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

COVID Vaccine Mandates Are Surviving Legal Scrutiny

Since COVID-19 vaccinations first became available at the beginning of 2021, colleges and universities have been struggling with whether to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students, facility, and staff. Although colleges and universities have routinely required certain vaccinations in the past, some legal commentators have argued that the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are subject to Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) rather than approved through a full FDA process prevented colleges and universities from mandating that students,… More

President Biden Takes First Step to Limit Non-Compete Agreements Nationally

President Biden promised during his campaign that if elected he would take federal action against non-competition agreements. On July 9, 2021, Biden issued a broad executive order aimed at making good on that promise. He asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue a rule either banning or limiting non-competition agreements. Such a rule, he said, will promote competition and raise wages, by removing barriers to job mobility.

Non-competition agreements are widely used in private industry,… More

EEOC Updates COVID-19 Guidance, Authorizes Employer Vaccine Incentives

On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) updated its guidance concerning COVID-19 vaccinations in the employment context.  Most significantly, the EEOC offered long-awaited guidance on the permissibility of employer programs that offer incentives to employees who receive COVID-19 vaccinations, providing that such programs are permissible if the incentives offered are “non-coercive.”

As employers prepare to return employees to the physical workplace, many have shied away from mandating employee vaccinations.… More

New York State Enacts Workplace Safety Requirements

On May 5, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act into law, which will require New York State employers to implement workplace health and safety standards to protect their workers from airborne infectious diseases. The so-called HERO Act, adopted in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is designed to protect workers from contracting future viruses in the workplace by reducing transmission and community spread.… More