E-Blasts

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has paused closing investigations of workplace discrimination claims in response to the COVID-19 crisis, effectively giving workers more time to file lawsuits against employers.

Once the EEOC concludes an investigation, it can issue a number of notices to potential claimants that start a countdown for when they can file suits. If the EEOC finds reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, it typically issues a “right-to-sue” letter to the worker, who must file a lawsuit against an employer within 90 days of receiving that notice. By temporarily suspending the issuing of charge closure documents, unless a charging party requests them, the agency is giving workers more time to file a lawsuit during the global pandemic.

The US Department of the Treasury (DOT) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) were tasked with implementing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  The PPP provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses with the goal of helping them keep their workers on the payroll.

Cal/OSHA has released Safety and Health Guidance on COVID-19 Infection Prevention for Agricultural Employers and Employees, available here. The Guidance provides helpful information regarding the scope of employee training, procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, procedures to increase social distancing, and good sanitation practices. The Guidance specifically provides that: “Health experts do not recommend the use of respirators by the general public or the general workforce for COVID-19. However, if available, employers should provide them to agricultural workers when needed to protect workers against excessive dust, Coccidioides fungus (the source of Valley Fever), or other harmful agents.” If you have any questions regarding this Guidance, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a harassment lawsuit against Smashburger, a nation-wide chain of fast food restaurants.  The EEOC filed its complaint alleging Smashburger created a hostile work environment based on race when it discovered the general manager at one of the chain’s Long Island restaurants made racist and demeaning comments to a black employee as well as his fiancée who also worked at the restaurant.  According to the complaint, the general manager subjected the black employee to abusive treatment on a regular basis and often told his white fiancée that she should break up with him because he is black.  Despite reporting the harassment to management, including the District Manager, Smashburger took nearly a year before conducting a serious investigation, and then only took corrective action after the employee filed a charge with the EEOC.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ISSUES GUIDANCE FOR RESPIRATORY PROTECTION DURING N95 SHORTAGE DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC:

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued interim enforcement guidance to help combat supply shortages of disposable N95 filtering face piece respirators (N95 FFRs). The action marks the Department’s latest step to ensure the availability of respirators and follows President Donald J. Trump’s Memorandum on Making General Use Respirators Available.  The enforcement guidance can be found here.

This interim guidance will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis. Visit OSHA’s Coronavirus webpage regularly for updates here

As always, The Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated, is here to assist. Please contact us if you have further questions or concerns regarding your operation and the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Department of Labor (DOL) has published the Spanish version of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Employee Notice, available here.

If you have questions regarding the FFCRA, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.

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