Florida News & Analysis

  • New rule extends time for COBRA elections, premium payments

    On Monday, May 4, the IRS and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) jointly published a rule in the Federal Register significantly extending the time in which employees may elect COBRA health insurance continuation coverage and begin paying their premiums in the midst of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The full text of the rule may be accessed at: www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/05/04/2020-09399/extension-of-certain-timeframes-for-employee-benefit-plans-participants-and-beneficiaries-affected. The agencies also published new model COBRA notices.

  • Guide to reopening businesses after the pandemic

    As shelter-at-home (SAH) orders for many states during the COVID-19 outbreak have begun expiring, companies across the country are starting to think about how and under what circumstances they will reopen. Although it's early in the process, several themes have emerged.

  • No FMLA retaliation because employee failed to meet monthly deadlines

    A worker who was fired for failing to timely complete required monthly reports cannot continue with her Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. A federal court in Louisiana found she didn't have any evidence that one of the reasons for her termination was untrue or that she suffered any prejudice from working during her FMLA leave.

  • Sleeping with the 'enemy': Employers urge jobless claims amid COVID-19 layoffs

    Traditionally, employers aren't in the business of giving unemployment advice to their (former) employees. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, many employers are going to great lengths to find ways to assist their employees, and in some cases, that includes recommending they apply for unemployment. We have received numerous questions from employers regarding applications for unemployment and wanted to update you regarding the changes made by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) and Governor Tate Reeves.

  • 5th Circuit changes course on whether day rate satisfies test for FLSA exemptions

    To qualify as exempt from receiving overtime pay under the administrative, executive, professional, or highly compensated employee exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employee must be paid on a "salary basis" at a rate of not less than $455 per week. Federal regulations provide an employee is paid on a salary basis if (1) he receives a predetermined amount in each pay period, on a weekly or less frequent basis, and (2) the salary is paid "without regard to the number of days or hours worked."

  • Despite COVID-19 layoffs, some employers find ways to ease the blow

    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused employers to shed workers in unprecedented numbers. When businesses closed or drastically cut services, millions of workers lost paychecks. But some employers have taken steps to protect workers still on the job and provide relief for others on reduced schedules or out of work altogether.

  • COVID-19 affects I-9 and E-Verify requirements, REAL ID deadline

    No one—no country, no industry, no employer, and no employeehas been left unaffected by the current COVID-19 pandemic. It has caused significant upheaval in the employer-employee relationship and required on-the-fly changes to employment norms. Immigration-related concerns are no exception, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been busy responding to the changing work environment, issuing revisions to the normal processes for I-9 and E-Verify requirement satisfaction and providing guidance to employers in these uncharted times. Let's take a closer look.

  • Business continuity during coronavirus lockdowns: Is my establishment essential?

    With a growing number of Americans living under lockdown orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new question has started to affect many U.S. companies: Can my business stay open during a lockdown?

  • No lifeline for scaffolding company after 'serious' safety violation

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit (whose rulings apply to employers in Louisiana and Mississippi) recently affirmed an administrative law judge's (ALJ) opinion that determined a company failed to properly raise the impossibility/infeasibility defense after being cited for a serious Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act violation. The opinion offers valuable lessons to employers about the importance of ensuring compliance with safety regulations.

  • Louisiana courts reach different conclusions on sexual harassment lawsuits

    The federal district courts in New Orleans and Shreveport recently considered cases of alleged sexual harassment in the workplace. The court in Shreveport dismissed a former employee's claim, while the court in New Orleans allowed a former employee's claim to proceed. The two cases with different outcomes offer lessons on how employers can and should respond to harassment allegations in the workplace.