On June 7, 2022, the District of Columbia Council approved the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Support Act of 2022 (“Act”), which includes an increase to the number of weeks of paid leave available to eligible employees through the Universal Paid Leave Act (“UPLA”) (also known as “Paid Family Leave,” or “PFL”). Generally, as we previously explained, PFL-eligible employees are those who spend at least 50 percent of their work time – whether full time or part time – in D.C.
Exchange Act Rule 21F-17, adopted in 2011 under the auspices of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, prohibits any person from taking any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the SEC, including by “enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality agreement . . . .” The SEC has prioritized enforcing this rule expansively, by requiring employers to provide SEC-specific carveouts to policies and agreements governing confidentiality. According to an Order issued last week against The Brink’s Company ( “Brink’s” or “Brinks”), the SEC seems to suggest that employers must provide a specific carveout in restrictive covenant agreements permitting employees and former employees to report information to the SEC in addition to the statutory disclosure provided for in the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we look at the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and the impact that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will have on employers.
On June 15, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that COVID-19 does not qualify as a “natural disaster” under the federal Workers’ Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act, effectively foreclosing one important argument used by employers in defense of COVID-19-related WARN lawsuits. As this is the only appellate court to affirmatively interpret WARN’s “natural disaster” exception, barring a split by other circuits, this case sets an important precedent in ongoing COVID-19-related WARN litigation, as well as WARN suits related to future pandemics.
The United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”), in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, has held that there is no constitutional right to abortion, overruling Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we look at two significant court decisions for employers and bring you a practical update on new bereavement leave rules in Illinois.
Employment issues to consider while awaiting decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization
The United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) will imminently release its decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and if the final ruling is consistent with the recently-leaked draft opinion (overturning Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey), employers may soon need to contend with a variety of novel employment and benefits related issues. Some employers have already begun to consider and plan for a post-Roe workplace. Those who have not would be wise to do so now, to best ensure a well-coordinated and thoughtful approach.
For example, some employers have publicly announced plans to provide expanded healthcare benefits, travel, lodging and other benefits to employees who may seek abortion-related services in states where those medical services will be prohibited or limited. These benefits raise complex legal issues applicable to employers’ group health plans and fringe benefit plans, including conflicts between federal and state law, federal ERISA preemption and potential employer civil and/or criminal liability for providing these benefits.
Recent New York legislation will afford a class of sexual abuse victims the opportunity to sue their abusers, where they previously would have been time-barred. On May 24, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law the Adult Survivors Act (“ASA”) (S.66A/A.648A), which creates a one-year lookback window for alleged survivors of sexual assault that occurred when they were over the age of 18 to sue their alleged abusers regardless of when the abuse occurred. The one-year window will begin six months from signing – on November 24, 2022 and will close on November 23, 2023. In 2019, New York extended the statute of limitations to 20 years for adults filing civil lawsuits for certain enumerated sex offenses. However, that legislation only affected new cases and was not retroactive. In contrast, the ASA permits individuals who were over the age of 18 when any alleged abuse occurred to sue for civil damages regardless of the statute of limitations.
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we take a look at the federal government’s recently announced focus on mental health.
On May 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published new Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Guidance. The newly issued Fact Sheet #280 explains when eligible employees may take FMLA leave to address mental health conditions, and new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) offer explanations on how to address various scenarios that employers and employees could face in which use of job-protected leave available under the FMLA would be appropriate.
Reviewing FMLA Basics
Although the FMLA covers public and private employers nationwide, only those private employers who have 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in a year are required to provide their eligible employees with FMLA leave. FMLA leave is unpaid but job-protected, meaning that employees returning from FMLA leave must be restored to their original job or equivalent position. Employees are eligible once they have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months and logged at least 1,250 hours of work during the period immediately preceding leave, which may be taken for an employee’s own serious health condition or to care for a spouse, child, or parent because of their serious health condition.