The Legal Line®

EEOC Issues Guidance Regarding Accommodating Opioid-Related Disabilities

September 16, 2020

Opioid use has been on the rise in recent years. Many people became addicted after doctors prescribed opioid medications like oxycodone for pain control after a surgery or for a chronic injury. But because of their addictive nature, people began abusing these drugs, in many cases substituting illegal heroin (also an opioid) in their place. … Read more

DOL Says Declining Job Because of COVID Safety Concerns Does not Disqualify for Federal Unemployment but Not Being Able to Get a Job Because Businesses are Not Hiring Due to COVID Does

July 30, 2020

After months of being closed under applicable state orders, many businesses have identified enhanced Federal unemployment benefits as one of the obstacles to reopening during the pandemic. Some businesses say that their employees do not want to return because they are earning more in unemployment benefits than they would if they were working. On July … Read more

U.S. DOL Publishes OSHA-Related COVID FAQ’s and Recommends Cloth Masks

July 10, 2020

This week, the DOL issued new COVID-19 specific FAQ’s intended to guide employers about the steps they can take during the pandemic to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OSHA”). The FAQ’s address a variety of important topics, including cleaning and disinfecting protocols, training, and handwashing facilities. The FAQ’s also address dealing with … Read more

DOL Clarifies when Closed Summer Camps Trigger COVID Leave Rights

June 29, 2020

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a new Opinion Letter No. 2020-4, clarifying that the inability to send one’s child to a summer camp closed because of COVID-19 may well entitle that employee to leave under the Family First Coronavirus Act (“FFCRA”). This clarification is important because, unlike schools or day … Read more

EEOC Clarifies that Employers Should Not Screen for COVID19 Antibodies

June 17, 2020

The EEOC clarified today that while employers may screen employees for active cases of COVID19, employer may not screen employee for COVID19 antibodies as a precondition for returning to the workplace. The EEOC’s position in part relies on the CDC’s recent guidance providing that antibody test results should not be used in making decisions in … Read more

USSC Says Title VII Protects Against Sexual Orientation and Transgender Discrimination

June 15, 2020

In a historic 6-3 decision entitled Bostock v. Clayton County, the United States Supreme Court finally answered the much-debated question whether Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of sexual orientation and/or gender identity – the answer is a resounding “yes.” In ruling that an employer cannot fire an employee for … Read more

The EEOC Provides Useful New Guidance for Employers Returning People to Work

June 12, 2020

Just yesterday, the EEOC updated its guidance for employers on their duties and obligations when returning their employees to work. We now have new, much more specific answers to some frequently asked questions on how to manage “high risk” people and how to manage employees working remotely. Here’s some of the most notable new stuff: … Read more

New DOL Rule Permits Bonuses and Enhanced Pay with Fluctuating Workweek

May 26, 2020

The DOL has issued a final rule that allows employers greater flexibility in paying bonuses and other enhanced pay to employees paid on the “fluctuating workweek” basis. According to the DOL’s announcement, the new rule provides that incentive-based payments like bonuses, hazard pay and commissions, paid to employees in addition to their fixed weekly salaries … Read more

Massachusetts Begins Phase 1 for Reopening

May 18, 2020

The Governor has issued today his first phase order for reopening business in Massachusetts under Covid19 protocols. Here is the brief summary: WHAT IS OPEN? Under Phase 1, while essential businesses will obviously remain open, manufacturing and construction may now open today with new protocols calling for 6 foot distancing where possible and the wearing … Read more