 member jurisdictions of the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework on BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting), representing more than 90% of the global GDP, joined an agreement for the two-pillar plan to reform current international tax rules and to address tax challenges, including those arising from an increasingly digital economy. Since the release of the OECD Report, three additional member jurisdictions have joined the agreement, bringing the total up to 133 (out of 139 total members) as of August 12, 2021. Notably, the U.S., Russia,… Read more

Aug 9, 2021

North Carolina Amends Wage Notification Obligations for Employers

Payroll Deferral

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed into law amendments to the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act changing employers’ obligations to notify employees about their wages. The changes can be found here and are effective now. North Carolina General Statute § 95-25.7 “Payment to separated employees” previously required employers to pay a terminated employee all wages due by the next regular payday after the separation, either “through the regular pay channels or by mail if requested by the employee.” The law is now amended to require the employee to submit a request in writing, if the employee wishes the wages… Read more

Jul 27, 2021

HHS and DOJ Issue Guidance on How Disability Nondiscrimination Laws Apply to Those Affected by “Long COVID”

Some people who have had COVID-19 – even if the initial illness was mild – continue to experience symptoms that can last weeks or months after first developing COVID-19. People with this condition are sometimes called “long-haulers,” and the condition they have known as “long COVID” has continued to rise as a persistent and significant health issue. On July 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJ) jointly published guidance on how “long COVID” can qualify as a disability subject to the nondiscrimination… Read more

Jul 16, 2021

California Meal, Rest, and Recovery Period Penalties Include More Than Just Regular Hourly Wage

Most California employers know that under Labor Code § 226.7(c), employees who are not provided with a compliant meal, rest, or recovery period must be paid an additional hour of pay for each violation.  Most California employers have deemed that to mean an hour of pay at the established hourly wage.  The California Supreme Court has just held that the penalty includes not just the established hourly wage, but all non-discretionary payments as well. Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, S259172 (July 15, 2021), involved a class action alleging, among other things, that when Loews paid the penalty for a… Read more