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Recent Blog Posts

  • 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
  • Time to review COBRA compliance By Mike Underwood    COBRA compliance is an area that, for many employers, is on auto-pilot. Many employers rely on outside consultants to administer COBRA and need not put much focus on COBRA time limits for electing and paying for coverage. One of the many ripples from the COVID-19 pandemic is a need to check on your method for COBRA compliance. The economic crunch from the pandemic has resulted in layoffs, furloughs, and terminations, many of which were COBRA-triggering events. The Internal Revenue... More
  • New OSHA Guidance: Employers must decide if an employee’s COVID-19 is work-related By Mike Underwood    If an employee tests positive for or is diagnosed with COVID-19, must that be recorded as a work-related illness on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA )records? OSHA says COVID-19 is a work-related illness if the virus is contracted at work. That can be very difficult to determine. Employers should not presume a COVID-19 event is work-related unless there are clear facts to support that conclusion. In recent guidance taking effect May 26, 2020, OSHA clarified its expectations for... More
  • COVID-19 detection testing: You shall not pass (unless you pass the test) By Jyllian Bradshaw    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released guidance allowing employers to test employees for COVID-19 under certain circumstances. Specifically, the guidance posed, and answered, the following question: May an employer administer a COVID-19 test (a test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus) before permitting employees to enter the workplace? 4/23/20 The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity.”  Applying this standard to the... More
  • EEOC updates guidance on addressing health risks of COVID-19 vulnerable employees who do not ask for accommodation By Adam Bennett    Businesses are beginning to reopen across the country, and as employees come back to work, employers are considering to what extent they can protect vulnerable employees who continue showing up for work in spite of the risk posed by COVID-19. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released guidance to address this question. For background, as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) learns more about the COVID-19 virus, it identifies certain conditions that might make a person more... More
  • Individual eligibility for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits By Avi Allen    The CARES Act enacted a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for those who have been laid off or furloughed. PUA funds are administered through the state agencies that manage the state unemployment insurance programs, and are funds that eligible individuals receive on top of their state unemployment insurance benefits. Because state reopenings are ongoing and ever-changing, and because PUA eligibility is determined on a weekly basis, understanding which employees can take advantage of these benefits is key. On... More
  • COVID-19 return to work considerations: Navigating the reopening process By Mike Underwood, Diane Reichwein and Brian Hall    Many states are releasing their plans to reopen businesses and lift stay-at-home orders. There are many important considerations for employers to take into account while planning their return to work. Porter Wright’s Labor & Employment Department developed a checklist of issues to consider for a safe and productive return to work. You can find that checklist here. Our team will also present two webinars tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6: How to Recall Your Workforce & Create... More
  • Think twice before hitting “record” By Mike Underwood    It is simple enough: press record and you can easily share your internal video conference call, re-watch it later, or forget it and move on. You move on until you receive a discovery request or a subpoena for information if the company is sued. Now, your internal video call is discoverable and may be seen by those outside your intended viewership. My colleagues Abby Chin and Molly Crabtree delve into this issue on the Technology Law Source blog.... More
  • Completing the Form I-9 when COVID-19 prevents renewal of your employee’s identity document By Laura Jurcevich    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a COVID-19 temporary policy for List B identity documents when completing a Form I-9 for a new hire. As a reminder, the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification requires the employer to verify the identity and employment authorization of employees not later than three days after the first day of employment. List A includes documents that establish both identity and employment authorization. List B includes documents that establish identity. List C includes... More
  • COVID-19 return to work considerations: Emphasis on safety By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Employers face many considerations when restarting operations and reopening businesses after the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. In planning for the return to full operations, employers will need to take steps to avoid new workers’ compensation issues. First and foremost, employers will need to conduct additional safety training. It may be appropriate for an employer to conduct virtual safety training prior to returning employees to the workplace. Given that social distancing practices may have altered workspaces, employees may require additional... More