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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.
The Right and Wrong Ways to Electronically Monitor Employees in the Workplace
Whether because of our new "work from home" world or advances in technology (or both), many employers now electronically monitor their employees in the workplace. A variety of electronic surveillance techniques are relatively common these days – keystroke monitoring, idle time tracking, video and audio surveillance, GPS systems, and fingerprint scanning, to name a few.
EEOC: COVID-19 Workplace Testing Subject to Business Necessity Test
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently updated its guidelines to address employer COVID-19 testing policies. New guidance from the EEOC, effective July 12, 2022, changes the prior clear guidance and makes the landscape murkier for employers. Moving forward, employers will be required to assess whether continued COVID-19 testing for screening purposes is, in fact, "job related and consistent with business necessity" so as to not run afoul of the ADA.
FOIL Law Simplified
Nearly anyone who can read a newspaper understands the meaning of a FOIL or FOIA request. FOIA refers to the Freedom of Information Act, which allows a requester to obtain documents from federal agencies, while its state-based analogs, the Freedom of Information Law and other similar laws, apply in the various states. Simple enough at a high level, but even practicing lawyers with some familiarity with the statutes tense up when a client gets involved with FOIA/FOIL because of procedural twists and the more complicated details related to exceptions to production obligations. Using the New York FOIL statute as a basis for discussion, this brief article covers some of the basics that a lawyer practicing in the area should know.
Don't Wig Out: What Employers Need to Know About Discrimination Based on Natural and Protective Hair
On July 26, 2022, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair ("CROWN") Act, prohibiting discrimination against employees and students on the basis of natural and protective hair. With the passage of the CROWN Act, Massachusetts has become one of 18 states to codify protection against discrimination based on hair style and texture.
Education Roundup: Are We There Yet? COVID-19 Policy Considerations as Independent Schools Approach a Return to Normalcy
As the 2022-2023 school year begins, independent schools should revisit their COVID-19 protocols. The newer COVID-19 variants have proved to be milder than the original strain, justifying shorter self-isolation periods for affected individuals and a relaxing of federal, state, and local COVID-19 guidance.
Kyle Klein: I made the decision to focus my practice on labor and employment law because it provides me with the opportunity to work with unique clients on complex matters and allows me to draw on my knowledge of the law to guide policy formulation to prevent litigation from occurring. While it is deeply satisfying to help our clients prevail in litigation, our ability to help them prevent litigation altogether makes our job as employment lawyers that much more meaningful. I learn something new every day about our clients, and this personal interaction has allowed me to grow as an attorney and become that more prepared to provide practical and cost-efficient solutions to the wide array of workplace issues that come with operating a business in California.
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.