COVID-19 Gets Noticed

  As reported in “Federal Coronavirus Workplace Relief,” the March 18 Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)contains two nationwide employee leave laws, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PSL Act)  and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA). In essence and applicable to businesses with fewer than 500 employees: The PSL Act requires…

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Furlough Versus Layoff: A Distinction Without a Difference? The Coronavirus crisis has forced many employers to reduce or eliminate their work force for the foreseeable future. Some employers are characterizing such action as a temporary “furlough.”  Others are framing such action as a “lay off” for the time being, until the calamity passes. Yet, for…

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The Coronavirus Outbreak and California Unemployment Benefits   The evolving COVID-19 crisis is driving many employers to the difficult decisions of reducing hours or laying off employees. California has in turn relaxed the unemployment insurance (UI) access and qualification standards significantly. This includes the governor’s elimination of the usual seven-day waiting period upon application. Further, if…

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Ignorance is No Bliss What Employers Can Ask in a Pandemic Through the confusion raging around the state-to-state spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) comes at least one federal agency seemingly prepared to effectively guide employers and employees alike to detect, correct, and ultimately protect. Out of the 2009 “H1N1” pandemic, the Equal Employment Opportunity…

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New Paid Sick Leave, Family Leave and Tax Credits Effective April 2, 2020 On March 18, President Trump approved several coronavirus emergency measures for employees and employers, portions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act). Two sections enhance worker leave (or “furlough”) benefits.  The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PSL Act) provides a new nationwide…

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As a close observer of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak from my West African work, the most precious commodity in the current pandemic is knowledge. Please consider this eight-minute COVID-19 video for a concrete understanding of the actual challenge we all face and the simple actions necessary to place this ordeal firmly in the rear view…

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Employers are taking various steps to help offset the economic repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic, such as providing employees with the use of paid sick leave, paid vacation time, and telecommuting. A well-written telecommuting policy permits managers and rank-and-file workers alike to know where they stand. It should minimally address these points: Identifying the equipment…

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Workplace Harassment Prevention Training California Government Code section 12950.1 requires all employers with five or more employees to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training, as well as “training inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation,” to all managers and at least one hour to non-supervisory employees…

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Company Must Pay Workers for Bag and Device Check Time Like many companies, Apple has a practice of checking retail workers’ bags and personal electronic devices after they clock out as a theft prevention measure. In a February 2020 ruling, the California Supreme Court directed that Apple must compensate such employees for that time, including…

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California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and its federal counterpart, the  Civil Rights Act of 1964, are designed to protect employees from unlawful discrimination. The FEHA also established the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to investigate, mediate and prosecute workplace discrimination complaints. It is the largest state civil rights agency in the…

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