Ohio News & Analysis

  • 4 CARES Act takeaways to help employers understand jobless benefits system

    On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law, providing an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the CARES Act has a number of employment-related provisions, a central piece of the legislation expands existing unemployment insurance programs, making far more individuals eligible and providing greater benefits than existing programs. Understanding the impact of the new unemployment insurance landscape and the options available will inform employers as they make critical decisions suited to their circumstances and workforce.

  • Does workers' comp cover injuries while working from home?

    "Do I have to pay workers' compensation benefits to an employee who trips on her dog and injures her knee while working from home?" This may not be the first question on employers' minds as they adjust to the new norm of working from home. It's something you should start thinking about, however, as the new work-from-home operations get up and running during the COVID-19 outbreak. The answer, though—as is the case with many legal questions—is, it depends. The situation is highly fact-intensive, and the law doesn't yet provide any clear guidance. But there are steps you can take to protect your business from liability and employees from injuries. Read on for guidance on where the law stands and what you should do.

  • DOL issues brief guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an initial and informal set of "Questions and Answers" (Q&As) to assist employers in complying with the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Below is a short summary of a few of the answers provided.

  • Coronavirus-related protests about pay, working conditions may be protected activity

    During the COVID-19 outbreak, many employees in essential lines of work have begun seeking increased "hazard" pay and enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE). We've seen reports of informational picketing and ministrikes by healthcare workers over what they say are unsafe working conditions, such as the lack of high-grade masks and other safety equipment. Among the whirl of information and issues arising from the coronavirus, it's important to remember many of the demands and forms of protest constitute "concerted activity" protected by federal labor law.

  • Wrestling with paid sick leave for both parents when schools close for pandemic

    With schools closed for the COVID-19 pandemic, both parents in two-parent households may want to stay home while shelter-in-place orders are in effect. Will they be eligible for monetary relief and protection under new sweeping federal legislation? The answer is especially critical if both work for the same employer.

  • MI updates stay-at-home order; Oakland County requires face masks

    On April 9, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order (EO) 2020-42, which extended her prior "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order through April 20. She has now extended the order's date through Friday, May 28.

  • Supervisor's failure to approve leave may trash waste hauling company

    A truck driver needed to care for his wife who had stomach cancer. He asked for time off work, but his supervisor dissuaded him from taking the leave. Eventually, the driver contacted HR and was approved for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. All's well that ends well, right? Maybe not, said a federal court in Chicago.

  • Disability doesn't protect poor performance or erratic, unexcused absences

    In a recent ruling, the 7th Circuit (whose rulings apply to all Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin employers) emphasized that a disability neither allows poor performance nor entitles an employee to erratic, unexcused absences. Recognizing regular attendance as a basic requirement of most jobs, the 7th Circuit upheld summary judgment (dismissal without a trial) in favor of the employer when the employee failed to show she was qualified to perform her essential job functions, due in part to unexcused absences.

  • MI governor issues stay-at-home EO, closes nonessential businesses

    On March 23, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-21, titled Stay Safe, Stay Home, ordering Michigan residents to temporarily "suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life." The order, to be "construed broadly," prohibits any nonessential in-person work effective March 24 at 12:01 a.m.

  • COVID-19 raises critical questions about employee testing

    The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for any employer seeking to provide a healthy working environment. To help mitigate some of the uncertainty, on March 18, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance for employers considering screening and testing protocols for employees and job applicants. The efforts, along with a growing patchwork of state and local laws, are intended to slow the spread of infections.