Employment Law Updates

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in recent years has issued a series of decisions protecting employee statements that included profane, sexist or racist comments, if those statements were made while employees were participating in protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Among other things, the NLRA protects employees' rights to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment. For example, the NLRB ruled that racist remarks made while picketing and a profane social media tirade were protected. Disciplinary action for an employee’s exercise of protected activity is prohibited.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised and expanded its guidelines concerning what it means to have been in "close contact" with an infected person. Under prior guidance, the CDC defined a close contact as someone who spent at least 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of an infected person, thus putting the person at higher risk of contracting the virus. The CDC’s updated guidance defines a close contact as:

As we discussed in our previous blogs, the new workplace safety rules adopted by the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board in response to the coronavirus pandemic are now in effect.  The final text of the regulations known as the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is posted on the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s website at:

In response to a federal court decision, the U.S. Department of Labor has revised its guidance concerning the paid leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to pay certain amounts of sick leave related to coronavirus, as summarized in the poster found at the DOL website link:

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf.

Employers covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles) should be aware of the newly-revised FMLA forms posted by the U.S. Department of Labor on its website. Here are the links to the new forms, including:

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