Arizona News & Analysis

  • Guidance for employers as 'Strike for Black Lives' unfolds

    On July 20, 2020, organizers and labor organizations across the country held a "Strike for Black Lives"—a national walkout of workers in support of "dismantling racism and white su-premacy to bring about fundamental changes in our society, economy and workplaces." To limit liability and keep their businesses running, employers must understand employees' legal rights to participate in a one-day political strike. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has inter-preted the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to provide important protections to employees who engage in such strikes, and employers should respect the analysis and respond accordingly.

  • WA employers get much-needed guidance on paid sick leave law, new overtime rules

    Employers have been awaiting guidance from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) about the state's paid sick leave law passed in 2016 and new overtime rules announced in 2019 and effective July 1, 2020. Over the last few months, L&I has been busy and recently adopted new employment standards (ES) administrative policies for the two wage and hour topics.

  • Oregon court rules on protection for infectious disease whistleblower

    A recent Oregon court decision based on facts arising long before COVID-19 may shed light on some of the issues facing employers when employees raise virus-related safety concerns.

  • What businesses should know about OSHA's supplemental reopening guidance

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued guidance on returning to work for businesses deemed nonessential. The guidance is intended to supplement the agency's previously issued guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19 as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) guidelines for "Opening Up America Again." OSHA's guidance is also supposed to supplement state and local information and reopening requirements. You can use the guidance to develop policies and procedures to ensure your employees' safety and health.

  • CDC revamps recs for symptomatic employees, but COVID-19 testing can continue

    Increasing evidence shows most people with mild to moderate COVID-19 are no longer infectious 10 days after they begin having symptoms. Consequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suddenly switched course and started discouraging people from getting tested a second time after they recover. Regardless, employers may still require a negative test before letting infected employees return to the workplace.

  • Adapt or die? Looking ahead to a post-COVID workplace

    It didn't take a worldwide public health crisis to pique people's curiosity about what the workplace of the future will look like. Managers and frontline staff alike have always pondered the best designs for productivity, efficiency, and safety. But COVID-19 has changed everything. The workplaces that are reopening in many cases have a different look and feel than anyone expected prepandemic. Temperature checks at building entrances, plexiglass barriers, spaced-out desks, and occupancy limits for elevators are just a few of the changes now in place in many workplaces. Some of the modifications may be short-lived, but experts, including designers and futurists, expect others will be long-term or even permanent.

  • Discord over foreign workers has long history, elusive solution

    The fate of foreign workers in the United States remains up in the air amid the worldwide public health crisis and political disputes related to immigration and foreign worker programs. The COVID-19 pandemic had already slowed or stopped authorization of many foreign workers when the Trump administration in June restricted visas for some classes of foreign workers. The administration's action came on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that was at least a temporary win for certain young immigrant workers already in the United States. Then President Donald Trump hinted at more change on the way for those immigrants. So, the signals are mixed, making uncertainty the key word for foreign workers and their employers.

  • What are employers to do? Judge tosses parts of DOL regs covering FFCRA leave

    On August 3, 2020, a New York district court judge struck down portions of the U.S. De-partment of Labor's (DOL) final rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The case was filed by the state of New York under the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the process by which federal agencies develop and issue regulations. Rejecting the DOL's bid to dismiss the claims, the district court vacated (or tossed out) four separate provisions of the final rule on the grounds they exceeded the agency's authority under the statute. How the decision will affect employers outside New York is uncertain. Let's take a closer look.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Poll shows confidence in remote work. A recent edition of LinkedIn's Workforce Confidence Index released in May gives HR professionals food for thought as they consider the future. The survey shows that 55% of respondents think their industry can be effective when people work remotely. Optimism is strongest in such fields as software, finance, and media, a LinkedIn blog post said. But remote work is a "polarizing topic" in other sectors in which in-person interaction is crucial, according to the blog. Forty-eight percent of respondents in health care were optimistic about remote work, and 41% in manufacturing were keen on the idea. The most resistance was noted in retail, with just 29% of insiders thinking their industry could thrive with remote work. The poll included 5,447 LinkedIn members and covered the week of April 27 to May 3.

  • Federal Watch

    DOL offering unemployment fraud prevention resources. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued updated resources for employers, employees, and states to prevent fraud or misuse in the unemployment insurance system, including the unemployment insurance programs under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The DOL in May released resources that include lists of fraud hotlines and frequently asked questions. The agency reminded employers and employees of their obligations to report fraud, waste, or abuse. Examples of employer fraud include acting to avoid tax liability and establishing fictitious employer accounts to enable fraudulent claims, the DOL said. Claimant fraud may include knowingly submitting false information, knowingly continuing to collect benefits when ineligible, certifying for benefits under state law while not being able and available to work, or intentionally collecting full benefits while not reporting wages or income.