April 29, 2021

Labor and Employment Newsletter

4 min


The PRO Act: Congress to Consider Landmark Changes to the NLRA

Last month, the United States House of Representatives voted 225 to 206 to pass the Protect the Right to Organize Act ("PRO Act"). If enacted into law in its current form, the PRO Act would implement sweeping changes to the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), intended to strengthen workers' rights to unionize and bargain collectively. The bill was sent to the United States Senate, and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Although support for the PRO Act has grown recently in the Senate, many experts predict that it will fail to garner enough bipartisan support to overcome a Republican filibuster, effectively stalling the legislation.

New Mental Health Parity Documentation Requirements: Considerations for Employers That Sponsor Group Health Plans

At the end of 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) was signed into law. The CAA amended the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and requires group health plans that provide mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits and medical and surgical (Med/Surg) benefits to prepare a comparative analysis regarding nonquantitative treatment limits (NQTLs). As of February 10, 2021, group health plans must be prepared to provide their NQTL comparative analysis to a requesting governmental authority. On April 2, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Treasury (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued FAQs to help group health plans understand their compliance obligations.

In It for the Long Haul: ADA and FMLA Implications for COVID-19 "Long Haul" Symptoms

With vaccine distribution well under way, more employers are beginning or continuing to plan how to safely return their workforce to the office. When implementing reopening policies, employers should be mindful of a worrisome trend among those who have recovered from the coronavirus but are still suffering from continuing psychological and physical complications. As employees return to the workplace, employers must now consider whether these individuals, colloquially referred to as COVID-19 "long haulers," may be covered under federal, state, and local disability and medical leave laws.

Teachers, Teens, and Tweets: Developing Effective Social Media Policies for Independent Schools

Social media is the "modern public square," as the Supreme Court once noted. All too often, however, employees and students forget this and behave on social media in a manner that they would not if interacting in person. Hiding behind the blue light of a smartphone, they feel a sense of anonymity, or perhaps become emboldened. Furthermore, privacy settings and automatic deletion on certain applications can create a false sense of security.

Attorney Spotlight

t biviano
"What is the best part of practicing employment law?”

Teresa Biviano:  My favorite aspect of the practice of employment and labor law is that employment truly resonates with everyone’s lived experience—whether an individual is retiring after a long, fulfilling career or is just starting their foray into the working world as a teenaged summer camp leader (like I did!), their employment is a profoundly personal and important aspect of their lives.  This was particularly apparent to me in my prior career as a law school administrator for a liberal arts university, where I wore numerous hats, including manager, supervisor, liaison to other university academic departments, and active university community member.  I saw firsthand how a dynamic environment like a university presents a wide variety of daily challenges—from legal and regulatory compliance, to interpersonal conflict and personnel resolutions, and even constitutional considerations like free speech and privacy issues.  These are the same challenges that our clients face and which we help them navigate.  I feel fortunate that I get to work in a practice area that is fast-paced and ever-changing and requires a thoughtful approach.  And, importantly, the work we do in the Labor and Employment Group genuinely matters to our clients and their constituents. 

About the Labor and Employment Group

The bicoastal, 40-person Labor and Employment team at Venable provides guidance and support across the full spectrum of workplace dynamics – helping employers control costs, avoid disputes, and defend themselves when litigation arises. As co-editors of this newsletter, Michael Volpe and Doreen Martin invite you to share the content with your colleagues and reach out with any questions.