Allowing non-exempt workers to work unsupervised from home has always been a big no-no in the wage-hour world. Allowing this exposes the employer to claims for unpaid hours, and unpaid overtime, from  federal, state, and local laws with unforgiving penalties. Recognizing the number of non-exempt employees working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, the federal

On September 14, 2020, Ohio passed and the Governor signed House Bill 606, which provides qualified immunity to healthcare providers and employers who are accused of spreading COVID-19. It will become effective on December 13, 2020 (90 days after signed into law).

Section 1 of the law provides qualified immunity to healthcare providers providing services

The EEOC updated its Q&As on COVID-19 and the pandemic in light of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. The highlights are as follows:

  • Employers may:
    • Require accurate and reliable COVID-19 tests in order to decide who may return to work when employees will be physically entering the workplace.
    • Ask employees who will be physically

On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum allowing employees to have a tax “holiday” deferring the normal employee payroll tax withholding for social security (6.2% of wages) from September 1-December 31, 2020. This was designed to provide a much needed boost to employees in their take-home pay. Unfortunately, it comes with a

A New York federal judge struck down or limited several of the Department of Labor (DOL)’s restrictions on federal COVID-19 paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA): (1) work availability requirement, (2) healthcare worker exemption, (3) intermittent leave employer consent, and (4) requirement to submit documentation before taking leave.

Work availability requirement

Governor DeWine signed an executive order on June 16, 2020 that provides exceptions to the general rule that employees may not refuse to return to the workplace following a COVID-19 pandemic layoff or work-at-home situation. Employees with “good cause” may remain at home and refuse to work and still receive unemployment benefits. Good cause includes:

OSHA released a guide to nonessential businesses on safely returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses should review this guidance, keeping in mind that businesses have a duty under OSHA’s general duty clause to keep employee’s safe. Following this guidance could operate as a defense to an employee safety complaint related to COVID-19 protections.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t involuntarily exclude employees based on being over the age of 65 and thus “high risk” for contracting COVID-19. Doing so is illegal, even if the motivation is to keep the employees safe.
  • Likewise, don’t involuntarily exclude pregnant workers based on perceived virus risk to the employee or her child.
  • Don’t require COVID-19 antibody