Human Resources and Workplaces

Q: Does the Speak Out Act affect employer nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements?

A: Nearly five months after Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) first introduced the bipartisan Speak Out Act, President Joe Biden signed it into law on December 7, 2022. The Speak Out Act bars judicial enforcement of nondisclosure and nondisparagement clauses concerning sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations if entered into “before the dispute arises.” This ensures that “victims and survivors have the freedom to report and publicly disclose their abuse,” while still allowing employers to use nondisclosure and nondisparagement clauses in resolving a dispute once it has arisen.

Continue Reading Biden’s “Speak Out Act” Bars Use of Nondisclosure and Nondisparagement Agreements to Restrict Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Allegations

Work-life balance — does it exist? In Episode 4 of the Hiring to Firing Podcast, Troutman Pepper Partners Tracey Diamond and Evan Gibbs sit down with Debbie Epstein Henry, best-selling author, public speaker, consultant, and host of the Inspiration Loves Company podcast, to discuss the hit TV show Severance and lessons learned about work-life balance. Tune in to hear a lively discussion about ways companies can help workers find work-life balance to increase happiness and satisfaction, while maximizing effectiveness.

Continue Reading What Can the Show Severance Teach Us About Work-Life Balance?

* Michael T. Byrne is a 2021 summer associate at Troutman Pepper. He is not admitted to practice law.

Q: Are California employers required to rehire employees they laid off for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: Yes, but only if the employer falls within certain industries and establishes an open job position for which one of its laid-off employees is qualified. Under California’s Senate Bill No. 93 (SB 93), if a covered employer opens a job position and has previously laid off workers due to reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the employer must first offer the position to eligible laid-off employees within five days of establishing the position.

Continue Reading California Provides Right to Recall to Certain Employees Laid off Due to COVID-19

Q: Is medical marijuana an expense reimbursable by the employer?

A: For New Jersey employers, the answer is likely yes. Weednews reports that as of January 9, New Jersey and 34 other states have legalized marijuana for medical use, although it remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level. As a result, patients have had to pay out of pocket for medical marijuana, as insurers contend that covering the cost would violate the federal prohibition on marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Recently however, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the ruling in Hager v. M&K Construction, 462 N.J. Super. 146 (App. Div.), that an employee injured in the workplace is eligible to have medical marijuana costs reimbursed by his/her employer under New Jersey’s state workers’ compensation laws.
Continue Reading New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Costs Reimbursable in Workers’ Compensation Scenario

On July 27, 2020, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) adopted a first-of-its-kind statewide regulation mandating all employers adopt varying levels of safeguards to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In this advisory, we will address a number of the compliance questions employers face regarding the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and outline the rule’s more prominent features. While in many respects the ETS adopts existing CDC/OSHA guidance and Governor Northam’s executive orders, there are important distinctions. The ETS is more than 40 pages, but we will address its core provisions, which require employers to engage in the following:
Continue Reading Virginia Issues New COVID-19 Occupational Health and Safety Rules

Q. Have there been any changes to the CDC Guidance on testing?

A. Until late July, the CDC offered a test-based or symptom-based strategy to govern the timing of “discontinuing isolation” for a person known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19. In an abrupt change in guidance, the CDC announced a test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to discontinue home isolation, except in certain circumstances. The CDC now recommends following only a modified symptom-based strategy, which means:
Continue Reading COVID-19 Testing No Longer Generally Recommended for Discontinuing Isolation, CDC Says

Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton officially became Troutman Pepper (Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP), a national law firm of 1,100 attorneys in 23 U.S. offices. Our new firm offers clients greater resources and bench strength, enhanced practices, and expanded geographical reach.

We are now one of the 50 largest law firms in the country, with

States are re-opening in various phases, and some exercise facilities have opened their doors once again. For most states, gyms and fitness studios shuttered for months are now considering how to operate and attempt to recoup months of lost revenue while complying with strict social-distancing guidelines. Additionally, many states are seeing mandatory face covering orders for the first time.
Continue Reading Considerations for Re-Opening Gyms and Fitness Studios

Authors:
Lee E. Tankle, Associate, Pepper Hamilton
Moses M. Tincher, Associate, Troutman Sanders

As governors begin to lift stay-at-home orders and communities around the country continue to progress through various phases of reopening, employers and employees alike are starting to plan for workers to return to offices and worksites. Although many Americans are adapting to the temporary “new normal,” COVID-19 remains a threat and must continue to be taken seriously. In preparation for returning employees, employers should be asking the following questions:
Continue Reading Return to Work: Questions All Employers Should Ask Before Reopening