E-Blasts

Flexibility of IRS Form I-9 Requirements Extended for 30 Days

 By: The Saqui Law Group and Christina Anton

On May 15, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced they would extend the flexibility related to the in-person Form I-9 compliance. Normally, employers would need to perform an in-person review of an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents but ICE and DHS announced it would allow employers, whose workforce was working remotely, to defer this requirement. The original policy was set to expire May 19, 2020, but ICE and DHS have extended the policy for an additional 30 days. You may read the policy here.

Additionally, employers are expected to inspect an employee’s “Section 2” I-9 documents remotely using “video link, fax, email, etc.” and provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and remote policy for each employee. Once normal operations resume, all employees must report to their employer within three business days for an in-person verification.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

If you have questions about navigating the IRS Form I-9 Requirements, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.

 

Promising an Employee a Green Card Can Result into Liability to the Employer

 By: The Saqui Law Group and Jorge Lopez Espindola

On March 24, 2020, the California Court of Appeal affirmed a $2.8 million verdict against employer Technicolor Creative Services USA, Inc. The Court found that the employer’s negligence was a substantial factor in preventing the Plaintiff, Michael Reynaud, from obtaining a “green card.” The employer agreed to sponsor the Plaintiff’s employee application for a green card but failed to follow thorugh with the promise. The employer informally said that “it wouldn’t be a problem” in sponsoring him but the employer did not file the application even though he promised the employee to file. The employee’s work visa eventually expired and the employer terminated his employment. Shortly thereafter, Reynaud sued the employer for negligence and the jury awarded damages. You may read the decision here.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

If you have questions about any promises you may have made to an employee, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.

 

UPDATE: DIR Issues Q&A Regarding Workers Compensation Presumption

 By: The Saqui Law Group and Justin Lomas

On May 18, 2020, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) issued a Question and Answer page clarifying Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-62-20. The executive order established a rebuttable presumption that employees working outside their home, who contract COVID-19 between March 19 and July 5, 2020, had done so at work and were therefore eligible for workers’ compensation benefits (see our report here).

The DIR clarified that the diagnosis could be confirmed by either a viral test within 30 days or with an antibody test to determine if the worker previously had the infection. Establishing a diagnosis with an antibody test is problematic because COVID-19 antibodies may be present several months after an infection, and the Order only applies to workers who contract the disease between March 19 and July 5, 2020. Hopefully, as California ramps up its viral testing capacity, those diagnosed with COVID-19 can get timely viral tests to fix this potential problem.

Notably absent from the guidance is a roadmap for how employers can rebut the presumption. Upon announcing the order, Governor Newsom said that employers could rebut the presumption under “strict criteria” but did not go into details. The guidance contains no criteria and states that employers “bear the burden of proving that the injury or illness did not occur at work.”

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

Employers should continue to follow state and federal health mandates and guidelines for preventing or minimizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to have close communication with their workers’ compensation claims administrator regarding the payment of sick leave in response to COVID-19, particularly when a potential claim for workers’ compensation benefits has been filed. If you have questions about responding to COVID-19 claims from your employees, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.

ALERT: OSHA INCREASES IN-PERSON INSPECTIONS AND COVID CASE REPORTING

 By: P. Elizabeth Helms

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) will begin resuming in-person inspections in areas where COVID-19 infections have slowed and will require more employers to track and report workplace COVID-19 cases according to two new enforcement memos issued this week. Both enforcement memos go into effect May 26, 2020 and can be found here and here.

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, OSHA had relaxed record-keeping rules and handled most complaints over the phone and by fax.  OSHA offices located in areas that have seen a slowdown in the virus will now “follow normal procedures” in investigating complaints in medium or low-risk workplaces.  Regional officials will have discretion over how to investigate complaints involving high-risk employers.

Additionally, OSHA will enforce recordkeeping requirements for workplace COVID-19 illnesses for all employers subject to certain guidelines. 

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

If you have questions about how these enforcement memos may affect your company, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.

Built For Employers