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  • Colorado enacts paid sick leave rules By Arslan Sheikh    On March 10, 2020, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared a State of Disaster Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor directed that immediate rulemaking be initiated to provide employees in certain industries paid sick leave for possible COVID-19 testing. The next day, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment published the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay Rules. These emergency rules became effective on March 11, 2020, and remain in effect for the longer of (a)... More
  • Nurse brings COVID-19 whistleblower suit against Northwestern Hospital By Sam Gamer    In what may be the first COVID-19 whistleblower action to be filed in the country, Lauri Mazurkiewicz sued her former employer, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, on March 23, 2020.  Ms. Mazurkiewicz, a nurse, filed her lawsuit in Illinois state court. She alleges that the hospital fired her after she raised concern over the masks being provided to its health care workers. Ms. Mazurkiewicz claims that the actions of the hospital and its management violated Illinois’s Whistleblower Act and also... More
  • Department of Labor releases Q&A regarding Families First Coronavirus Response Act and mandatory posters By Adam Bennett    On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a Q&A page to resolve some of the most pressing questions regarding emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and paid sick leave offered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and its application to employers. Additionally, the DOL released the required poster regarding the Act which an employer must maintain in its workplace. While the public awaits the DOL’s final regulations interpreting the FFCRA, the... More
  • New York becomes first state to enact paid sick leave law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic By Arslan Sheikh    As we recently reported, President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to provide paid Family Medical Leave (FMLA) and paid sick leave to families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the law provides a number of protections to American workers, it also has a few gaps. One gap in the FFCRA, for example, is that it does not apply to employers of 500 or more employees. On March 18, 2020, New York became the first... More
  • Ohio “Stay at Home” order limits business operations to slow spread of COVID-19 By Adam Bennett    On March 22, 2020, Dr. Amy Acton, health director for the Ohio Department of Health, signed the “Director’s Stay at Home Order,” calling on all Ohioans to stay at home or at their place of residence unless conducting or participating in essential activities, essential governmental functions, or essential businesses and operations. The Director’s Order, which will be enforced by local departments of health and local law enforcement, goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 23, 2020 and remains... More
  • Ohio BWC guidance for employers during COVID-19 outbreak By Rebecca Kopp Levine    On March 19, 2020, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) issued some guidance to employers and employees to explain how the BWC is continuing to operate during this crisis. The BWC is continuing to process claims. For employers, the present changes may result in increased claim costs attributed to their risk. The BWC is permitting benefits to continue while suspending some of the employees’ requirements to maintain those benefits. For example, employees are not required to continue... More
  • Navigating employment issues, help for small businesses and a delay in the tax deadline By Mike Underwood    There have been a number of helpful blogs over the past few days from our colleagues at Porter Wright aimed at helping businesses navigate the COVID-19 outbreak. Navigating Employment Issues in the Wake of COVID-19 webinar We have all felt the tremendous impacts to our workplaces and daily lives following the COVID-19 outbreak We’ve also watched the daily press conferences announcing new legislation and executive orders, but what happens next? As your workplace adapts to growing restrictions, Porter Wright invites you... More
  • President Trump signs HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, providing relief to some American workers By Adam Bennett    The U.S. Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), and shortly after, President Donald Trump signed it into law. The Act will take effect no later than 15 days after its enactment. It will remain in effect until it expires under a sunset provision on December 31, 2020. This final version of the bill has some key differences from the one passed earlier in the U.S. House. But like the House bill, the final legislation does... More
  • COVID-19 and OSHA: Commonly asked questions By Mike Underwood    Below are answers to three common questions about COVID-19 and employer obligations under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA): Is there any OSHA standard or regulation that covers workplace exposure to COVID-19? No. OSHA standard applies specifically to workplace exposure to COVID-19. However, the OSHA General Duty Clause requires all employers to provide a workplace free from known hazards. That includes known exposure to infectious diseases. So, OSHA does expect employers to take reasonable measures to protect workers... More
  • Workers’ compensation implications of COVID-19 in the workplace By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Presently there are many uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. It is certainly possible employees will allege they contracted coronavirus while at work. Given that the United States has not experienced a pandemic in a significant period of time, this is a gray area for employers. Most states do not have specific legislation addressing this situation. In general, any illness, injury or occupational disease could be a compensable claim if it arises out of the course and scope of... More