Ohio News & Analysis

  • At the end of rainbow: looking past COVID-19

    Last March, in a matter of days, most U.S. employers went from doing business as usual to fully or partially shutting down. At the same time, we watched the stock market tank and wondered if we would ever return to normal. One way or another, most employers regrouped and reenvisioned how they conducted their businesses, and employees adapted to working from home with kids attending school virtually. Now that we see light at the end of the tunnel, it's worthwhile to consider what the new normal may be like when we finally reach herd immunity.

  • NLRB GC rescinds Trump-era memos, signaling shift toward new policy objectives

    Signaling the beginning of a likely major policy shift, Peter Ohr, acting General Counsel (GC) of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), recently revoked 12 administrative guidance memoranda issued by his predecessor, Peter Robb. Both union and nonunion employers should keep a close eye on further action by the new GC.

  • OSHA strengthens federal guidance on COVID-19 workplace safety

    On January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) directing the labor secretary, acting through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to issue "revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic" and release, if deemed necessary, "emergency temporary standards" by March 15. On January 29, OSHA published updated guidance, titled "Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace."

  • Staffing firms considered 'retail or service' for FLSA overtime purposes

    The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently issued an opinion letter declaring staffing firms may be considered a "retail or service establishment." Therefore, they pass the threshold question for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay exemption. Even though the opinion letter was specific to staffing firms, it may have a broader impact on other businesses that historically haven't been thought of as "retail."

  • IL Supreme Court confirms retaliatory discharge applies only to at-will employees

    More than 40 years ago, the Illinois Supreme Court first recognized the tort (wrongful act) of retaliatory discharge as an exception to the general rule that an "at-will" employee is terminable at any time and for any or no cause. Now, the court for the first time has confirmed such claims don't cover the nonrenewal of a fixed-term contract.

  • Illinois Supreme Court adopts religious ministerial exemption

    We've written about court decisions applying judicial doctrines under the First Amendment to bar some types of employment claims against religious entities. The Illinois Supreme Court has now weighed in.

  • Examining what a post-COVID 'new normal' workplace may look like

    When the COVID-triggered exodus away from the office began a year ago, most workers expected their work from home (WFH) arrangements to be short-lived. But the pandemic wore on, leaving many pining for the good old days when they could enjoy the benefits of working alongside coworkers. But others came to appreciate the benefits of WFH arrangements, such as more flexibility and no commutes through frustrating traffic.

  • Employers facing new climate related to contingent workers

    The debate over what makes a worker an employee versus an independent contractor has been raging for years—throughout presidential administrations of both political parties. Sometimes employers work under a strict interpretation of worker classification, but at other times, the definition of employee seems to ease a bit. Just days before the end of the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a rule making it easier to justify an independent contractor classification, but President Joe Biden's administration was able to freeze that rule since it had not yet taken effect. Signs point to stricter rules ahead even as the popularity of various kinds of contingent workers remains strong.

  • Top 3 employee mobility, restrictive covenant issues to watch for in 2021

    As the COVID-19 cloud starts to lift (thanks to several vaccines), we expect employers will slowly begin to reopen their offices, employees will travel more, and the job market may revert back to the low unemployment levels predating the coronavirus' onset in early 2020. The ever-changing landscape of restrictive covenants, including noncompetes and nonsolicitation agreemnents, certainly could affect the looming employment-related activity. Here are our early predictions for the top three related hot-button issues to look out for this year.

  • Terminating employee with COVID-19 for exposing coworkers

    Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things about how companies operate, most employers still have formal disciplinary policies establishing ground rules for employee conduct and setting out consequences for failure to meet the expectations. If an employee still required to work in person has been exposed to the coronavirus and gotten tested without notifying her employer (and later is confirmed positive), can she be fired for violating a formal disciplinary policy prohibiting actions that pose a danger to others or jeopardize the business's safe and efficient operations?