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Recent Blog Posts

  • Ohio passes law granting temporary civil immunity to businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits By Arslan Sheikh    It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a cataclysmic impact on small and large businesses across the state of Ohio. Some businesses have been shuttered indefinitely, while other businesses have had to adjust on the fly and upend their operations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Businesses that have been able to reopen have also faced the question of whether they are subject to tort liability if an employee, customer, vendor or other person contracts... More
  • These new rules look a lot like the old ones: DOL stands firm in response to SDNY decision in its revised FFCRA rules By Leigh Anne Williams    Last Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued new temporary rules on the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to address certain previously-implemented rules the Southern District of New York recently struck down. As background, check out our post from Aug. 6, 2020, describing the decision from the Southern District of New York. And by address, the DOL in fact decided to, as they put it, “reaffirm and provide additional explanation” for its... More
  • Immigration settlement allows thousands of foreign workers to get back to work By Rob Cohen and Caroline Gentry    On Aug. 21, 2020, Chief Judge Algenon Marbley of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ordered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to permit thousands of foreign nationals to work in the U.S. before they receive printed Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). These workers had already been approved to work by USCIS, but they had not received the EADs they must provide to their employers. Although these cards are usually... More
  • Federal court muddies waters for employers navigating FFCRA leave issues By John Stephen    On Aug. 3, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated several significant portions of a Department of Labor (DOL) Final Rule which employers had been relying upon to administer employee leave requests pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Although it is too early to know if the decision will be affirmed on appeal, or adopted by courts in other jurisdictions, employers... More
  • NFL is tackling off-duty conduct to reduce COVID-19 spread. Can your business, too? By Rebecca Kopp Levine and Arslan Sheikh    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses across the country, employers are faced with the difficult question of how to keep their workplaces safe. Some employers are attempting to restrict off-duty employee conduct to limit high-risk behavior. The National Football League (NFL) is one employer taking steps to regulate off-duty conduct to reduce risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL has apparently reached an agreement with the players’ association that restricts the players’... More
  • Hiring ex-offenders may reduce Ohio workers’ compensation liability By Rebecca Kopp Levine    In an effort to encourage private employers to hire ex-offenders, legislators in the Ohio House have introduced a bill to create an Ohio Reentry Program. The proposed bill creates a fund to reimburse employers for employing ex-offenders for at least two years. As part of the proposed legislation, the bill amends part of the workers’ compensation laws. Specifically, for workers’ compensation purposes, ex-offenders hired through this program will be considered employees of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation, rather... More
  • Will Ohio Workers’ Compensation laws change to address COVID-19 claims? By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Earlier this year, Ohio legislators introduced multiple bills to expand Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We previously reported the proposed legislation here and here. Lawmakers sought to create a presumption that certain employees, including first responders, corrections officers, food processing plant employees and retail food establishment employees, who contracted COVID-19, did so in the course of and arising out of their employment. The proposed change provided employees with an easier route to establishing... More
  • Wage withholding in a remote working environment By Mike Underwood    Employers generally must withhold income taxes on behalf of employees based on where the employee works. Typically this determination is simplified by the location of the employer’s offices. The COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding stay-at-home orders have altered the working situations for most Americans. Only time will tell what things will look like moving forward. Employers must now consider the impact of employees working remotely and confirm that income tax withholding is properly executed given these unprecedented circumstances. My... More
  • What changes are coming to the well-known Ohio workers’ compensation voluntary abandonment doctrine? By Porter Wright    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