Author: Rebecca Bernhard

As States Reopen, Can Employees Refuse to Return to Work Based on Fear of Exposure to COVID-19?

As States Reopen, Can Employees Refuse to Return to Work Based on Fear of Exposure to COVID-19?

As many states progress through different phases of reopening, companies are preparing for their employees to return to work. Employers are also noting, however, that some states are seeing COVID-19 cases surge.  This has generated some concerns from employees who do not want to return to the work place. Can employers require employees to return to work if the employees...

Litigation may be Key in Response to Rising Denials of Employment-Based Visas. What Strategies Should Employers Consider when Hiring or Retaining Noncitizen Professionals?

Litigation may be Key in Response to Rising Denials of Employment-Based Visas. What Strategies Should Employers Consider when Hiring or Retaining Noncitizen Professionals?

Many U.S. employers have recently experienced frustration over legal obstacles to keeping high quality foreign-national employees. These valuable employees have often been with the company since finishing a degree and sometimes even interning with the employer. Other employers experience delays in hiring foreign nationals needed for specialized positions despite the obvious qualifications of the candidate. These employers’ frustrations reflect the...

Which Provisions of California’s So-Called ‘Sanctuary State’ Legislation Affecting Employers are Currently in Effect?

Which Provisions of California’s So-Called ‘Sanctuary State’ Legislation Affecting Employers are Currently in Effect?

While portions of California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act have been enjoined, employers remain subject to notice obligations. California passed a statute limiting the extent to which employers could cooperate with federal immigration officials. Litigation quickly ensued, and a recent decision enjoined enforcement of part of the law, while leaving other provisions unaffected. With the speed of the news cycle, employers...

“Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”:  How to get yourself fired for a Facebook post

“Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”: How to get yourself fired for a Facebook post

Social media has created a minefield of concerns for both employees and employers. The news is full of stories of employees documenting their questionable off-duty conduct on social media, or posting comments containing racist or derogatory remarks. Often, the employer—or sometimes, the rest of the online community—will demand that the employee be fired. In such a scenario many employers may...

Second Circuit Holds Pro-Union Sentiment Outweighs Impropriety of Profanity-Laden Rant Against Supervisor, His Mother, and “His Entire ****ing Family”

Second Circuit Holds Pro-Union Sentiment Outweighs Impropriety of Profanity-Laden Rant Against Supervisor, His Mother, and “His Entire ****ing Family”

Use of profanity by employees, whether in the workplace, outside the workplace, or on social media, presents difficult legal issues for the employer, as highlighted by a recent Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning the firing of an employee who engaged in a highly profane Facebook rant against a supervisor. Although an employer has a justifiable interest in keeping...

Court Halts DOL Rule Set To Extend Overtime To Millions on December 1

Court Halts DOL Rule Set To Extend Overtime To Millions on December 1

In an unexpected decision, on Tuesday, November 22nd, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against implementation of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL’s”) controversial final Rule expanding overtime eligibility for millions of workers, which was set to take effect on December 1st. The DOL’s new Rule, issued on May 18, 2016, nearly...

OSHA Weighs in on Retaliation and Drug Testing

OSHA Weighs in on Retaliation and Drug Testing

QUESTION: We conduct drug testing whenever an employee is injured at work or in involved in an accident. I recently read that this may violate OSHA’s anti-retaliation rule. How can that be? I would think OSHA would want employers to drug test to keep workplaces drug-free and safe.

Quirky Question #288:  Zika in the Workplace?

Quirky Question #288: Zika in the Workplace?

Question: We have been flooded with coverage of Zika, from the Rio Olympics to the recent travel restrictions in Miami As an employer, I want to be prepared and proactive to protect my employees, but I am also concerned about overreacting. I understand there are many reported cases of Zika, but only six cases where the individual actually became infected with...

Quirky Question #279: Concerted Activity in 140 Characters or Less

Question: I am a manager in a medium-sized retailer that has locations and employees in 16 states.  The company maintains a social media policy, which was recently updated.  Last week, I noticed that one of our employees posted some pretty nasty things about the company on Twitter.  She accused the company of not treating employees fairly because some had to...

Quirky Question #269: Like it or Not – Facebook Post Protected Under the NLRA

Question: I own a small manufacturing company that employs 25-35 employees, depending on our workload.  Over the years, a number of my customers and my employees have “friended” me on Facebook.  Last week, I saw that one of our employees had posted a comment that I don’t pay enough overtime and that I’m, “f—ing cheap,” because I don’t give enough...