Greenberg Traurig Attorneys John Richards and Nicholas Corsano Author Corporate Counsel Article on LGBT+ Workplace Inclusion

Posted in Federal Law, Labor & Employment, Workplace Safety

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.


California Requires Face Coverings as Coronavirus Cases Increases

Posted in California, California L&E Group, coronavirus, Labor, Labor & Employment, Workplace Safety

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.

Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Jeffrey Mamorsky and Jonathan Sulds’ Pen ERISA Column in Pensions and Investments

Posted in ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation

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.

Massachusetts Updates Sector-Specific Safety Standards for Phase 2 Step 2 of Economic Reopening

Posted in coronavirus, Labor, Labor & Employment, Massachusetts, Workplace Safety

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.”

EEOC Issues Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Posted in coronavirus, EEOC, Labor, Labor & Employment, Workplace Safety

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.”

Timothy Long and Lindsay Hutner to Participate at Bridgeport’s Independent Contractor, Joint Employment Misclassification Litigation 2020 Teleconference

Posted in AB 5, California, California L&E Group, Employee Classifications, Event, Independent Contractors, Wage & Hour, wages

Timothy Long and Lindsay Hutner of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP will participate in the Independent Contractor, Joint Employment Misclassification Litigation Teleconference program on June 30.

Hosted by Bridgeport Continuing Education, the teleconference will discuss the challenges of how to classify independent contractors and employees and which employees are exempt. According to its website, Bridgeport is the “the largest California-based commercial provider of continuing legal education.” Bridgeport’s conferences, seminars and webinars focus on emerging legal issues of vital import to attorneys, legal experts, consultants and government enforcement agencies.

As host of the program, Long will present a session on independent contractor and exemption claims and use of the ABC test. Hutner will participate as a panelist in the session, “Settling Simple and Complex Exemption & Misclassification Cases.”

Conference registration information can be found on Bridgeport’s Website.

Read the full GT press release.

Supreme Court Rules Title VII protects LGBT+ Employees from Workplace Discrimination: Practical Implications for Employers

Posted in Discrimination, Federal Law, GT Alert

What do a gay child-welfare advocate from Georgia, a transgender funeral home employee from Michigan, and a gay skydiving instructor from New York have in common? According to the Supreme Court of the United States, they were all discriminated against in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) when their employers terminated their employment because of their sexual orientation and/or transgender status.

In a groundbreaking 6-3 opinion by Justice Gorsuch, the Supreme Court ruled an employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender violates Title VII’s proscription against sex discrimination.

Click here to read the full GT Alert, “Supreme Court Rules Title VII protects LGBT+ Employees from Workplace Discrimination: Practical Implications for Employers.”

Massachusetts Implements New Guidelines for June 8 Start Date for Phase 2 of Economic Reopening

Posted in coronavirus, Labor, Labor & Employment, Massachusetts

On June 6, 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced that Phase 2 of the Four-Phase Reopening Plan (known as the “cautions” phase), will start on June 8, 2020. Phase 2 will be divided into two parts, with certain businesses allowed to reopen on June 8, while others will be permitted to reopen at an unspecified date so long as the trend of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases continues to decline.

Read the full GT Alert, “Massachusetts Implements New Guidelines for June 8 Start Date for Phase 2 of Economic Reopening.”

Workplace Safety Review Podcast: Episode 1 | Interview with NIOSH Director John Howard on COVID-19’s Impact on Workplace Safety

Posted in OSHA

Host Michael Taylor, Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s OSHA Group, interviews John Howard, Director at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for episode one of the Work Place Safety Review, a Greenberg Traurig podcast. Taylor asks Howard questions regarding the realities of workplace safety in the face of COVID-19, including the difficulty of determining whether the virus is actually in the workplace, OSHA/NIOSH/CDC guidance regarding how to protect employees returning to work, personal protective equipment, the feasibility and enforcement of social distancing, as well as other aspects of returning to work that employers may be considering.

Work Place Safety Review, is a Greenberg Traurig Podcast, hosted by Michael Taylor, Chair of the firm’s OSHA Group. Taylor interviews experts from across the industry to discuss different aspects of work place safety and best practices for employers.

Listen to Episode 1: Interview with NIOSH Director John Howard on COVID-19’s Impact on Workplace Safety.

COBRA Election and Enrollment Deadlines Extended During COVID-19 ‘Outbreak Period’

Posted in coronavirus, Department of Labor, ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation, Labor, Labor & Employment

On May 4, 2020, in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of the Treasury, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), Department of Labor, issued rules extending deadlines for participants and beneficiaries of certain group health, disability, and welfare plans to make certain benefit elections, give certain notices, and make enrollment decisions. The rules are intended to prevent plan participants and beneficiaries – who may be facing unemployment, reduced employment, or other conditions affecting coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic – from losing coverage or being forced to find alternative coverage at a critical time.

Read the full GT Alert, “COBRA Election and Enrollment Deadlines Extended During COVID-19 ‘Outbreak Period.'”