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Colorado Continues to Whittle Away at Non-Compete Agreements

Effective August 10, 2022, Colorado’s laws governing restrictive covenants were amended to provide additional limitations and hurdles for employers who seek non-compete and non-solicit agreements with their employees, including compensation thresholds and notice requirements. The new law also sets forth steep penalties for any violations. This article provides the details of these new restrictions.

Read more here.




California Governor Signs Landmark Legislation That Gives Bargaining Power to Nonunionized Fast-Food Workers

On September 5, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed landmark legislation aimed at further regulating the working conditions and wages of California’s fast- food workers. This bill has immediate impact on certain employers and franchisors doing business in the Golden State.

Assembly Bill (AB) 257, also known as the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act or the FAST Recovery Act, authorizes the creation of a Fast Food Council (Council) that will be tasked with establishing minimum standards with respect to the minimum wage, maximum hours of work, the standard conditions of labor and other working conditions for fast-food workers throughout California.

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How Does the FMLA Apply to a Remote Workforce?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993, a year when the idea of working a corporate job from a living room was rare. When the law was passed, the FMLA didn’t contemplate a remote workforce. Now, and especially post-pandemic, many companies are embracing a fully remote workforce (e.g., sales representatives, healthcare medical device technicians and software engineers). While employees’ needs for a leave of absence have always been around, remote employment and its effects on the applicability of the FMLA requirements has not. For well over two years, many employees have been working from home. Some report to a manager at the headquarters or worksite. Plenty of remote employees, however, report to an individual who also works remotely. The new remote landscape is making what used to be an easy application of FMLA eligibility into a difficult analysis. This article examines the FMLA regulatory framework for remote employees, a recent Texas federal court decision on the issue and the practical options that employers have moving forward.

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Monkeypox in the Workplace: Key Considerations for Employers

As of July 26, 2022, there are 3,591 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General has declared the multi-country monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). With much about the potential impact and scope of monkeypox still unknown, employers should consider taking proactive steps now, as may be appropriate for their workforce, to enhance and reinforce the safety protocols already in place from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Seattle Payroll Expense Tax Upheld by State Appellate Court

Last month, the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss a challenge to the recently enacted payroll expense tax in Seattle, WA. Seattle Metro. Chamber of Commerce v. City of Seattle, No. 82830-4-I, 2022 WL 2206828 (Wash. Ct. App. June 21, 2022).

The tax, which went into effect on January 1, 2021, applies to entities “engaging in business within Seattle” and is measured using the business’s “payroll expense” (defined as “compensation paid in Seattle to employees,” including wages, commissions, salaries, stock, grants, gifts, bonuses and stipends). The tax only applies to businesses with a payroll expense of more than $7 million in the prior calendar year, and compensation is considered “paid in Seattle” if the employee works more than 50% of the time in the city.

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California Supreme Court Clarifies Whether Missed-Break Premiums Are ‘Wages’ That Trigger Derivative Penalties

On May 23, 2022, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Naranjo v. Spectrum Sec. Servs. Inc. (Naranjo), holding that meal and rest break premiums (also known as extra pay or premium pay) constitute “wages” that: (1) must be accurately reported on employee wage statements pursuant to Labor Code section 226 and (2) must be timely paid to employees to avoid waiting time penalties pursuant to Labor Code section 203. The Court explained that “although the extra pay is designed to compensate for the unlawful deprivation of a guaranteed break, it also compensates for the work the employee performed during the break period.” Thus, employees may be entitled to wage statement penalties and waiting time penalties where the employee worked through their break.

Read more here.




German Tax Aspects of Cross-Border Remote Working

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working became a necessity. Despite the easing lockdowns, the trend is likely to stay, particularly with “workstations” being actively promoted by the travel industry; however, there are considerable tax consequences for international employers. In this International News article, McDermott’s Gero Burwitz and Isabella Denninger discuss the complexity of this new working order and how international businesses can navigate it.

Access the article (pg. 11).




New York City’s Wage Transparency Law to Take Effect November 1, 2022

On January 15, 2022, the New York City Council enacted Local Law 32 of 2022 (Wage Transparency Law or Law) to amend the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to require that most employers include compensation data in their job advertisements. The Law was supposed to take effect on May 15, 2022, however, it faced criticism over a number of ambiguities, including undefined penalties. In response, on April 28, 2022, the New York City Council passed an amendment to the Wage Transparency Law. Among the biggest changes is that employers now have until November 1, 2022—more than six months—to ensure compliance with the Law’s requirements. If Mayor Eric Adams signs the Law, which he is expected to do, New York City will become the second jurisdiction in the country (the first being Colorado) to require employers to include minimum and maximum potential salary amounts for open positions in job postings.

Read more here.




OSHA Announces Plan to ‘Expand Its Presence’ in Certain Healthcare Facilities Treating COVID-19 Patients

Between March 9, 2022, and June 9, 2022, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will “expand its presence” in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities that treat COVID-19 patients and that were previously cited or issued Hazard Alert Letters for alleged COVID-19 violations. OSHA’s stated purpose is to “target[] high-hazard healthcare facilities” to “verify and assess . . . compliance actions taken” by employers to rectify prior allegations related to COVID-19 safety violations. The initiative is focusing on employers’ “readiness to address any ongoing or future COVID-19 surges.”

Read more here.




California Updates COVID-19 Cal/OSHA ETS

On April 21, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board approved the Third Readoption of the state’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Per Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-23-21, the Third Readoption will remain in effect for no longer than December 31, 2022. The Third Readoption makes some additional material changes and clarifications, including acceptable return-to-work criteria, elimination of certain cleaning and social distancing requirements, and creation of a “returned case” category of workers recovered from COVID-19. Employers in California should update their COVID-19 ETS policies to ensure continued compliance with Cal/OSHA’s changes in the Third Readoption.

Read about the Third Readopted ETS here.




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