Shareholder John Richards has earned a spot as one of Law360’s employment law Rising Stars. The publication’s feature article notes: “Richards has a unique practice in that he serves as a point of contact for businesses in the retail and e-commerce sectors, and he works with lawyers across Greenberg Traurig’s platforms to meet their legal needs.” Read the entire Law360 feature (subscription required).
Reaffirming its confidence in the thought leadership and experience within Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s Labor & Employment Practice, the American Bar Association appointed a pair of the firm’s shareholders for key roles within the ABA’s Section of International Law.
Shareholder Kelly Dobbs Bunting, based in the Philadelphia office, will co-chair the International Employment Law Committee for the 2020-2021 year. Jordan W. Cowman, a shareholder who works from the firm’s Dallas and Houston offices, will serve as a vice chair for the group.
Click here to read the full press release, “Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Shareholders Selected for ABA International Employment Committee.”
Beginning July 6, Massachusetts will enter Phase 3 of the Four-Phase Reopening Plan. However, businesses located within Boston will have a delayed Phase 3 start date until July 13. Just as with Phase 2, Phase 3 will consist of two steps. According to the Governor’s office, Phase 3 will last much longer than previous phases, and moving into Phase 4 will be dependent on the development of successful therapeutics or a vaccine.
Click here to read the full GT Alert, “More Businesses Allowed to Reopen as Massachusetts Moves Into Phase 3 on July 6.”
Virginia’s General Assembly and governor worked together this year to enact a broad range of new employment laws that impact virtually every aspect of the employment relationship. These laws create new substantive and procedural protections for employees and impose new liabilities and burdens on employers, and they take effect July 1, 2020.
Read the full GT Alert, “Reminder: Virginia’s New Employment Laws Take Effect July 1.”
In advance of Philadelphia entering the “green” phase and many businesses reopening, the Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed the Essential Workers Protection Act (Bill No. 200328) on June 25 and was signed by Mayor Jim Kenney on June 26, 2020.
For purposes of this Act, introduced by City Councilwoman Helen Gym, essential workers are employees who work in the health care, food service, public transportation, and hospitality industries. Philadelphia employers will be barred from retaliating against essential workers who voice concerns regarding working conditions that potentially expose them to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or those conditions that would violate any mandatory public health orders issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health or the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
Greenberg Traurig Shareholder John Richards and Associate Nicholas Corsano penned a guest article for Corporate Counsel following the recent Supreme Court ruling extending workplace protections to LGBT+ people. In their article titled, “Practical Implications for Employers on Recent SCOTUS Ruling Giving Title VII Protection for LGBT+ Employees,” Richards and Corsano offer advice for LGBT+ inclusion & engagement in the new virtual work environment.
To learn more about employee inclusivity and remote working conditions, read their Corporate Counsel column.
As California enters Stage 2 of its “Resilience Roadmap” plan to reopen, California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health issued further guidance on June 18, 2020, mandating all Californians wear face coverings in various “high-risk” settings. The guidance updates a previous CDPH guidance (issued on April 1, 2020) that outlined best practices regarding the use of face coverings, but did not mandate their use state-wide. In light of the threat posed by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the CDPH has been given broad authority to issue public health directives by Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20, requiring Californians to “heed the State public health directives.”
The CDPH Order requires people in California wear cloth face coverings in “high-risk situations,” which include: indoor public spaces, outdoor public spaces (when maintaining social distancing is not feasible), obtaining healthcare, using public transportation (including taxis and ride—share services), and engaging in work with members of the public. The Order exempts children under two years of age, persons who cannot wear a face covering due to a health issue, deaf persons (or those communicating with deaf persons), persons obtaining services which require the removal of face covering, persons dining at a restaurant (so long as they are maintaining social distance from others), and persons engaged in outdoor recreation (so long as they are maintaining social distance from others). The State of California has issued a FAQ regarding the new requirement.
The Order broadly requires the use of face coverings in the workplace. Although the requirement is limited to (1) workplaces that can be visited by the public, (2) locations where food is being prepared for others, (3) working in (or passing through) common areas, and (4) enclosed areas where social distancing is impossible, the Order’s breadth will impact a majority of employers.
As California workplaces begin to implement return-to-work plans, they will need to incorporate these new state-wide face covering requirements. Likewise, employers should also review and assess any county or city requirements as many cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, have stricter requirements than California’s new Order.
For more information and updates on the developing COVID-19 situation, visit GT’s Health Emergency Preparedness Task Force: Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Whether the 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Thole vs. U.S. Bank on June 1 is “good news” for employers and will limit lawsuits by defined benefit participants, as some commentators have forecast, remains to be seen. From the perspective of advising fiduciaries how to discharge their responsibilities and avoid litigation, however, what the majority opinion means in practice should not be overlooked. Jeffrey Mamorsky and Jonathan Sulds delve into this issue in their column for Pensions & Investments.
Effective June 22, 2020, Massachusetts moves into Step 2 of Phase 2 of the Four-Phase Reopening Plan. Businesses permitted to reopen in Step 2 can resume operations under their sector-specific guidance. In addition, prior to opening, the business must meet all safety standards, create a COVID-19 control plan, and complete a self-certification.
Read the full GT Alert, “Massachusetts Updates Sector-Specific Safety Standards for Phase 2 Step 2 of Economic Reopening.”
On June 17, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance (see A.7.) stating employers cannot require workers to undergo Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) antibody testing (as distinguished from testing for the COVID-19 virus itself). Increased COVID-19 antibody (or “serology”) testing has been cited as a helpful tool because it aids in understanding the prevalence of the virus in the general population. It can also produce useful information about populations that may have some level of immunity from the virus. But the EEOC has now made clear that employers may not mandate such testing, as doing so violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Read the full GT Alert, “EEOC Issues Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Antibody Testing.”