Posts tagged Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper.
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In this special year-end episode of Employment Law This Week, recorded live from our 42nd Annual Workforce Management Briefing in New York City, Epstein Becker Green attorneys discuss the biggest employment law trends and crucial workforce changes in 2023, covering everything from non-competes and National Labor Relations Board actions to union dynamics, cybersecurity, and the impacts of artificial intelligence.

Video: YouTubeVimeo.

Podcast: Amazon Music / Audible, Apple Podcasts, Audacy, Deezer, Goodpods, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Pandora, Player FM, Spotify.

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Employment Law This Week® gives a rundown of the top developments in employment and ...

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As we reported in the first installment of our series on pay transparency, pay equity legislation continues to trend nationwide. While Part I focused on salary range disclosure legislation, in Part II, we highlight mandatory pay data reporting requirements that are being considered in Massachusetts.

What is Mandatory Pay Data Reporting?

Pay data reporting laws require covered employers to submit detailed compensation data reports, often broken down by race and gender, to state-designated agencies. To date, California and Illinois have adopted such laws. Under California law ...

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[UPDATE: The New York State Department of Labor has now published an updated Form IA 12.3 (Record of Employment), which employers should use to comply with their notice obligations under S 4878A beginning November 13, 2023.]

For New York employers, fall has brought with it more than just cooler temperatures, thanks to a wave of activity from Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk (after a busy legislative summer). Below, we highlight six significant employment bills that the Governor recently signed into law, as well as key pieces of legislation that continue to await her review.

Employee ...

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The start of autumn means cooler weather, falling leaves, and, for employers with New York employees, updates to the New York Paid Family Leave (“Paid Family Leave”) program.

The Paid Family Leave program provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, partially-paid time off within a 52-week period to care for a family member with a serious health condition, bond with a newborn, or assist when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service. Since Paid Family Leave took effect in 2018, New York employers have seen several changes to the program ...

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently proposed regulations (the “Proposed Rule”) to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for additional conditions relating to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Issued on August 11, 2023, the Proposed Rule is currently open for public comment, and has, as of this writing, already received more  than 40,440 public submissions responding to the EEOC’s proposal. Many remarks address the fact that the EEOC included ...

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As employers throughout New York State are now determining how to comply with the newest State-wide pay transparency law, which took effect on September 17, 2023, the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) released proposed regulations to facilitate the legislative goal of increasing pay transparency. As discussed in depth here and here, the law requires employers to disclose the pay range and job description (if existing) in job postings. Should these proposed regulations pass the 60-day comment period unchanged, there are several highlights worth ...

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The time has come – New York employers are reminded that a statewide salary transparency law goes into effect on September 17, 2023. While many employers in New York City, Westchester County, the City of Ithaca and Albany County already contend with ordinances requiring disclosure of compensation information in job advertisements, Labor Law § 194-b (the “Law”) covers virtually all employers across the state. We previously reported on the approval of the Law here, and discussed details here and here.

What This Means

Employers throughout New York State ...

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It is time, again, to update your workplace posters. Coinciding with the effective date of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released a revised “Know Your Rights” poster on June 27, 2023. The new poster replaces the one that was issued in late 2022, to add information regarding the PWFA.

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The first of the year brought with it new pay transparency obligations for employers in several states, including Rhode Island, California, and Washington.  Halfway through the year, this type of legislation remains a focus for legislators from coast to coast, including in jurisdictions like Colorado, where similar laws are already on the books. While these proposed laws are all generally rooted in pay equity principles, their substantive differences and sheer volume raise serious questions for employers looking to recruit, hire, and retain talented employees across the country.

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It’s time for covered employers to update their Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) posters.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued an updated FLSA Minimum Wage Poster to reflect covered employers’ new lactation accommodation obligations under the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers (PUMP) Act.

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As featured in #WorkforceWednesday This week, we unpack the major updates the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) incorporated into its model sexual harassment prevention policy:

The NYSDOL recently released major updates to its model sexual harassment prevention policy. The updates cover issues such as gender identity and remote work. What do employers need to know?

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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently published new resources regarding the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act). As we previously explained in detail, the PUMP Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to mandate that, unless an employer is specifically exempted under the law, the employer must provide reasonable break time to allow an employee to express breast milk, and must permit the employee to do so in a reasonably private location other than a bathroom.

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Amendments to the pending New York State law requiring employers to advertise salary ranges were signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on March 3, 2023.  The salary transparency law with the amendments (which we previously summarized here) will become effective on September 17, 2023.

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On February 13, 2023, the New York State Legislature approved an amendment, S1326 (the “Amendment”), to the upcoming New York State Pay Transparency Law S9427A (the “Law”), clarifying that the Law’s requirement that employers to disclose a minimum and maximum salary range in advertisements and postings for job opportunities applies, with limited exception, to remote positions. In addition, the Amendment would also eliminate one of the Law’s recordkeeping obligations and define the term “advertisement.” If signed by the Governor, as is expected, the Amendment will be part of the Law when it takes effect this Fall.

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In December 2022, New Hampshire opened enrollment to private employers in the Nation’s first voluntary paid family and medical leave insurance program, aptly named the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan (Granite State Plan or NH PFML). The Granite State Plan, which was initially introduced in 2019 as part of a failed joint proposal with Vermont – the Twin State Voluntary Leave Plan – was enacted in 2021. Vermont has since adopted a similar voluntary program.

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On January 1, 2023, Washington joined the growing list of states requiring pay transparency in job postings. Amendments (the “Amendments”) to the Washington State Equal Pay and Opportunities Act (the “EPOA”) require covered employers to disclose pay range, benefits, and other compensation in job postings. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries issued an administrative policy (the “Guidance”) to provide guidance regarding the broadened disclosure requirements.

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While most people were wrapped up in the inevitable hustle and bustle of the holidays, Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced the Nation’s second voluntary paid family and medical leave program, the Vermont Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Plan (VT FMLI). Initially part of a failed joint proposal with New Hampshire – the Twin State Voluntary Leave Plan – the VT FMLI largely mirrors New Hampshire’s Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan by establishing a State insurance program in which private employers and individuals may voluntarily participate.

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The post-#MeToo reforms to New York State’s Human Rights Law, which expanded the anti-sexual harassment provisions, included a requirement that the state’s model policy, last issued in 2018, be reviewed and revised every four years. On January 12, 2023, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) published a Proposed Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policy (“Proposed Model Policy”). The public has until February 11, 2023, to view and comment on the proposed revisions prior to a final version being adopted.

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As the year 2022 was ending and 2023 got underway, New York Governor Hochul kept busy reviewing bills that were passed throughout the year but delivered to her for signature only after the November elections. Both houses of the New York State Legislature approved a total of 1,007 bills during the regular 2022 Legislative Session, a “modern-day record,” according to this December 20, 2022 interim report from the New York State Association of Counties. The Governor approved much of this legislation, but rejected a few measure.

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On December 28, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Senate Bill 9450, which added new enforcement provisions to the New York Health And Essential Rights Act’s (NY HERO Act) workplace safety committee requirements. The new law went into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.

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Now that the New Year is underway, employers should ensure that required messaging about employee/workers’ rights is up to date and conforms with federal, state, and local law.

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[UPDATE: On December 7, 2022, President Biden signed the Speak Out Act (the “Act”) into law. This bipartisan legislation, passed by the U.S. Senate on September 29, 2022 and by the House of Representatives on November 16, 2022, limits the enforceability of predispute nondisclosure and nondisparagement clauses relating to sexual assault and sexual harassment claims.]

On November 16, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Speak Out Act (the “Act”), which President Biden is expected to sign into law. The bipartisan legislation, passed by the Senate on September 29, 2022, limits the enforceability of pre-dispute nondisclosure and nondisparagement clauses relating to sexual assault and sexual harassment claims.

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On November 6, 2022, clocks will fall back an hour and in Westchester County, New York a new law requiring disclosure of salary ranges in job advertisements will take effect.

As we previously reported, Westchester, located just north of New York City and home to numerous corporate campuses, recently enacted an amendment to its local human rights law to require employers to state a minimum and maximum salary in any “posting” for jobs, promotions, and transfer opportunities. This comes on the heels of a similar law in New York City that took effect on November 1, 2022.

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It is time to update your workplace signage. On October 19, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new workers’ rights poster, which it quickly revised and re-issued on October 20, 2022. The new “Know Your Rights” poster replaces the EEOC’s “Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” poster, which had been in place for more than a decade, and it features several substantive changes.

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For more than two and a half years, employers across the country have navigated a nuanced web of legal requirements and guidance to safely operate during the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Recent updates to the legal landscape at the federal, state, and local level, however, have left many employers asking: is the COVID-19 pandemic finally over? For now, the answer remains “no.” This post discusses three key reasons why employers should continue to operate with the pandemic in mind.

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On September 20, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers is ending.  The City’s mandate for municipal employees, however, will remain in effect.

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With the final quarter of 2022 approaching, New York employers should be aware of the changes to the New York Paid Family Leave (“Paid Family Leave”) program set to take effect in 2023. Employers can expect an increase on the weekly benefits cap, as well as a decrease in the employee contribution rate.

Beginning in 2018 and increasing in benefits over the past few years, the Paid Family Leave program provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, partially-paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to provide assistance when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service. As we previously reported, New York expanded the program’s definition of “family member” to include “siblings,” which will take effect on January 1, 2023. “Sibling” includes biological or adopted siblings, half-siblings, and step-siblings.

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After two and a half years of promoting protocols aimed at reducing transmission of coronavirus, on August 11, 2022, the CDC eliminated its recommendation that people quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 and updated other recommendations. In recognition of how vaccination, boosters, and improved treatments have the reduced risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death, the CDC has “streamlined”  its guidance regarding what actions people should take to protect themselves and others if they are exposed to COVID-19, become sick, or test positive for the virus.  The CDC now recommends that instead of needing to quarantine, someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 only needs to wear a high-quality mask for 10 days.  During the 10-day masking period, individuals (regardless of vaccination status) should monitor their symptoms and get tested after five days, regardless of symptoms.

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Back in March 2021, when it wasn’t easy for many people to get an appointment for an inoculation against COVID-19, New York State created an incentive for employees to get vaccinated.  A new provision was added to the Labor Law, requiring employers to provide paid leave time to employees to obtain each dose. As we previously noted, this statute was intended to sunset on December 31, 2022. However, as this year’s busy legislative session wound down, a bill extending the provision was delivered to Governor Kathy Hochul, who signed off on a 12-month extension of the law’s effective date, through December 31, 2023. Thus, New York employers will be required to provide their employees up to four hours of paid time off for each COVID-19 shot through (at least) the end of next year.

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On July 12, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) yet again updated its COVID-19 FAQs, revising earlier guidance about worksite screening through viral testing for COVID-19, modifying some Q&As, and making various generally non-substantive editorial changes throughout. According to the EEOC, it revised the guidance in light of the evolving circumstances of the pandemic. Here’s a run-down of the substantive changes in this latest iteration of “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.”

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On April 28, 2022, the New York City Council (the “Council”) approved an amendment to a recently enacted pay transparency law, 2022 Local Law 32 (the “Law”) by an overwhelming majority. The Law will require employers to disclose salary ranges in advertisements for jobs that are performed, at least in part, in New York City, and was set to become effective on May 15, 2022. After significant pushback from the business community, the Council introduced a new bill, Int. No. 134-A (the “Amendment”), to offer additional clarity and time for employers to comply. The Amendment is expected to be signed into law by Mayor Eric Adams. Of greatest immediate significance, once signed, the Amendment delays the effective date of the Law from May 15 to November 1, 2022.

The Amendment clarifies that advertisements for any job, promotion or transfer opportunity will have to include a statement of either a minimum and maximum annual salary or the minimum and maximum hourly wage. The Law will apply to advertisements seeking both exempt employees who earn a salary, and non-exempt employees, who may be paid on a salary or hourly basis.

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On March 28, 2022, the New York City Commission on Human Rights released official guidance (Guidance) regarding the upcoming pay transparency law, Int. 1208-B (Law), which requires all advertisements for jobs, promotions, and transfer opportunities for positions performed in the City to include a minimum and maximum salary range.  As we previously reported, the City Council passed the Law on December 15, 2021, and it currently is expected to take effect on May 15, 2022.

In addition, amendments to the Law have recently been introduced in the New York City Council (T2022-5021 (Bill)) which, if passed, will modify the Law in important ways, including delaying its effective date and further clarifying its requirements.

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Employers in New York State should be aware of recent new laws as well as some pending bills, all of which seek to bolster harassment and discrimination protections for employees.  As detailed below, New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed several bills into law that expand harassment and discrimination protections, while the New York Senate recently passed more bills that would further bolster safeguards for employees and independent contractors in the state.

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The New York HERO Act website was quietly updated on the afternoon of March 18, 2022 to confirm that the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health has ended. This means the “activation” of HERO Act safety plans is over.

On March 17, 2022, the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under the HERO Act ended. Private sector employers are no longer required to implement their workforce safety plans.

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New York employers seeking further relaxation of COVID-19 mitigation protocols after the recent lifting of a statewide mask mandate will have to wait. The designation of the virus as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health” that had been extended through February 15, 2022 was extended yet again. An order by the New York State Commissioner of Health continues the designation, made pursuant to the New York HERO Act, through March 17, 2022. This means that New York employers must continue to implement their safety plans ...

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On February 9, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she would let the New York mask mandate lapse on its Thursday, February 10, 2022 expiration date. The Governor’s lifting of the statewide rule, which required businesses to either require proof of vaccination or universal masking indoors, does not yet include an end to mandatory masking in schools, despite a slew of action to that effect in neighboring states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. California is also allowing statewide masking requirements for businesses and many other indoor public spaces to expire on February 15, 2022.

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As we have previously explained, pursuant to Section 1 of the NY HERO Act, employers were required to prepare an airborne infectious disease exposure plan, and implement such plans when the New York State Commissioner of Health has made a designation that a highly contagious communicable disease presents a serious risk of harm to public health. Currently, such a designation is in effect until February 15, 2022. The New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) prepared model plans based on their published Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard (“Standard”). On August 25, 2021, the NYSDOL published a set of emergency regulations, identical to the Standard, in the New York State Register. Although they had not been formally adopted, most businesses have been following the Standard.

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The  New York State Acting Commissioner of Health has extended the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health under the NY HERO Act until February 15, 2022. Accordingly, the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans required under Section 1 of the Act must be kept in place through that date, at which point the Commissioner will review whether the designation should be continued.

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NYC employers will soon be required to include a minimum and maximum salary on all job postings for positions performed within the City. As we previously reported, the City Council passed Int. 1208-B (Law) on December 15, 2021, and due to new NYC mayor Eric Adam’s inaction within the 30-day veto period, it became a law as of January 15, 2022. Beginning May 15, 2022, the Law requires employers with four or more employees to include a “good faith” minimum and maximum salary range on for all advertised NYC job, promotion and transfer opportunities. Additionally, the Law makes the failure to include salary range an unlawful discriminatory practice under the City’s Human Rights Law.

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As explained in greater detail by our colleague Stuart M. Gerson, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two major, and quickly decided, rulings on January 13, 2022. After hearing oral arguments only six days earlier, the Court issued two unsigned decisions per curiam. A 5-4 decision in Biden v. Missouri dissolved a preliminary injunction against enforcement of an interim final rule (“Rule”) promulgated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), requiring recipients of federal Medicare and Medicaid funding to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

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As we previously reported, in December New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued a mandate requiring that masks be worn in all indoor public places, unless the business or venue requires proof of vaccination for entry.  As part of the state’s “Winter Surge Plan 2.0”, the mandate, which was initially set to expire on January 15, has now been extended for an additional two weeks, through February 1, 2022.

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New York recently updated two significant aspects of its Paid Family Leave program: (1) expanding the definition of “family member” to include siblings and (2) increasing the cap on weekly benefits available.

Since its inception in 2018, Paid Family Leave has offered eligible employees the ability to take  job protected, partially-paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious illness, or provide assistance when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty. In 2020, after years of gradual increases in the maximum amount of leave and benefits, eligible employees may use up to 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave per rolling 52-week period.

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On December 22, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (NY DOL) issued the long-awaited proposed rule (Proposed Rule) regarding the workplace safety committees that are required by the New York HERO Act (HERO Act). While there is no current effective date for the Proposed Rule (which is first subject to a public comment period and a February 9, 2022 hearing), employers should become familiar with, and consider taking actions to timely comply with the Proposed Rule should it be adopted as currently drafted.

The HERO Act

In May of 2021, New York responded to workplace safety and health issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic by enacting the HERO Act.  Since that time, the State has amended the HERO Act to allow the NY DOL additional time to create model safety standards for infectious disease exposure plans (“safety plans”) mandated by the HERO Act and to allow employers additional time for compliance.

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Earlier this year, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board adopted amendments to the regulations for the New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law clarifying that when Paid Family Leave (PFL) is taken intermittently, the maximum number of intermittent leave days an employee may take is based on the average number of days the employee works per week.

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On December 22, 2021, the New York Department of Labor (“DOL”) adopted rules (“Rules”) implementing the state’s sick leave law (NY Labor Law §196-b, or the “Sick Leave Law”), providing long-awaited clarification of the Sick Leave Law, which went into effect over a year ago on September 30, 2020. The Rules, codified as Section 196 to Title 12 of the NYCRR, were proposed on December 9, 2020, and adopted without change. In addition to providing definitions of terms used in the Sick Leave Law, the Rules address three topics: (i) documentation an employer may require to verify an employee’s eligibility to use sick leave; (ii) how to count the number of employees an employer has for the purposes of determining employees’ sick leave entitlement; and (iii) how to calculate an employee’s accrual of sick leave. In addition, the DOL’s response to public comments it received after the Rule was proposed, explain how carryover of accrued unused sick leave works.

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New York City’s private employer vaccine mandate became effective Monday. December 27, 2021 and, the City has updated its FAQs document and the Accommodations Guidance document (“Guidance”).

Guidance Updates: The Guidance was amended to reflect that the New York City Human Rights Law provides for accommodations for pregnancy and for victims of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking in addition to medical and religious reasons. The Guidance also clarifies that the examples for medical exemptions for vaccination were those that had been found worthy by the CDC and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Further, the Guidance modifies some language on the religious accommodation checklist around the types of information needed to support religious accommodation requests. As we previously shared, the checklist the City recommends that employers maintain and complete in connection with each religious accommodation request does not alleviate an employer’s need to analyze such requests on a case-by-case basis.

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The Commissioner of the New York Department of Health has extended the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health under the NY HERO Act until January 15, 2022, at which point the designation will be reviewed. Accordingly, the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans required under Section 1 of the Act must be kept in place through that date.

Although the New York State Department of Labor has published guidance stating that it would provide additional guidance by November 1, 2021 on Section 2 of ...

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Important guidance regarding COVID-19 testing in the workplace was recently issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) in the form of Frequently Asked Questions regarding Over the Counter (“OTC”) Home Testing and CLIA Applicability.

CMS regulates clinical laboratory testing pursuant to the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (“CLIA”). Generally, a laboratory or clinical setting (such as a physician’s office) must obtain CLIA certification to perform laboratory testing. Some OTC tests, however, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for home use and the new FAQs address the use of OTC home tests in the workplace.

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UPDATE: New York State issued FAQs confirming that the mask mandate applies to private businesses and their employees. Employers in office spaces must either require proof of vaccination or impose a mask mandate. Masks must be worn except “when eating, drinking, or alone in an enclosed room.”

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On November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act (BBBA or the Act), [1] which, if enacted, would be the first federal enhancement of family and medical leave for private sector workers since the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993. While the BBBA does not go as far as initially proposed (12 weeks of paid leave), it would expand upon the FMLA’s current unpaid protections by providing up to four weeks of paid caregiving leave. Further, the BBBA would allow paid leave benefits for a broader group of eligible workers and for additional qualifying family members beyond those covered by the FMLA. If enacted, the paid family leave program would become effective January 2024.

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On Friday, November 12, 2021, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a strongly worded decision granting a motion to prevent the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from implementing or enforcing the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that went into effect on November 5, 2021. Among other things, the ETS mandates that employers with 100 or more employees require that their workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to precautions like regular testing and using face coverings. However, the Fifth Circuit ordered OSHA to take no action to implement or enforce the ETS until further court order.

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As we previously reported, effective November 5, 2021, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that covered employees are fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test at least weekly.

On November 6, 2021, just one day after the OSHA ETS became effective, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily stayed the regulation in a case captioned BST Holdings, LLC v. OSHA. Inasmuch as the OSHA rule’s first milestones are December 5, when most ...

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On Monday, October 25, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued updates to its online technical assistance for employers, providing guidance for managing workplace issues arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in compliance with the panoply of federal anti-discrimination laws that it enforces.

The updated guidance now includes a new section “L” entitled Vaccinations – Title VII and Religious Objections to COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates. The new material includes links to federal regulations regarding religious discrimination as ...

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As we previously reported, as of September 6, 2021, all New York HERO Act (“HERO Act”) airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans (“Safety Plans”) must be implemented due to COVID-19 being designated as a serious public health risk under the HERO Act. This designation was recently extended until at least October 31, 2021, per the New York Commissioner of Health’s announcement.

To help employers comply with the HERO Act’s requirements, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) has published a variety of guidance materials, such as model Safety ...

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On September 23, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) released an update to its general model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan (“model plan”) for employers’ use in complying with the NY HERO Act. Specifically, the model plan’s language regarding face coverings and physical distancing was modified by:

  • distinguishing between workplaces where all individuals on the premises, including, but not limited to, employees, are fully vaccinated and those workplaces where not all individuals are vaccinated in terms of whether face ...
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On May 14, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA” or “HR 1065”) for a second time.  With a vote of 315-101, including support from all House Democrats and 99 Republicans, the PWFA now awaits Senate consideration.

As previously reported, the House had originally passed the PWFA on September 14, 2020 (“HR 2694”).  While members of congress have introduced versions of the PWFA each term since 2012, last year was the first approval.  After HR 2694 passed the House last September, by a vote of 329-73, the Senate did not ...

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Beginning June 26, 2021, Pennsylvania’s Living Donor Protection Act (the “LDPA”) will provide time off to organ and tissue donors to cover time off for donation surgery, including necessary preparation and recovery.

Pennsylvania employees will be eligible for leave under the LDPA if they meet the following FMLA eligibility criteria: the employee must (1) work for a covered employer, (2) work 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave, (3) work at a location where 50 or more employees work or within 75 miles of it, and (4) have worked for the employer for 12 months ...

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In the wake of last week’s updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) easing social distancing and mask requirements for fully vaccinated people, on May 19, 2021, New York State issued its own guidance that, effective immediately, mostly adopts those new recommendations. As of May 19, most New York employers may allow individuals who have been fully vaccinated to stop wearing a mask and social distancing in their workplace.

Importantly, every business also has the discretion to continue requiring consistent rules regarding social distancing and ...

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During a May 10, 2021 press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his intention to propose legislation aimed at stopping discrimination against those who choose to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Unlike many states that are introducing legislation to prevent discrimination against those who are unvaccinated, this bill would protect those who are vaccinated.  The Governor referenced a report that certain summer camps are not allowing campers to attend or staff members to work at the camp if they have received the vaccine. Audio of his remarks is available here.

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On May 3, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a significant easing of COVID-19-related capacity restrictions on businesses in their respective states. Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut, who joined the other two governors in the announcement, had previously ordered a comparable lifting of capacity restrictions in his state.

Specifically, effective May 19, New Jersey and New York will remove most capacity limitations on businesses, which are currently based on a percentage of maximum capacity, and replace them with limitations ...

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As we recently reported, as of March 12, 2021, all private employers in New York must provide their employees with up to four hours of paid leave to get each COVID-19 vaccination shot. The State has now released guidance on the new law (“Law”) in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”). Most importantly, the FAQs clarify that the Law does not create any retroactive benefit rights to paid vaccination leave. Accordingly, while an employer is free to apply the law retroactively if it wishes, the Law mandates that “only employees receiving vaccinations on or after March ...

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The Westchester County Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) has announced that the county’s Earned Sick Leave Law, which went into effect on April 10, 2019, has been preempted by New York’s Paid Sick Leave Law (“Law” or “PSLL”), which took effect on September 30, 2020. Westchester County’s law had required that eligible employees accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.

As we previously covered, the PSLL applies to all private employers and employees in New York State, and requires employers to provide up to 40 ...

Blogs
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The New York City Council is planning to evaluate how effectively both the City, as an employer, and private employers disseminated and implemented COVID-19 workplace guidance over the past year with the goal of strengthening how the public and private sectors manage future public health emergencies. On February 28, 2021, the Council enacted Int. 2161-2020 (the “Law”), which establishes a board to review the workplace health and safety guidance that agencies and private employers issued to their respective employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The newly formed board will ...

Blogs
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After repeated introductions over the course of several years in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, on September 14, 2020, the House passed HR 2694, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”). The stated purpose of the legislation is to “eliminate discrimination and promote women’s health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the Act would ...

Blogs
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As we approach the last quarter of 2020 and the business community begins to plan ahead for 2021, New York employers should be aware of the changes coming to the New York Paid Family Leave (“NYPFL”) program. On January 1, 2021, the amount of employee contributions, the number of weeks of leave and benefits, and the amount of weekly benefits granted under the program are scheduled to increase. This will be the last of three annual increases in weekly benefits.

The NYPFL program, which took effect in 2018, provides partially-paid, job-protected leave for bonding with a new baby, caring ...

Blogs
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As we previously reported, in 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (“Commission”) provided legal enforcement guidance (“Enforcement Guidance”) advising that workplace grooming and appearance policies “that ban, limit, or otherwise restrict natural hair or hairstyles” are a form of race discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”). Now, the Commission is proposing to amend its rules (“Proposed Rule”) to formalize the Enforcement Guidance. The Proposed Rule states that discrimination based on hair “can function as a ...

Blogs
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Featured in #WorkforceWednesday: Employers are encouraging employees to use their vacation time this summer to avoid a crush of end-of-year vacations. But what happens when an employee vacations in a COVID-19 “hotspot”?  Attorney Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper explains.

Video: YouTubeVimeoMP4Instagram.

Blogs
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On July 13, 2020, the New York City Health Department released a COVID-19 Face Coverings Frequently Asked Questions document (“FAQs”), encouraging anyone in New York City to wear a face covering in any indoor setting that is not their home, even if proper social distancing, i.e., 6 feet of separation, can be maintained.  The recommendation comes as the City continues to reopen and more people are returning to the workplace.

The FAQs reiterate New York State’s requirement (per various Executive Orders) that face coverings be worn at all times when unable to maintain proper social ...

Blogs
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On June 17, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC” or “the Commission”) again updated its COVID-19-related technical assistance for employers (“Guidance”).  The Commission’s recent updates have focused on return-to-work issues (e.g., see June 11, 2020 Guidance update). This latest update advises employers that, at least for now, requiring employees to undergo antibody testing before re-entering the workplace violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).

In reaching its conclusion, the EEOC relied on recent Interim ...

Blogs
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As we have previously reported, since June 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (the “DFML”) has proposed and adopted several “technical changes” and clarifications to the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (the “PFML”). Our analysis of these proposals and revisions may be found here, here, and here. As part of the ongoing “technical changes,” the DFML recently published new proposed amendments (“New Proposed Amendments”) to the regulations governing the PFML (the “Regulations”). The New Proposed Amendments ...

Blogs
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As we previously reported, last year, New York State expanded its election leave law to allow employees more paid time off if needed in order to vote on Election Day (increasing the paid time off from two to three hours). However, in the State’s 2020-21 budget, signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on April 3, 2020, new amendments to New York’s Election Leave Law (Election Law § 3-110) (the “Law”) undo the changes implemented by last year’s legislation and essentially reinstates the prior time-off rules, which provide that if an employee is a registered voter without ...

Blogs
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The U.S. Department of Labor has again updated its compliance assistance for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), in the form of “Questions and Answers.”  This post summarizes the most recent Questions and Answers.  Previous summaries can be found here and here.

Some of the newest answers include the following:

  • Question 60: Clarifies that shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders can qualify as federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation orders for purposes of leave under FFCRA.
  • Question 61: Clarifies that an individual is eligible for paid sick ...
Blogs
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New York State has issued guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) regarding the State’s new COVID-19 Leave Law (the “Law”). As we have reported, the Law requires New York employers to provide certain employees who are under a COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation order with either paid or unpaid sick leave, depending on the employer’s size and net income. The FAQs provide answers to more than 30 questions regarding the Law’s mandates on benefits, eligibility, the application process, disputes, and the complaint process.

For example, the FAQs ...

Blogs
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As we explained in an earlier post, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (“DLE”) has issued new Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“HELP”) Rules in response to the coronavirus. Effective March 11, 2020, the HELP Rules mandate employers provide four (4) days of paid sick leave for employees in certain industries who have flu-like symptoms to receive COVID-19 testing. The DLE has since released FAQs to clarify some ambiguities in the HELP Rules.

Four Calendar Days of Paid Sick Time

Per the FAQs, the four days of paid sick leave are measured in calendar days. This ...

Blogs
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On March 10, 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order directing he Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (“DLE”) to create emergency rules to “ensure workers in food handling, hospitality, child care, health care, and education can get paid sick leave to miss work if they exhibit flu-like symptoms and have to miss work awaiting testing results for COVID-19.”

The DLE issued the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“HELP”) Rules, which mandates four days of paid sick leave for employees in certain industries who have flu-like symptoms to ...

Blogs
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On January 29, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020 (the “Act”), which would change federal laws pertaining to consumer reporting agencies and credit checks in a number of ways. Significantly for employers, the Act includes an amendment (originally H.R. 3614 - “Restricting Credit Checks for Employment Decisions Act”) to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), which would restrict the use of credit information for most employment decisions.

Currently, the FCRA does not expressly prohibit employers from using credit checks ...

Blogs
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The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) continues to provide ongoing substantive and procedural guidance regarding the implementation of the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program (“PFML”). As previously reported, prior guidance has addressed how to determine if an employer meets the 25-covered individual threshold for reporting purposes, whether to count visa holders as part of the workforce for PFML purposes. Last week, the DFML provided clarification as to the requirements for an employer to qualify for reimbursement for ...

Blogs
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The New York City Commission on Human Rights (“the Commission”) published a legal enforcement guidance (“Guidance”) clarifying its standards with respect to discrimination based on actual or perceived immigration status and national origin. The Guidance applies to employers, housing providers, and providers of public accommodations.

As the Guidance explains, “[d]iscrimination based on immigration status often overlaps with discrimination based on national origin and/or religion.” Under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), employers with ...

Blogs
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As we previously reported, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) has been providing on-going substantive and procedural regulations and guidance to effectuate the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program (“PFML”), which applies to employers with 25 or more “covered individuals” in the employer’s workforce. Most recently, the DFML issued further guidance (“Guidance”), to clarify when an employer should include 1099-MISC contractors and certain visa holders in their workforce count.

How to Determine if You Meet the ...

Blogs
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Employers seeking information about potential reasonable accommodations, and tips on the interactive process, can turn to the newly updated Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Toolkit.

The Department of Labor provides funding for JAN as a free, comprehensive, online resource to assist businesses in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the website, the Toolkit “provides resources to support organizational efforts to accommodate applicants, candidates, and employees with disabilities; to train those serving in roles critical to managing ...

Blogs
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On August 20, 2019, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed A5618/S1040 (the “Amendment”) into law, amending the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) with respect to protections for victims of domestic violence. The Amendment becomes effective November 18, 2019.

The Amendment broadens the definition of “victim of domestic violence” to make it consistent with the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (NY Soc. Serv. L § 459-A). In addition, although the NYSHRL previously prohibited discrimination against victims of domestic violence, the Amendment explicitly adds ...

Blogs
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As previously reported, last week the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) announced several changes, both substantive and procedural, to the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program (“PFML”). This week, the DFML has provided further guidance on changes to the worker notice requirements, issued new workplace posters, and posted the final regulations.

Updates to Notice Requirement

As part of its June 14, 2019 announcement, the DFML changed the deadline for employers to provide required notices to workers for a second time, now setting ...

Blogs
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As we wrote last month, the state of Washington passed legislation barring most inquiries into salary history by employers, as well as requiring employers to divulge salary bands for posted jobs.  On May 9, 2019, the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, signed the bill, confirming the law statewide.  The law will take effect on July 28, 2019, and prior to that date, Washington employers should plan to amend any employment applications and hiring practices to conform to the new law.
Blogs
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Washington State has begun implementing its new Paid Family & Medical Leave program (“PFML”). Other states, such as New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island already have paid family and medical leave programs in place, and now Washington, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. are set to join them over the next few years. Although the benefits portion of Washington’s program does not kick in until 2020, employers’ reporting and remitting of premiums for Quarters 1 and 2 are due between July 1 and July 31, 2019.

The Washington Employment Security Department (“ESD”), which will ...

Blogs
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In an attempt to reduce the gender wage gap, the Washington State Legislature passed HB 1696,(“the Bill”), legislation that will prevent all private employers in Washington State from inquiring into the salary history of prospective employees  or requiring that an applicant's prior wage or salary history meet certain criteria.  Additionally, the Bill mandates that, upon an applicant’s request, an employer with 15 or more employees must provide the applicant with certain details about the pay rate or salary range for the open position.

If, as expected, the measure is signed ...

Blogs
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As we recently reported, New York’s Westchester County has published on its website Employer and Employee FAQs, along with a Notice of Rights to Employees, concerning the county’s Earned Sick Leave Law, which became effective on April 10, 2019. The county has now issued the required poster. Covered employers can download the poster and display it in a conspicuous location at their office or facility.

Notably, the poster only references the obligation of employers with five or more employees to provide paid sick time; it is silent with respect to the mandate that employers with ...

Blogs
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[Update: The measure was signed into law by Governor Mills on April 12, 2019.]

On April 2, 2019, the Maine Legislature celebrated Equal Pay Day by passing two significant amendments (“Amendments”) to the Maine Equal Pay Act. If, as expected, Governor Janet Mills signs the measure, certain salary history inquiries and employer policies prohibiting employee wage discussions will be deemed “evidence of discrimination.”  While the Amendments do not directly “prohibit” such inquiries and policies, in effect, they operate as a ban on such conduct.

Specifically, the ...

Blogs
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Technology, media, and telecommunications organizations are at the forefront of tackling new challenges in handling employee information and managing employee populations. As legislatures (from the federal level down to states and cities) address how technology impacts today’s new workforce, employers must grapple with changes in managing data—from privacy concerns to the use of artificial intelligence in employment matters—and keeping workers happy, including dealing with wage increases, the rise in union activity, and contingent workers in the #MeToo era. A changing workplace landscape requires creative thinking and outside-the-box solutions.

Blogs
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Don’t forget – April 1 marks the beginning of a new set of sexual harassment training requirements in New York City. While the training requirement began across New York State on October 9, 2018 (and must be completed by October 9, 2019), the City imposes additional requirements on certain employers. Both laws require training to be provided on an annual basis.

While the State law requires training of all New York employees, regardless of the number of employees in the State, the City law applies only to employers with 15 or more employees. However, when counting employees ...

Blogs
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On January 9, 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan to make New York City the first city in the country to mandate that private sector employers provide paid personal time (“PPT”) for their employees. Under the proposal, employers with five or more employees would be required to grant their employees 10 days of PPT to use for any purpose, including vacation, religious observance, bereavement, or simply to spend time with their families. It is unclear whether the proposed legislation would apply to only full-time workers, or whether, similar to the Earned Safe and Sick Time ...

Blogs
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On January 1, 2019, the length of paid leave and amount of weekly benefits under the New York Paid Family Leave Act (“NY PFL”) are scheduled to increase, the first of three yearly increases. The NY PFL, which took effect earlier this year, allows employees to collect up to a maximum of eight weeks of benefits within a 52-consecutive week period. In 2018, employees are eligible to earn 50% of their average weekly salary, up to a cap set at 50% of the state average weekly wage. Currently, the NY PFL benefits has been calculated based on the 2016 New York State average weekly wage, which is ...

Blogs
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The New York City Commission on Human Rights (“Commission”) recently issued a 146-page guide titled “Legal Enforcement Guidance on Discrimination on the Basis of Disability” (“Guidance”) to educate employers and other covered entities on their responsibilities to job applicants and employees with respect to both preventing disability discrimination and accommodating disabilities. The New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) defines “disability discrimination” more broadly than does state or federal disability law, and the Guidance is useful in ...

Blogs
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In 2018, we have seen important new wage and hour developments unfolding on a seemingly weekly basis. To help you stay up to date and out of the crosshairs of the plaintiffs’ bar, we invite you to join Epstein Becker Green’s Employment, Labor & Workforce Management Webinar Series presentation for September. Presented by our Wage and Hour practice group, this webinar will focus on wage and hour developments affecting the hospitality and home health care industries, although much of the information will also be of interest to employers in other industries.

With an eye toward the ...

Blogs
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The expiration date for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) model Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) notice and medical certification forms has once again been extended. The new expiration date is now August 31, 2018. Expiration dates are located at the top right corner of the model FMLA forms.

The DOL’s model FMLA notices and certification forms were originally due to expire on May 31, 2018, then again on June 30, 2018, and the DOL has again pushed the expiration date, now to the end of August, from the July 31, 2018 expiration date. Once approved by the Federal Office of ...

Blogs
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The U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) model Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) notices and medical certification forms expire on July 31, 2018. However, the new model forms have not yet been released. The current FMLA forms were originally due to expire on May 31, 2018, but the expiration date was first extended to June 30, 2018 and then to July 31, 2018.

Every three years, the DOL must obtain approval for continued use of its forms from the Federal Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”). Once the OMB approves the new model FMLA forms, they will be valid through 2021 ...

Blogs
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A legislative bargain requires give-and-take from all stakeholders. On June 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Baker signed House Bill 4640, “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Sales Tax Holiday” (the “Act”). This “grand bargain” gradually raises the minimum wage, provides for paid family and medical leave, makes permanent the Commonwealth’s annual tax holiday, and phases out Sunday and holiday premium pay requirements. While Massachusetts employers must now adjust to an increased minimum wage and new paid family medical leave ...

Blogs
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On May 30, 2018, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed bill H.707, titled “An Act Relating to the Prevention of Sexual Harassment” (the “Act”). Effect on July 1, 2018, the Act provides expansive protections for employees and prospective employees, as well as some groundbreaking employer obligations and potential penalties for violations of the law.

Among its key provisions, the Act:

  • Applies to all persons “hired to perform work or services,” thereby covering independent contractors and unpaid interns;
  • Prohibits employers from requiring any employee or prospective ...
Blogs
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On March 7, 2018, the New York City Council formally introduced “The Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act,” a package of 11 bills, aimed at strengthening protections against, and remedies for, sexual harassment in the workplace. As discussed below, four of these bills, if enacted, would significantly expand the obligations of many employers to prevent sexual harassment and would increase all private NYC employers’ vulnerability to sexual harassment claims.

Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training

Int. 632 would require all private NYC employers with 15 or more employees to ...

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