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California Assembly Bill 51 Is Back!

Way back on October 10, 2019, California Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 51 (“AB 51”), which essentially made it unlawful for California employers to require workers or job applicants to execute arbitration agreements requiring them to waive their rights to sue in court for violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or the … Continue Reading

President Biden Announces New COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

To address the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Delta variant surge, President Biden announced yesterday that he will implement sweeping new requirements to increase vaccination rates across the country.  Among the changes: OSHA is developing a new emergency rule directing all businesses with 100 or more employees to require their employees be (1) vaccinated … Continue Reading

State of Oregon and Multnomah County Publish Details of Indoor Mask Requirements

As we previously wrote about, the State of Oregon and Multnomah County are each imposing new indoor mask requirements beginning today, August 13, 2021, in response to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic driven by the Delta variant. Yesterday, the State and County released details of their respective requirements (the “Rules”), which overlap in most respects and … Continue Reading

EUA Status Does Not Prohibit Employers from Requiring the COVID Vaccine; Seven Factors for Employers to Consider When Considering a Mandatory Vaccination Policy

While many employers initially were hesitant to institute mandatory COVID vaccinations, the recent surge driven by the Delta variant and announcements from large organizations—including the U.S. military, United Airlines, and major health care systems across the country—have caused many employers to revisit mandatory vaccination policies. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Department of Justice … Continue Reading

Governor Kate Brown Announces Renewed State-Wide Mask Mandate, Vaccination Requirement For Executive Branch Employees

Governor Kate Brown announced today that the State of Oregon would impose a state-wide mask mandate that applies to indoor spaces (effective date to be determined). It is unclear at this time whether employers will be required to mandate masks for employees and customers (or take other COVID-19-related precautions), and whether penalties will be imposed on … Continue Reading

Oregon Health Care Employees Must Provide Proof of COVID Vaccination or Test Weekly

The latest COVID-19 surge driven by the Delta variant has caused many employers — not the least of which are health care employers — to revisit mandatory vaccine requirements for employees.  While many health care systems around the country already have mandated that their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, a … Continue Reading

Oregon Pay Equity Update: Legislature Temporarily Amends Equal Pay Act to Allow for Hiring and Retention Bonuses and Vaccine Incentives

The Oregon legislature recently passed HB 2818, which made several notable (and needed!) amendments to Oregon’s Equal Pay Act, including: Temporarily exempting hiring bonuses offered to prospective employees and retention bonuses offered to existing employees from the definition of “compensation.”  This amendment is temporary and effective only until March 1, 2022. Permanently exempting vaccine incentives … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Clarifies Employees’ Rights to Premium Pay for Missed Meal and Rest Breaks

In Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, the California Supreme Court determined that the phrases “regular rate of compensation” and “regular rate of pay” are synonymous for the purposes of California Labor Code section 226.7(c) and the California Industrial Wage Orders.  With this seemingly innocuous ruling, however, the Supreme Court has handed a potentially large … Continue Reading

Oregon OSHA Issues Temporary Heat Rule

Yesterday, the Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OR OSHA”) issued a temporary rule to address employees’ exposure to the hazards posed by temperatures in excess of 80 degrees. The rule applies whenever employees are required to work in conditions in which the “heat index temperature” (which combines air temperature with relative humidity to measure … Continue Reading

OR-OSHA Repeals Face-Covering and Distancing Requirements for Most Employers

Effective today, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OR-OSHA”) repealed the COVID-19 workplace safety rules that obligated most employers to require employees and visitors to wear face coverings and observe physical distancing rules in the workplace.  However, most of OR-OSHAs rules remain in effect and the repeal of the face-covering and distancing requirements does … Continue Reading

Oregon Legislature Further Limits Employee Non-Competition Agreements, Including Imposing a 12-Month Limit on Duration

Over the last several years, the Oregon Legislature has whittled away employers’ ability to enforce employee non-competition agreements (see our posts from 2007, 2015). Senate Bill 169, which Governor Brown signed into law on May 21, 2021, further limits an employer’s ability to impose non-competition obligations on employees. Effective starting January 1, 2022, the statute … Continue Reading

No Mask, No Problem – Washington Department of Labor & Industries Issues New Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Workers

On May 21, 2021, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (“L&I”) published new guidance regarding fully vaccinated workers.  The new guidance will help employers adjust masking policies to meet the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidelines adopted by Governor Jay Inslee. Under the new guidance, most Washington employers need not require … Continue Reading

CDC Issues New Mask and Social Distancing Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

Hot off the proverbial presses: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced today that fully vaccinated individuals can resume normal life activities without wearing masks or socially distancing.  The CDC’s guidance is available here.  Although it is certainly good news, the CDC’s guidance comes with several cautionary notes: An individual is only “fully … Continue Reading

Changes to Washington’s Requirements Regarding Accommodation of Employees at High Risk of Contracting COVID-19

For the past year, Washington employers have been required to accommodate those employees characterized by the CDC as being at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. Required accommodations can include allowing those employees to take extended leaves of absence if alternative work assignments, telework, remote work locations, or social distancing measures are … Continue Reading

Oregon Orders a Statewide “Freeze” Due to COVID-19 Surge, Closing Some Businesses, Restricting Bars and Restaurants to Takeout, and Further Limiting Social Gatherings

On November 13, 2020, after concluding that the previously proposed two-week “pause” did not go far enough, Governor Kate Brown announced a two-week statewide “freeze” aimed at slowing the rapid spread of COVID-19. The statewide freeze starts on Wednesday, November 18 and runs through December 2, 2020, meaning that the freeze will be in place … Continue Reading

Right To Recall Laws Continue To Proliferate Throughout California

The public health crisis caused by COVID-19 has caused lawmakers up and down California to consider new and previously unheard of ways to protect employees.  While most of these methods have involved protections for existing employees, many jurisdictions are considering ways to protect employees who have lost work for reasons related to COVID-19.  One of … Continue Reading

Oregon OSHA Releases Near Final Draft of its COVID-19 Standard

Oregon OSHA has released its “Near Final Draft” of a COVID-19 Temporary Standard. This proposed new regulation sets forth a number of new rules for how an employer must operate in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and respond to any positive cases among its employees. The regulation applies to employers and building operators. … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules That Title VII Protects LGBT Employees

Today the United States Supreme Court answered the question of whether Title VII, the federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination “on the basis of sex,” protects LGBT employees with a resounding “Yes.”  In a 6-3 decision, the Court held that: “The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds Class Claims Moot When Class Representative Settles Individual Claims Without Retaining a Financial Stake in the Outcome of Class Claims

On Wednesday, June 3, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Brady v. Autozone, No. 19-35122, slip op. at 1 (9th Cir. June 3, 2020), https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2020/06/03/19-35122.pdf, that class claims become moot when “a class representative voluntarily settles only his individual claims without indicating any financial stake in the unresolved class claims.” Michael Brady filed … Continue Reading

Required Notice of Rights Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) requires private companies with fewer than 500 employees, along with most public employers regardless of size, to post a notice summarizing the benefits available under the new law and directs the Department of Labor to prepare and publish a model notice. The Department issued its model notice yesterday. … Continue Reading

HDHPs Can Provide No Cost COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Announces Special Enrollment Period Today, the IRS issued Notice 2020-15 clarifying that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) may provide benefits associated with testing and treatment of COVID-19 (commonly referred to as coronavirus) without application of a deductible or cost-sharing. Doing so will not impact a plan’s status as a HDHP or a participant’s … Continue Reading

Washington’s New Leave Laws and the COVID-19 Outbreak

No sooner has Washington enacted two major new leave laws – the Washington Paid Sick Leave Law and the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (WPFML) – than the State has found itself to be one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Here is what Washington employers need to know about Paid Sick … Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About Balance Billing

On November 19, 2019, at 11 a.m. PT, I will be co-presenting a webinar with HMA’s Senior Manager, Compliance Services, Jessica Rothe, in which we will outline legislative efforts being made at the state and federal levels to protect patients from surprise balance billing by out-of-network providers. We will also discuss how health plan out-of-network cost containment strategies … Continue Reading
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