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The 411 on Employment Background Checks in Stock and Asset Transactions

Employment background checks help employers hire individuals with integrity whom they can trust, and who do not present a risk to the business, other employees, or the customers and clients that the business serves. Buyers in transactions may view target businesses that run background checks as lower risk for employee performance and retention issues. Background checks also constitute an important area for employment diligence in transactions because an employer or background check vendor’s failure to follow the hypertechnical disclosure and authorization requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other applicable state and local laws risks potentially material class action exposure and $1,000 penalties per violation. This article explores mitigation strategies that buyers may use in due diligence to identify and valuate potential FCRA exposure.

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HR Might Be on the Front Line in the Battle Against Monkeypox Misinformation

More employers are beginning to take notice of Monkeypox and how it might impact their workplaces. In this HR Brew articleMcDermott Partner Michelle Strowhiro said employers need to present information from a factual basis to dispel rumors that might circulate in the workforce.

“To the extent that employees are…creating a hostile environment, it’s incumbent on employers to take proactive action to stop that,” Strowhiro said.

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What You Should Be Telling Workers About Monkeypox

What should employers be telling workers about monkeypox? In this Fortune article, McDermott Partner Michelle Strowhiro said the first thing is to make sure workers properly understand the signs and symptoms of the viral disease.

“Now’s the time to evolve [your] COVID-19 policy into a greater safety policy that includes monkeypox, and covers the symptoms of monkeypox and protocols of what to do if you have symptoms or test positive,” Strowhiro said.

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Change Fatigue And Organizational Culture: A Critical Call For Leadership

How can organizations cope with change fatigue in uncertain times? In this Forbes article, McDermott Partner Michael Peregrine draws on historical and present examples to argue that effective leadership starts with the proper tone at the top.

“A positive organizational culture may come less easily these days, not because the organization itself is less robust, but because of the insidious impact of change fatigue,” Peregrine writes. “And that fatigue can undermine the spirit of the workforce and its faith in the future.”

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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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‘Unprecedented Interest’ in Employer-Covered Abortion Travel

If the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade (as suggested by a leaked draft on May 2), employers who want to provide abortion coverage to employees and their families could encounter serious challenges. In this Bloomberg Law article, McDermott’s Sarah G. Raaii noted that employers that provide travel expenses for abortions might encounter resistance from state laws like a Texas statue that permits citizens to sue abortion providers for abortions performed around six weeks.

“If a state wants to interpret this very broadly—and it seems that some of them have indicated that they do—to really just punish anyone involved even peripherally with providing abortion in the states, employers could potentially be at risk.” Raaii said.

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Telework Boom Has Employers Rethinking Hiring, Onboarding

The process of recruiting and onboarding new employees will require re-examination as remote work becomes a permeant fixture of the American workplace. In this Law360 article, McDermott Partner Ellen Bronchetti offers perspective about how companies will need to modify these policies and procedures.

“My concern when you don’t have the level of engagement that you used to have when you brought an employee in the door, is whether or not a company’s policies and practices are adequate to instruct employees [about] the rules [and] expectations,” Bronchetti said.

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California to Renew COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for 2022

On January 25, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that his office and state lawmakers had reached an agreement to reimplement a version of California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave through September 30, 2022. It is expected that the state legislature will move quickly to finalize and vote on legislation to effectuate this statewide paid leave obligation.

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OSHA Hints at Permanent COVID-19 Standard, Withdraws Vax-or-Test ETS

On January 25, 2022, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it would withdraw its controversial “vax-or-test” Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which required large employers to impose vaccination or testing requirements upon their employees. The withdrawal will be effective as soon as the announcement is published in the Federal Register, which is scheduled to occur on January 26, 2022.

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