Latest from Employment Lawscene Blog

Recently, it seems like the stars have aligned in favor of unions. When President Biden was elected in 2020, a part of his workplace initiatives included the promotion of collective bargaining and the protection of employees’ rights to join and form unions. Then, a global pandemic struck, which made many employees reconsider and question their relationships with their workplaces and employers. In February 2022, the White House Task Force on Worker Organization and Empowerment released a report promoting the
Continue Reading Union Organization Is On the Rise

On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a split decision (found here) staying the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Vaccination-or-Test Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that would require employers with 100 or more employees to either impose a mandatory vaccination policy or, alternatively, mandate that unvaccinated workers wear a face covering while at work and be subject to a COVID-19 test every seven days. The decision was issued per curiam by the Court
Continue Reading Employment LawScene Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Issues Stay of OSHA’s Vaccination-or-Test Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court just issued a decision blocking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standard that would require employers with 100 or more employees to impose either a mandatory vaccination policy or, alternatively, mandate that unvaccinated workers be required to wear a face covering while at work and be subject to a COVID-19 test every seven days.  The Court’s three liberal Justices, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor all dissented. This is a breaking story
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Halts OSHA’s Vaccination-or-Test Emergency Temporary Standard

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order (found here) that it would hold a special session to hear arguments on OSHA’s vaccine-or-test rule that mandates employers with 100 or more employees require its employees to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or be subject to weekly tests. The Court issued its order in response to emergency applications for an administrative stay in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s 2-1 decision
Continue Reading Employment LawScene Alert: U.S. Supreme Court to Hold Special Session on January 7, 2022 to Review Federal Vaccine Mandates

On Friday, December 17, 2021, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit lifted the stay of OSHA’s emergency temporary standard (ETS) mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace or, alternatively, requiring unvaccinated employees to submit to weekly COVID-19 tests. The stay was originally issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on November 5, 2021, when the Fifth Circuit held that OSHA had exceeded its statutory and constitutional authorities when it
Continue Reading Employment LawScene Alert: Sixth Circuit Lifts Stay of OSHA’s Vaccination Mandate–OSHA Follows by Announcing Enforcement Policy

On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation held a lottery-style drawing to select which of the 12 federal circuit court of appeals where petitions for review are currently pending as to which circuit will hear the challenges to OSHA’s emergency temporary standard mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace. Through that lottery process, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was selected. As a result, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued
Continue Reading Employment LawScene Alert: Sixth Circuit Selected to Hear Challenges to OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

On Friday, November 12, 2021, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a 22-page decision (linked here) continuing its November 6th order that stayed the implementation and enforcement of OSHA’s emergency temporary standard mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace. In a strong rebuke of the Biden’s Administration’s desire to vaccinate as many Americans as possible through use of OSHA’s emergency temporary standard provision (29 U.S.C. § 655(c)) found in the Occupational Safety and Health
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Issues Strong Rebuke of OSHA’s Authority to Mandate Vaccinations in the Workplace

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released the Emergency Temporary Standard regarding COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing, which has commonly been referred to as the Vaccine Mandate. It will officially be published on November 5, 2021. Announced by President Biden in September, the Vaccine Mandate requires all employers with more than 100 employees to either require that employees be fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated employees to submit to weekly COVID-19 tests, both of which
Continue Reading Employment LawScene Alert: OSHA Issues Details of Vaccine Mandate

On Friday, July 9, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order that, among other things, instructed the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to ban or limit non-compete agreements and other clauses or agreements that “unfairly limit worker mobility.” This is not a federal ban on non-compete agreements and does not change any current law. It is important to note, however, that the FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, through civil and criminal enforcement actions, have already been
Continue Reading What Does President Biden’s Executive Order on Non-Competes Mean for Wisconsin Employers?

On May 13, 2021, the CDC announced that it had updated its guidance for individuals who have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus (i.e., individuals who received their final shot more than two weeks ago). The updated guidance states that individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19  are not required to wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines in most settings. Masks are still required for those who have not reached full vaccination.  Masks are also still
Continue Reading Employment LawScene Alert: What Does the CDC’s New Mask Guidance Mean for Employers?

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. Among a wide variety of other aims, the $1.9 trillion bill extended tax incentives for certain employers that chose to provide their employees with qualifying paid leave related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) was signed into law. The FFCRA contained two leave components: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) and the Emergency and Family and Medical
Continue Reading Employment LawScene Alert: American Rescue Plan Extends Tax Credits for COVID-Related Leave

In this, the final installment in our series discussing the Biden Administration’s workplace initiatives, we will now discuss some of the potential changes forthcoming from the U.S. Department of Labor that employers should note, including changes to the independent contractor test under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a narrowing of the “joint employer” test under the National Labor Relations Act, an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide paid leave through passage of the Family and
Continue Reading Biden Administration’s Department of Labor Will Upend Many Employer-Friendly Regulations

In this, the latest installment in our series discussing the Biden Administration’s workplace initiatives, we will now consider the potential impact on employment discrimination laws. At the moment, there are two main legislative actions underway in Congress, and President Biden has lent his support to both these initiatives, as well as other proposals that would affect employment discrimination laws.

Equality Act

In February 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which was originally passed in 2019 but
Continue Reading Biden Administration Supports New Laws Protecting Employees from Discrimination

In our series discussing the new workplace initiatives under the Biden Administration, we will next address the Biden Administration’s desire to make significant changes in National Labor Relation Board (“NLRB”’ or “Board”) policy and to roll back the labor law precedent of the Trump Administration’s NLRB.  The Biden Administration’s labor policy through the NLRB will focus on two primary goals: (1) the promotion of collective bargaining and (2) the protection of employees’ rights to join and form unions.  In
Continue Reading Biden Administration Will Promote a Significant Shift in Recent Federal Labor Law

In this installment of our series discussing the new workplace initiatives under the Biden Administration, we will discuss wage and hour issues that employers should prepare for, including an increased federal minimum wage, updated enforcement priorities, and the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act.

Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage was last increased in 2009. Since then, multiple states and municipalities have increased their minimum wages. However, the federal minimum wage, as well as the minimum wage in Wisconsin, has remained
Continue Reading The Biden Administration Tackles Wage and Hour Issues

In our series discussing the new workplace initiatives under the Biden Administration, we will first look at the Biden Administration’s efforts on protecting worker health and safety.

Simply, under the Biden Administration, employers should expect to see a more robust Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), meaning ramped-up OSHA enforcement efforts, including more workplace inspections, more whistleblower protection, and the likely issuance of an emergency temporary standard to address the hazards of COVID-19 in the workplace. In light of
Continue Reading Workplace Safety is a Top Priority for the Biden Administration