On December 17, 2021, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) held that an employee has a cause of action against an employer for wrongful discharge where the employer terminates the employee for exercising the right to file a rebuttal to a document in the employee’s personnel record under the Massachusetts Personnel Record Statute. The SJC concluded in Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc. that the employer’s conduct under these circumstances would violate the public policy exception to at-will employment.… More
New York City Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Private Employers
On December 6, 2021, New York City announced a vaccine mandate for all private-sector employers that will take effect on December 27, 2021. The mandate, which will require all in-person employees who are in a workplace with other co-workers to be vaccinated, will affect roughly 184,000 private-sector businesses.
The City will release additional guidance, including information on enforcement and reasonable accommodations, on December 15, 2021. While more information is forthcoming,… More
New York Passes Law Requiring Employers to Provide Notice to Employees of Electronic Monitoring
On November 8, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a bill requiring employers to provide written notice to and obtain employee acknowledgments from new hires before they may engage in electronic monitoring of their employees. New York joins Connecticut and Delaware as the only states with such a requirement.
The law, which amends the New York Civil Rights Law and becomes effective May 7, 2022,… More
Minimum Wage Increased to $15 Per Hour for Federal Contractors
On November 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a Final Rule that will increase the minimum wage for employees who work on federal contracts. The Final Rule implements Executive Order 14026, which President Biden executed on April 27, 2021.
The Final Rule, which applies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and specified U.S. territories, does the following:
- Increases the hourly minimum wage for employees performing work on or in connection with covered federal contracts to $15 per hour beginning on January 30,…
Department of Labor Issues New Rule Limiting Use of Tip Credits
On October 28, 2021, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new rule affecting employers with tipped employees. The rule limits the circumstances under which employers may take a “tip credit” against an employee’s wages – thus reducing the minimum wage the employee must be paid – to time the employee is actually performing tipped work or engaged in activity that “directly supports” tip-producing work.
Federal rules surrounding the tip credit have undergone significant changes over the past few years.… More
EEOC Updates Guidance on Religious Exemptions to Workplace Vaccine Requirements
On October 25, 2021, as more employers adopt workplace vaccination requirements for their employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) updated its guidance concerning requiring COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace. Most significantly, the EEOC offered guidance on employers’ Title VII obligation to accommodate employees with religious objections to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
The new guidance makes clear that, to be eligible for an accommodation under Title VII,… More
Massachusetts Extends and Expands COVID-19-Related Emergency Paid Sick Law
On September 29, 2021, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law an extension to the Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) program. As we wrote about in detail here, the EPSL program requires Massachusetts employers to provide paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work for certain reasons relating to COVID-19. Originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2021 or when funding expired, the EPSL program has now been extended to April 30,… More
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Broadly Interprets Anti-Retaliation Provision of Domestic Violence Leave Statute
On August 25, 2021, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Osborne-Trussell v. Children’s Hospital Corporation that a nurse whose employment was terminated prior to her start date after disclosing to her employer that her abuser had violated the terms of a harassment prevention order could pursue a claim against her employer for violation of the Massachusetts Domestic Violence and Abuse Leave Act’s (“DVLA”) anti-retaliation and non-interference provisions.… More
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rules Mislabeled Administrative Fee Must Be Paid to Service Employees Under Tips Act
On August 23, 2021, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Hovagimian v. Concert Blue Hill, LLC, that the Massachusetts Tips Act requires that an employer pay service employees any “service charge” listed on an invoice to customers, even if the employer and customer intended the charge to be an administrative fee employers are permitted to retain under the Tips Act. The ruling serves as an important reminder to employers in the hospitality industry to be diligent and accurate in invoicing customers to avoid violating the Tips Act.… More
Watch Now: Adjusting COVID-19 Protocols Amid the Rise of the Delta Variant
Early in the summer, many employers felt that the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccinations, rapidly declining numbers of COVID-19 infections, and less restrictive CDC guidance, permitted them to relax their COVID-19 protocols and begin the process of returning employees to physical workspace. With the rise of the Delta variant and changing CDC guidance for vaccinated individuals, however, many employers have begun to reevaluate and amend their plans.
Please join Foley Hoag partners Christopher Feudo and Colin Zick for a discussion of the shifting COVID-19 landscape in the United States,… More