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Whistleblowers, Fears of Losing Funds Key to Enforcing US Vaccine Rules

Even though the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 vaccination rule for employers (though not for the healthcare sector), businesses should continue preparing for important OSHA deadlines.

According to this Reuters article, workplace whistleblowers and fears of disappearing federal funds will likely help with vaccination mandates within businesses, hospitals and nursing homes. However, OSHA is unlikely to demand proof from every healthcare provider of vaccination and testing protocols. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also typically does not survey accredited healthcare providers unless there is a complaint or a need for recertification, McDermott Partner Sandra DiVarco noted.

“On a stakeholder call, CMS reiterated their desire to work with providers to come into compliance and not to sort of send SWAT teams to go out and look for problems,” DiVarco said.

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Illinois Enacts New Noncompete and Nonsolicit Law

Illinois has enacted a new law governing restrictive covenants: Public Act 102-0358. This law outlines the requirements for valid noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements, and enforcement of those covenants. It will apply to all agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2022.

According to McDermott’s Brian Mead and Barrick Bollman, the legislation allows an employee to recover costs and reasonable attorney’s fees if the employee prevails in an action seeking to enforce a noncompetition or nonsolicitation agreement. The legislation also requires that employers advise employees, in writing, to consult with counsel before entering into a noncompetition or nonsolicitation agreement, and that employees be afforded 14 days to review the covenant before signing.

Read more here.




What if a Job Applicant Discloses a Disability?

What should employers do if a job applicant voluntarily discloses a disability during an interview?

In most cases, employers cannot ask disability-related questions until after an applicant receives a conditional job offer, according to McDermott’s Laurie A. Baddon in this Society for Human Resource Management article. Once the employer makes a conditional offer, the employer can ask disability-related questions and require medical examinations for any applicant. Employers can ask applicants about their ability to perform essential job duties with or without accommodation.

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OSHA’s COVID-19 Requirements for Healthcare Employers Take Effect

On June 21, 2021, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) long-anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 requirements in the healthcare industry went into effect. Most of the requirements must be followed by July 6, 2021; the remainder (on implementing physical barriers, improved ventilation systems and employee trainings) must be implemented no later than July 21, 2021, according to McDermott’s Abigail M. Kagan and Michelle S. Strowhiro. OSHA’s COVID-19 safety requirements are workplace-specific. Employers who have some employees working in a patient setting and other employees working in a corporate setting may need to follow the requirements only for the patient-based setting.

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Hoping to Keep Working Remotely? Here’s How to Convince Your Boss

As more businesses reopen in the wake of COVID-19, many employees are seeking to continue their remote work arrangements indefinitely.

In this Los Angeles Times article, McDermott partner Michelle S. Strowhiro suggests employees share their wishes with their employer sooner instead of later.

“Now is the time to help shape those policies,” Strowhiro notes.

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Effective October 1 | What You Need to Know Now Changes to Massachusetts Noncompetition and Trade Secret Law

Evan Belosa, Tony Bongiorno and Andrew Liazos summarize key changes and important issues associated with Massachusetts Noncompetition and Trade Secret Law and next steps to consider as the date of effectiveness approaches.

The Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act and Trade Secret Law will become effective October 1, 2018.

View the full presentation.




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