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We are continuing to monitor key trends and significant updates that affect employers across a wide variety of industries. We want to make sure we touch upon issues that are of concern to you. We invite you to take a moment and let us know what you would like to hear more about in this newsletter. Click below to email our team of attorneys.
Long COVID: A Get-Out-of-Work-Free Card?
Imagine one of your employees (let’s call her Sarah) recently contracted COVID-19, as so many workers have in the past two years. Unlike your other employees, however, Sarah’s symptoms did not subside after a few weeks. She struggles with lingering headaches, fatigue, brain fog, and shortness of breath, with no end in sight. She has long COVID. Sarah declares that because her long COVID is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), she’s entitled to work from home indefinitely and to go on intermittent leave each time her symptoms spike.
EEOC Issues First Guidance on Algorithm-Driven Employment Decisions
The last several years have seen algorithm-driven technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and other algorithmic or automated decision-making systems proliferate throughout nearly every industry, from managing the supply chain to detecting and preventing fraud and helping farmers decide what crops to plant. Employment-related decisions are no exception; employers are increasingly using algorithmic decision-making systems in the hiring and evaluation of employees, with an eye to eliminating bias and discrimination in these processes.
Is This the End of "Captive Audience" Meetings? NLRB's General Counsel Pushes for Their Abolishment
Recently the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Jennifer Abruzzo, issued GC Memo 22-04, which seeks to bar employers from convening employee meetings on working time to address union representation unless they provide employees specific assurances that participation is completely voluntary. General Counsel Abruzzo stated that despite nearly 75 years of NLRB case precedent, the practice of employers holding "captive audience" meetings was out of sync with current labor law practices. While the memorandum itself does not change the law, it does mean the General Counsel will be looking for a test case to bring to the Board. With a 57% uptick in representation petitions in the past six months, more employers will have to learn and comply with the ever-changing legal minefield that is the election process.
Education Roundup: Looking Ahead to Back-To-School Training: Benefits and Best Practices for Independent Schools
As we turn the page to summer break, it is not too early for independent school leaders to think about the next school year and plan for back-to-school training of faculty and staff. Independent schools would be wise to conduct training on such topics as harassment prevention, mandated reporting, appropriate boundaries with students, and strategies for identifying and responding to mental health concerns. Coupled with clear written policies and procedures, training provides an interactive way for employees to learn, ask questions, and be reminded of their obligations in the workplace. Below we have outlined some of the key issues and examples of state-specific requirements that independent schools should consider when conducting such training.
Matt Alsip: For many years, I was a general commercial litigator defending clients in matters ranging from securities class actions to administrative appeals of land development disputes and employment contract disputes. A recent piece of litigation – defending a local government against allegations of employment discrimination – captured my attention and led to my interest in labor and employment law. The law is rapidly evolving, the fact patterns are almost always challenging, and the clients are in ever-increasing need of quality legal representation. I hope to use my litigation experience at the trial and appellate levels to help Venable's clients.
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.