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New Criminal Obligations on UK Employers and Employees

In September, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 came into effect in the United Kingdom. The Regulations, together with earlier updates from the Government of the United Kingdom, require office workers who can work “effectively” from home to do so over the winter. What's more, potential criminal liability attaches to any employer failure to comply with the Regulations. Access the article.

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Cal/OSHA Adopts Emergency COVID-19 Workplace Standards

California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) adopted emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 prevention in the workforce, effective as of November 30, 2020, following approval by the Office of Administrative Law. These temporary standards require most Californian employers to implement a written COVID-19 prevention program meeting certain criteria. While many employers have already followed Cal/OSHA guidance to minimize employees' exposure to COVID-19, the new requirements warrant an immediate review of current policies to ensure compliance. For any companies that have not yet created a written plan, the rules require implementation of a written policy. Writing for International Law Office, McDermott partners Ellen Bronchetti and Michelle Strowhiro break down the details of Cal/OSHA's new standards. Access the article.

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With Everyone Working from Home, What’s the Future of Freelance?

The freelance space, one of the few sectors to thrive as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, has seen a surge of openings, especially with the shift to remote work. But the blurred new reality can be bad for freelancers: An employer can have two workers doing essentially the same job, and sometimes what differentiates them is not what they turn in or the gains they make for the company but rather their earnings and insurance status, potentially putting a contractor in a disadvantaged position. In a recent article from Durrelliot, McDermott partner Michelle Strowhiro explains the importance of establishing clear boundaries for freelancers and employees alike in the era of “working from home.” Access the article.

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The EEOC Releases First Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination for Employers

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its first direct guidance for employers regarding COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Important takeaways from the guidance, as well as FAQs from the EEOC, are discussed in the attached link. Access the article.

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Will the Biden Administration Upend Workplace Law?

Joe Biden's ascendance to the presidency not only spells doom for many of the Trump administration's business-friendly employment policies; it also may place established tenets of federal labor law on the chopping block. Biden may bring with him to the White House an ambitious pro-labor platform aimed at giving workers and unions a leg up after four years in which the Trump administration moved the legal needle sharply in employers' direction. A recent article in Law360, featuring McDermott partner Ron Holland, outlines four areas that labor and employment lawyers should watch after the Biden transition. Access the article.

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8 Steps to Record Employment Decisions in Uncertain Times

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increased focus on social justice, stakes have never been higher for employers to make and document good employment decisions. Those that make poor employment decisions—or do not sufficiently document good decisions—face significant exposure and unwanted scrutiny, both internally and externally, during a time when many employers are struggling to survive. Writing for Law360, McDermott associate Lauren Ziegler provides a step-by-step guide that will help employers create effective documentation in the COVID-19 era and beyond. Access the article.

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SHRM Report: Global Executives Respond to Remote Work, Other Emerging Trends

Remote work will be a talent magnet in coming years and must be viewed as a long-term investment, according to recent global research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Oxford Economics and SAP Success Factors. A recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management outlines remote work trends, and McDermott partner Carole Spink highlights opportunities for employers to connect with their teams in the era of increased remote work. Access the article.

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Passage of California Privacy Act Could Spur Similar New Regulations in Other States

On November 3, California citizens approved the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act (the CPRA), a comprehensive privacy law that amends another privacy law that went into effect in the state on January 1, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CPRA is intended to strengthen privacy regulations in California by creating new requirements for companies that collect and share sensitive personal information. It also creates a new agency, the California Privacy Protection Agency, that will be responsible for enforcing CPRA violations. In a recent article in CSO, McDermott partner Laura Jehl discussed the impact of the CPRA on the future of privacy legislation in the United States. Access the article.

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Be Sure to Change Furloughs into Layoffs Lawfully

Employers that are converting furloughs into permanent layoffs need to ensure compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). In a recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management, McDermott partner Carole Spink explains why employers should carefully consider both state and federal regulations—and the importance of clear communication—when converting furloughs into layoffs. Access the article.

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