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Volume XII, Number 224


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#WorkforceWednesday: 2020 in Review and What’s to Come in 2021

It’s our first #WorkforceWednesday of 2021! The past year tested our resilience, and COVID-19 forced everyone to think creatively and adapt quickly. Nowhere was that seen more clearly than in the workplace.

Workplace Safety and Return to Work

Workplace safety has been a major priority from the start of the pandemic, and return-to-work planning has been a moving target amid surges across the country. The end of the year brought welcome news on the vaccine front, which raises important issues around Americans with Disabilities Act and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission compliance.

Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Remote Work

With shifts in workplace policies and guidelines came new cybersecurity issues. What was a challenge in the office became a herculean effort with a remote workforce. With more employees returning to work in 2021, employers are seeking to balance workplace safety with privacy concerns around personal information.

Employee Leave and Benefits

As the virus spread, federal and state legislation required additional employee leave and benefits. Already, lawmakers have granted employers the ability to extend emergency paid sick leave through March 31, 2021. Employers also took it upon themselves to offer new benefits and wellness offerings to help employees grappling with the pressures of the pandemic.

Other Highlights

New Year, New President, New Wage-Hour Issues

As President-Elect Biden’s inauguration nears, employers are closely watching key wage-hour issues that are likely to change, including the federal minimum wage, the criteria for classifying independent contractors, the joint-employer rule, and the use of class and collective action waivers. Read more here

Updates from the States

  • Before the New Year, business groups in California sued Cal-OSHA to stop the implementation or enforcement of the agency’s sweeping COVID-19 requirements. Despite these challenges, unless and until the regulations are withdrawn, invalidated, or expire, there could be consequences for noncompliance.

  • New Jersey may grant businesses in the state immunity from lawsuits related to workers’ or customers’ exposure to COVID-19. 

  • New York has enacted a law requiring that single-occupancy restrooms be gender-neutral. Employers should prepare by ensuring that all single-occupancy restrooms on their premises are clearly designated as gender-neutral.

 &  contributed to this piece.

©2022 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 6

About this Author

Brian G. Cesaratto, Epstein Becker, Employment benefits Litigation Lawyer, Workforce Management attorney

BRIAN G. CESARATTO is a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practices, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green.

Mr. Cesaratto's practice includes complex commercial litigation, criminal defense, internal and law enforcement investigations, employment litigation, and computer and electronic data misappropriation and forensics.

Denise Merna Dadika, Epstein Becker Green, Discrimination Policy Attorney, Employee Relations Lawyer

DENISE MERNA DADIKA is a Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm's Newark office.

Ms. Dadika:

  • Represents employers in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies on issues involving harassment, discrimination, retaliation, breach of employment contracts, wage and hour compliance, tort claims, and restrictive covenants

  • Counsels employers on day-to-day workplace issues, including...

Nathaniel M. Glasser, Epstein Becker, Labor, Employment Attorney, Publishing

NATHANIEL M. GLASSER is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the Washington, DC, office of Epstein Becker Green. His practice focuses on the representation of leading companies and firms, including publishing and media companies, financial services institutions, and law firms, in all areas of labor and employment relations.

Mr. Glasser’s experience includes:

  • Defending clients in employment litigation, from single-plaintiff to class action disputes,...

RyAnn McKay Hooper Epstein Becker Green  Associate Labor Management Relations  Employment Litigation
Senior Counsel

RYANN McKAY HOOPER is an Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. She focuses her practice on representing employers in all aspects of labor and employment law.

Specifically, Ms. Hooper:

  • Represents clients before the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) and other federal and state agencies, and in federal and state courts

  • Provides representation to employers in unfair labor practice (ULP) and union representation proceedings and appeals...

Cassandra Labbees, Epstein Becker Green Law Firm, Employee Benefits Attorney

CASSANDRA LABBEES is an Associate in the Employee Benefits practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green.

Ms. Labbees:

  • Advises clients on designing, implementing, maintaining, administering, and terminating employee benefit plans, such as defined contribution, defined benefit, and health and welfare plans

  • Counsels clients on HIPAA privacy and security compliance issues and on their fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA

  • ...