President Signs EO Loosening Health Care Regulations

On October 12, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) entitled “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” The much-anticipated EO directs the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to work on drafting rules and guidance to loosen regulations on insurance and to change the way in which individuals and employers purchase insurance in order to achieve three primary objectives:

  • Expand access to “Association Health Plans” (“AHPs”)
  • Expand availability of short-term limited duration insurance (“STLDI”)
  • Expand availability and permitted use of Health Reimbursement Accounts (“HRAs”)

According to the EO,… More

President Trump Issues a New Travel Ban

On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued the third version of his travel ban entitled “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats.” This order suspends entry into the United States under most circumstances for nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, and North Korea. It also suspends entry into the United States for certain officials of the Venezuelan government and their immediate family members.… More

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Cap Subject H-1B Petitions

As of Tuesday, September 19, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed accepting requests for premium processing for cap subject petitions. The process is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions, since USCIS received enough petitions in April to meet the FY 2018 cap. Premium processing of H1B visas was suspended in April to handle the huge rush of new petitions. However,… More

President Trump Rescinds the DACA (“Dreamer”) Program

On September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that had been in place since June 15, 2012. The Trump Administration states it will delay enforcement of this decision for six months, allowing Congress a window of opportunity to pass legislation to protect undocumented immigrants who are currently covered by the program.… More

EEOC’s Collection of Pay Data Delayed

On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) initiated a review of the EEOC’s pay data collection rule. As a result, the EEOC’s collection of pay data, which was to have begun on March 31, 2018, has been stayed indefinitely.

The EEOC adopted the pay data collection rule in September 2016. Under the rule, employers with 100 or more employees would be required to report employee pay data to the EEOC annually on updated Employer Information Report forms (EEO-1s),… More

USCIS Announces Expanded In-Person Interview Requirement

US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has announced that beginning October 1, 2017, it will require far more people to appear at its offices for in-person interviews – a change that could potentially impact hundreds of thousands of people applying for permanent residence status.

Specifically, USCIS will be phasing in interviews for all employment-based green card applicants as well as asylees and refugees who are petitioning for a spouse or child to join them in the United States.… More

Massachusetts Adopts New Workplace Protections for Pregnant Workers

Yesterday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”) into law. The PWFA, which will go into effect on April 1, 2018, requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees upon their request. The final version of the law combines the bill passed in May 2017 by the Massachusetts House of Representatives with a similar bill approved by the Massachusetts Senate in June 2017.… More

Massachusetts SJC Extends Job Protections to Medical Marijuana Users

In a landmark decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) ruled on Monday that an employee who is fired for testing positive for marijuana due to her lawful off-duty use of medical marijuana can pursue a claim of handicap discrimination against her former employer. With the ruling, Massachusetts has become the first state to afford such job protections to workers who lawfully use medical marijuana. Moreover, the ruling essentially precludes Massachusetts employers from adopting blanket drug-free workplace policies.… More

New Massachusetts Employer Assessment Intended to Deter MassHealth Enrollment

Since the beginning of this year’s legislative session, Governor Baker has expressed concern over the growth in enrollment in MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program. A look at the numbers explains why. Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in 2014, there were 1.3 million people enrolled in MassHealth. By April of this year, that number had increased by 28.4%, to nearly 1.7 million state residents.… More

SJC Rules Wage Act Plaintiffs Are Entitled to Prejudgment Interest, But Not on Treble Damages

Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) resolved a contested issue under the Massachusetts Wage Act, ruling that successful Wage Act plaintiffs are entitled to prejudgment interest on the unpaid wages and other benefits they are awarded. However, the SJC held that employees cannot recover interest on the liquidated damages they are awarded for Wage Act violations.

The SJC’s decision in George, et al.… More