Seyfarth Synopsis: Here is quick review and summary of our employment law blogs posted over the last two months, as a way to keep you connected and aware of our latest thought leadership. As always, readers are encouraged to reach out to our authors with any comments or questions raised from the blog.
Seyfarth Synopsis: In a rare appellate decision on enforceability of non-disclosure agreements and a plaintiff’s burden to establish the existence of trade secrets, the First Circuit recently overturned a district court summary judgment order and trial verdict. This decision serves as an important reminder for both those who litigate trade secrets claims and those who draft restrictive covenants agreements.
Seyfarth Synopsis: Athleisure company is rightfully able to terminate the employment of individual with physical limitations, despite that individual’s ability to delegate such functions of her position. See Tonyan v. Dunham’s Athleisure Corp., No. 19-2939 (7th Cir. 2020).
Seyfarth Synopsis: Some states are known for setting high legislative bars with respect to employment rights and protections (looking at you, California). The State of Georgia isn’t one of them. Earlier this month, however, the Peach State broke its mold by enacting one of the most stringent lactation break laws in the country.
Seyfarth Synopsis: On August 18, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment on a plaintiff’s associational disability discrimination and retaliation claims, finding the plaintiff failed to support his allegations with sufficient evidence. The decision prevents plaintiffs with associational discrimination claims from relying on unsupported allegations of “distraction” to explain their poor performance, and reinforces a plaintiff’s obligation to present evidence establishing adverse employment actions in support of their discrimination and retaliation claims.
Seyfarth Synopsis: The CDC published guidance aimed at assisting retail and service companies in limiting workplace violence against or involving their employees that may be associated with enforcing face mask mandates and other COVID-19 precautions.
Seyfarth Synopsis: Managing employees engaged in potentially protected activity can be tricky when disciplinary and other normal employment actions might be misconstrued as unlawful retaliation. A recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, however, makes clear that employers may manage employees engaged in protected activity, and that an employee can lose statutory protection when engaging in otherwise protected activity in an unreasonable manner.
Seyfarth Synopsis: On September 8, 2020, the EEOC updated its Technical Assistance Q&A webpage to address 18 new questions regarding the application of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO laws to employers continuing to face the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest guidance addresses issues such as COVID-19 testing and screening, confidentiality, and reasonable accommodations. The latest guidance is a critical “must read” for all employers with employees in the workplace or providing alternative work arrangements.
Seyfarth Synopsis: Because of the current political and social climate, employers are seeing increased political activity by employees at work and on social media—from wearing masks with political and social messages to posting on Facebook about protests and elections. Across the country, employers face unique challenges in managing political expression. Our panel of experts will discuss the key practical and legal considerations, and broader social implications, as employers attempt to navigate this era of polarized political opinions and look ahead towards the November elections.
Seyfarth Synopsis: With telework seeming like the new normal for many, employers and employees have been wondering whether pandemic telework will be seen as creating a presumptive right to post-pandemic telework as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities. On September 8, 2020, the EEOC answered “no” to this burning question in its updated “Technical Assistance Questions and Answers” on issues dealing with COVID-19 and the ADA and other equal employment opportunity laws.
Seyfarth Synopsis: Cal/OSHA, in a press release, noted that it recently issued citations to a food manufacturer and its temporary employment agency, with over $200,000 in proposed penalties to each employer for “failing to protect hundreds of employees from COVID-19 at two plants.”
Seyfarth Synopsis: As California’s legislative session comes to an end, a wave of new COVID-19 related laws that impact employers are being signed into law. On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed AB 685, which will require employers to provide specific notices to employees exposed to COVID-19 within one business day of becoming aware of the exposure, and impacts COVID-19 related alleged Cal/OSHA violations.
Seyfarth Synopsis: Senate Bill 1159 was signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 17, 2020, and went into effect immediately. Under the new law, if employees test positive for COVID-19 under specific circumstances, there is a rebuttable presumption that their exposure occurred at the workplace. Unless rebutted, this presumption creates a compensable injury for purposes of qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits. SB 1159 also creates reporting requirements for employers through January 1, 2023.