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Recent Blog Posts

  • What changes are coming to the well-known Ohio workers’ compensation voluntary abandonment doctrine? By Rebecca Rayner    Recently, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 81 which contains several changes to workers’ compensation laws. Most significantly, the bill contains a provision that will codify the common law voluntary abandonment doctrine. This provision should ensure that injured workers do not receive certain disability benefits if their loss of income is not related to the allowed conditions in a claim. Significantly, this codification specifically supersedes any court opinions applying the well-known doctrine. Over the years the voluntary abandonment doctrine... More
  • When can an employee in Ohio refuse to return to work and still get unemployment? By Leigh Anne Williams    Conventional understanding of unemployment benefits leads to the logical conclusion that when employees are capable of working and offered suitable employment, they are not entitled to collect unemployment benefits. But like many other things in the post-COVID-19 world, conventional thinking no longer rules the day. Last week, on June 16, 2020, Gov. DeWine issued an Executive Order addressing unemployment benefits eligibility during the COVID-19 epidemic. It provides that when an employee is called back to work in the... More
  • Presidential Proclamation limits nonimmigrant employment visas By Rob Cohen    The President issued the “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak” on June 22, 2020, limiting the admission of certain foreign nationals to the United States. This Proclamation includes an introduction describing the high unemployment rate resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic dislocation as justification for this ban on the admission of certain temporary visas. The President also extended the 60 day limitation of immigrant... More
  • You know what they say about good intentions…Can an employer exclude employees 65+ from the workplace to prevent COVID-19 risk? By Jyllian Bradshaw    On June 11, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released additional guidance covering topics like the well-intended exclusion of workers over the age of 65 who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are deemed to be at greater risk for severe cases of COVID-19. The guidance also covers issues related to  pregnancy, remote harassment and employees living with family members who are high risk due to underlying health conditions. As benevolent as the... More
  • Sexual orientation and transgender status protected under Title VII sex discrimination prohibition By Jourdan Day    In a landmark decision issued today, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 6-3 opinion that the sex discrimination prohibitions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 include discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status. The opinion was authored by Justice Gorsuch, and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Gorsuch stated that an employer who makes an adverse employment decision based on an individual’s LGBTQ+ status necessarily... More
  • The avalanche continues – Illinois workers’ compensation law set for COVID-19 expansion By Bide Akande    On June 5, 2020 Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 2455 into law, thereby amending the Illinois Workers’ Occupation Diseases Act with respect to claims related to COVID-19. Codified as Public Act 101-0633, the amendment creates a rebuttable presumption that an employee’s contraction of COVID-19 arises out of and in the course of that employee’s first responder or front-line worker employment, and that the injury or occupational disease is rebuttably presumed to be causally connected to the... More
  • Industrial Commission of Ohio unanimously votes to add remaining issues to active telephonic hearing docket By Rebecca Rayner    On June 3, 2020, the Ohio Industrial Commission unanimously voted to place all issues referred for adjudication on the active telephonic hearing docket. Since March, the Industrial Commission has conducted all hearings by phone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, the commission heard only claim allowances and certain compensation issues telephonically. Following the recent vote, the hearing docket will expand to include treatment issues. According to Tom Connor, the Director of Adjudications, approximately 76% of the issues not currently... More
  • Premium deferral extended and other Ohio BWC updates By Rebecca Rayner    Previously, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) announced it will defer employer premium installment payments for the months of March, April and May, making those payments due June 1, 2020. Now the BWC has announced it will further defer premium installment payments for the months of June, July and August as well. This means the deferred premium installment payments are now due Sept. 1, 2020. Importantly, the BWC  announced coverage will not lapse nor will penalties be applied... More
  • Update to Ohio lawmakers’ efforts to expand Ohio workers’ compensation laws in response to COVID-19 pandemic By Rebecca Kopp Levine    As we previously reported in this blog post, Ohio lawmakers have proposed multiple bills that would expand Ohio workers’ compensation laws in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the Ohio House passed an amended version of the previously introduced legislation. Ohio House Bill 606 establishes a presumption that, if certain employees, including first responders, corrections officers, food processing plant employees and retail food establishment employees contracted COVID-19, they contracted it in the course of and arising out of their... More
  • Pandemic is time to revisit website and other tech accessibility By Mike Underwood    Have you ever made online purchases as frequently as you have in recent months? Have you ever had so many employees working remotely? The pandemic-related surge in consumer reliance on online purchases, with a workforce serving those customers remotely, makes website accessibility for disabled persons an increasingly high-profile issue. Disabled consumers who experience barriers when attempting to access goods and services online may have Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims. Many courts view websites providing access to goods and... More