Tuesday, March 2nd at 12:30pm ET

Employee Leave Laws: Managing the Intersection of FMLA, ADA, and COVID Leave

Many issues can arise when coordinating employee leaves of absence, especially when employee requests are related to medications (opioids or medical marijuana), mental health impairments, remote work, and the pandemic. We are talking about the nuanced problems and gray areas that makes complying with the ADA, FMLA and numerous new COVID-19 leave laws nearly impossible.

Join the Kelley Drye Labor and Employment team for a complimentary webinar where we take you through a practical and effective thought process to mitigate (not remove) risk from the more challenging employee leave situations. Our goal is to equip you with the right tools to coordinate employee leave with confidence.

Click here to RSVP

While many states have legalized medical and recreational marijuana, marijuana remains an illegal controlled substance under federal law. As we have previously discussed, this has created a conundrum of sorts for employers who want to maintain a drug free workplace. In New York State, the landscape for employers has just gotten more challenging.

Medical marijuana has been legalized in the state since 2014. Governor Cuomo has since announced legalized recreational use may soon follow. Additionally, in New York City, employers are prohibited, with certain exceptions, from testing job applicants for marijuana. Employers can, however, test current employees.

Despite these legislative initiatives, a question still remains: What happens if an employee tests positive at work, but has a prescription for medical marijuana? A recent New York appellate court decision warns employers should proceed with caution.

Continue Reading The Cannabis Conundrum: A Warning For Employers

On January 20, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor issued new guidance on the state’s COVID-19 sick leave law, which clarifies employees’ leave entitlements and expands employers’ obligations under the law.

As a reminder, New York’s COVID-19 sick leave law provides paid and unpaid sick leave, with access to expanded paid family leave and temporary disability, for employees ordered to quarantine or isolate as a result of COVID-19. The amount of leave and entitlements depends on the size of the employer and its net income. We provided an overview of the law and its requirements here. Continue Reading NY Expands COVID-19 Paid Leave

On December 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the “Act”), the latest major piece of legislation passed by Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This advisory describes certain provisions of the Act affecting retirement plans and other employee benefits.  In a separate advisory, we described the Act’s impact on health and welfare plans, including health and dependent care flexible spending arrangements.

Relief from Partial Terminations for Retirement Plans

When a retirement plan experiences a partial termination, affected participants must become fully vested in their accrued benefits. Ordinarily, the Internal Revenue Service uses a rebuttable presumption that a partial termination occurs in a plan year in which there is a 20% or greater reduction in the number of participants. Under the Act, a plan will not be treated as having a partial termination during any plan year which includes the period beginning on March 13, 2020, and ending on March 31, 2021, if the number of active participants covered by the plan on March 31, 2021 is at least 80% of the number of active participants covered by the plan on March 13, 2020.

Special Disaster Relief for Retirement Plans

Continue Reading New Stimulus Legislation Affects Retirement Plans and Other Employee Benefits

In 2020, California enacted several new laws affecting employers and their employment policies and procedures. While some of these laws are already in effect, others go into effect over the course of the next few months and years.

Laws That Took Effect in 2020

Workers’ Compensation COVID-19 Liability

By signing SB 1159 into law on September 17, 2020, California Governor Newsom codified his earlier issued executive order, which states that under certain circumstances, when an employee tests positive for COVID-19, there is a rebuttable presumption that the employee contracted the virus while at work and, therefore, said illness is covered by the employers’ workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Continue Reading 2021 Employment Law Spotlight: California

Last year, several major employment laws were enacted in the State of Illinois, and specifically in the City of Chicago. Employers in Illinois and/or Chicago should be reminded of these laws for 2021. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • The Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) was amended to cover “single-employee” employers and to require employers to report to the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”) all adverse judgements and rulings relating to harassment and discrimination;
  • Employees covered by the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance now have a private right of action against employers for violations of the law;
  • Chicago Enacts COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Measures; and
  • Class action lawsuits under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) are expected to continue to rise in 2021.

Continue Reading 2021 Employment Law Spotlight: Chicago and Illinois

The impact of the legal definition of “employee” versus “independent contractor” under the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”) and other employment laws cannot be understated. The FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements—along with a vast array of other legal obligations employers owe to employees—simply do not apply to independent contractors. Unhelpfully, various regulatory agencies and courts have looked in the past to similar, but not quite identical, tests of independent contractor status. With so much riding on the right classification both in terms of lawsuits and dollars, any clarification of which test an employer should look to is absolutely critical guidance to U.S. businesses.

Enter the Department of Labor (“DOL”) and its January 7, 2021 publication of the final rule on classifying “Independent Contractor Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act” (the “Final Rule”), which goes into effect on March 8, 2021.  Continue Reading Independent Contractor Final Rule (For Now)

On December 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the “Act”), the latest major piece of legislation passedby Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This advisory describes certain provisions of the Act affecting health and welfare plans, including health and dependent care flexible spending arrangements (“FSAs”).  In a separate advisory, we will describe the Act’s impact on retirement plans and other employee benefits. Continue Reading New Stimulus Legislation Affects Health and Welfare Plans, including Flexible Spending Arrangements

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in on January 20, 2021, signaling the official change in administration. Employers can certainly expect to see a shift in the direction of federal labor and employment laws. Already, Biden’s recent appointment of Marty Walsh, a union official, to Secretary of Labor, signifies a new era in NLRB activity and pro-employee and pro-union labor laws.  Further, the DOL and EEOC are bound to be more aggressive in undertaking many initiatives overlooked by the Trump Administration.

Federal labor and employment laws aside, New York employers should be reminded of new state laws for 2021.  Here are just a few of the highlights. Continue Reading 2021 Employment Law Spotlight: New York

A new year means new challenges in the world of employment law. To help employers comply with new laws and navigate today’s complex employment challenges, the Kelley Drye Labor and Employment team will be offering its second virtual WORKing Lunch Webinar Series in the coming months. The 2021 series consists of five webinars covering hot topics such as COVID-19 leave laws, NDA’s, wage and hour class actions, and more.

Our programs are designed to inform and provide best practices for in-house counsel, management, and HR professionals. We will kick off the series on January 26th with “Lawsuits and Laws In Vogue: What to Keep an Eye on in 2021.” See below for registration details and program descriptions.

 

Tuesday, January 26th at 12:30pm ET

Lawsuits & Laws In Vogue: What To Keep An Eye On In 2021

Emerging vaccines bring hope during the ongoing pandemic, but there’s little relief in sight for the upward trend in COVID-19-related lawsuits. Adding to that, employers still have to comply with existing employment laws and legislation, even when new COVID-19-related laws are the main focus. Join partners Barbara Hoey, Mark Konkel, and Kimberly Carter for a deep dive into COVID-19 litigation and legislative trends, including:

  • Discrimination, retaliation, and COVID-19-related lawsuits
  • Vaccine mandates and disputes
  • New pay equity laws
  • COVID-19 workplace reporting laws
  • Remote work and return-to-the-office challenges
  • Whistleblower claims
  • And much more

 

Tuesday, March 2nd at 12:30pm ET

Employee Leave Laws: Managing the Intersection of FMLA, ADA, and FFCRA

Complying with the ADA, FMLA and numerous new COVID-19 leave laws is a huge challenge for employers. More often than not, employers have to manage leave requests where two, or sometimes, all of these laws intersect. Whether it’s dealing with the employee for whom no accommodation is good enough, or the employee whose expertise seems to be avoiding work—we’ve seen it all.

Join partner Barbara Hoey for a thorough review of the obligations under all of these laws, as well some practical advice for handling employee claims and implementation of necessary policies.

 

Tuesday, April 13th at 12:30pm ET

A Look Down the Road: Employment Laws Ahead

To say that employers live in an era of change is a radical understatement. Join partners Barbara Hoey, Mark Konkel, and Kimberly Carter for a review of the pressing employment laws and issues that must be addressed by the new presidential administration and the impact of new legislation on how employers must manage their workforces from coast to coast.

 

Tuesday, May 18th at 12:30pm ET

Wage & Hour Laws: How To Avoid Common Pitfalls

The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division recovered a record $322 million in wages owed to workers in 2019 and found, on average, $1,025 for each employee due back wages. As employers face employees become more informed about their rights, employers should also stay on top of the ever-changing federal and state wage and hour laws to avoid run-ins with the Department of Labor and state labor agencies.

Join partners Mark Konkel and Kimberly Carter for a detailed review of today’s wage and hour laws and coverage of the most commonly made errors, including:

  • Misclassifying Non-Exempt Employees As Exempt
  • Failing To Recognize What Time is Compensable
  • Misclassifying Employees As Independent Contractors
  • Failing To Comply With Both State And Federal Wage And Hour Requirements

 

Tuesday, June 22nd at 12:30pm ET

Restrictive Covenants 101: NDAs, Non-Competes & Other Tools To Protect Your Company

A company’s proprietary information and business relationships are critical to its success, but these assets can also walk out the door with any one key employee. Too few companies take a considered approach to protecting those assets. NDAs and noncompetes can help, but using them without a holistic strategy can be worse than using no protection at all.

Join partner Mark Konkel team for a practical look at how to use—and not to use—restrictive covenants, and how to tailor them to your company’s unique needs.

 

Click here to register for one, all, or some of the programs.

 

CLE AND SHRM INFORMATION

CLE
Kelley Drye is an accredited provider of NY, IL, CA and TX CLE. Each program in this series offers transitional continuing legal education and each program has been approved for a minimum of 1.0 NY Professional Practice credit, 1.0 General Illinois credit, 1.0 CA General credit and 1.0 Texas General credit. We will apply for CLE credit in other jurisdictions, upon request, but cannot guarantee approval.

SHRM
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. Each program in this series is pending for a minimum of 1.0 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org. HRCI credit is pending.