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Simon | Paschal Says: A Time for HeaRt

This may seem like a funny thing to hear employment lawyers say, but now more than ever it is time for Human Resources to truly exhibit HeaRt.  Our capitalization and bolding of the word heart are intentional because as the great Michael Scott would say, “HR is in the word.” 2020 has been a tough year for all of us.  We have been socially isolated for much of the year.  We have dealt with the fear of contracting a virus that for much of the year was largely unknown.  We have faced tough decisions about layoffs and reductions in pay.  Read more
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Personnel Actions: Layoffs & PTO

As businesses and employers are getting a better handle on their staffing needs after several roller coaster months of COVID-19, the fortunate businesses are facing decisions about bringing people back to work who had previously been laid off and also addressing paid time off of employees that may not have utilized much of it.  With this in mind, employers should understand their options and any legal requirements. A common question we often get, and one we are getting more often at this time, is what requirements apply to employers when they begin restaffing positions that were vacant due to recent Read more
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Election Season Considerations

2020 is the year that everything that could possibly happen…happened.  It seems only normal, then, that 2020 is also the year of a U.S. Presidential election.  No matter where you stand as an HR professional on the political spectrum, you must navigate the election season in the workplace.  With that in mind, let’s discuss just a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, unless you are a governmental employee, you absolutely have the right as an employer to prohibit political discussions in the workplace.  The First Amendment right to freedom of speech does not apply to non-governmental actors.  Read more
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Supreme Court Update

While many of us were focused on COVID-19 over the summer, the United States Supreme Court issued three major decisions affecting the workplace.  Here is what you need to know. LGBTQ Protections The Supreme Court issued a 6-3 opinion in which the Court extended Title VII’s anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ workers.  The majority decided the case on a very simple basis – Title VII prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ workers because such discrimination is discrimination based on sex.  The relevant language from Justice Gorsuch’s opinion below explains: An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. That’s because Read more
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COVID-19 Update

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues throughout the country, employers have continued to adapt and “change” has become the norm.  Now is a good time to take stock of where we are and what employers need to know about COVID-19 in the workplace. Families First Coronavirus Response Act As a reminder, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act remains in effect through December 31, 2020.  There is potential that the current Congress or, more likely, the next Congress could either extend the law or pass further protections, but nothing is certain at this point.  It is important to keep in mind, though, Read more
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A Season of Change for Human Resources

On Saturday, June 20, we marked the official start of summer.  That day is known as the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and the day on which the sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky.  With the start of summer, we close out spring and we turn to thoughts of pool parties, backyard cookouts, and summer vacations.  This summer, though, has a different feel and a different approach in light of COVID-19; and with the start of this particular summer, we look back on a monumental spring of change for Human Resources professionals everywhere. Read more
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Enforceability of Employment Arbitration Agreements

If you are hiring new employees or developing a new employment contract, you may be wondering if you put an arbitration agreement in the contract. For many employers, arbitration agreements are preferable for resolving employment disputes that may arise at a later date. However, it is extremely important for employers to ensure that arbitration agreements are enforceable. Generally speaking, an arbitration agreement must be in place before a dispute arises for which the employer wants to compel arbitration.   What is an Arbitration Agreement?  Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which an issue is presented by two Read more
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Growing Use of Non-Compete Clauses in Employment Contracts

More employers are turning to non-compete clauses when drafting employment law agreements and contracts. In fact, according to a research paper in the University of Michigan Law School’s Law and Economics Research Paper Series, as of about five years ago, as many as 20% of employees who had employment contracts were bound by non-compete clauses. In another recent survey, as many as 40% of respondents reported having at least one job in the past at which they were required to sign a non-compete agreement. Why are non-compete clauses used and what should employers know about them? What is a Non-Compete Read more
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DOL Releases Regulations Interpreting Families First Coronavirus Response Act

CLIENT ALERT – April 2, 2020 Yesterday, the Department of Labor released temporary regulations interpreting and explaining the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) that went into effect April 1, 2020. The full DOL summary and regulations can be found at the following link: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/Pandemic/FFCRA.pdf.  In addition, the IRS released guidance regarding the FFCRA tax credits.  That guidance can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs.  While we certainly encourage you to review those links in full if you have specific questions or want all the information provided, the information at those links is quite lengthy.  In an effort to provide information Read more
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Info on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

CLIENT ALERT – March 24, 2020 Updated Information Regarding Families First Coronavirus Response Act As you know from our previous update, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed on March 18, 2020 and goes into effect on April 2, 2020. As we indicated in that update, the Department of Labor is expected to introduce regulations interpreting and applying the new law.  The Department of Labor has indicated those regulations will be released in early April. That may sound nonsensical but read below for further information and for some preliminary guidance the Department of Labor has already issued. PRELIMINARY DOL Read more