Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis has a Coronavirus Response Team. Contact Jon Hyman to help with how your business should
continue to respond to this national emergency.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-14-2020: Just call me Bob Villa

If you would have told me six months ago that I'd spend my summer building useful things out of wood, I'd have asked if you were drunk or high. But, 2020. So, after successfully conquering a dog house, my wife and I decided to tackle chairs for our new deck.

Fifteen days from now we will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. Colleen brought it my attention that the traditional 17th anniversary gift is furniture. Why not spend a weekend of togetherness building some?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-13-2020: The 7th nominee for the “worst employer of 2020” is … the no-mask mandator

Meet Billy Woods, the sheriff of Marion County, Florida. He loves youth ranches and senior services, and hates face masks.

Earlier this week, Sheriff Woods prohibited his approximately 900 employees from wearing masks or facial coverings while on duty. The Ocala StarBanner quotes the email he sent to his employees, "[W]hen you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn." (His directive also includes anyone entering any of his buildings.) 

In the meantime, central Florida is among the hottest of COVID-19 hot spots, and on the same day Sheriff Woods sent his email, Marion County hit its high for the number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-12-2020: Elevator anxiety

Has COVID-19 caused you to have elevator anxiety, as in a fear of being inside of a 7' x 5' box with other people? According to a not-quite scientific Twitter poll with over 4,000 responses, more than six in 10 workers will not use an elevator to get to their office.

These results beg the question, are elevators safe despite our apparent (and in my mind perceived justified) reluctance to use them?

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-11-2020: States should follow Illinois’ lead in making it a felony to assault an employee over a mask rule

Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster … and assault? 

Sesame Place is the latest employer to have an employee assaulted for trying to enforce a mask rule. It joins more likely suspects such as Target, WalMart (which has said that for the protection of its employees it will not require them to enforce mask rules), and McDonald's (of which 44% of its employees report being physically of verbally assaulted by a non-mask-wearing customer). 

Illinois is now the first state to enact a law targeted at this abhorrent behavior.  

Monday, August 10, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-10-2020: Indians quarantine of pitcher Zach Plesac is a teachable moment in handling irresponsible employees during this pandemic

The Cleveland Indians have sent pitcher Zach Plesac back to Cleveland from their current run of road games for breaking the team's COVID-19 protocols. 

According to, MLB security personnel caught the pitcher returning to the team's hotel early Sunday morning after he had gone out with friends. The team has its own coronavirus code of conduct, which in part required Plesac to obtain permission before leaving the hotel. According to ESPN, the Indians hired a car service to return Plesac to Cleveland so that he would not share an airplane with his teammates and potentially place them at risk. The team's management has said that he will remain quarantined until he receives two negative tests.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-7-2020: Errata — CDC changes guidance on when someone can break COVID-19 isolation

Neil deGrasse Tyson once said, "I love being wrong because that means in that instant, I learned something new that day." Earlier this week, I learned something new.

In discussing who pays for employment-related COVID-19 tests, I noted that CDC guidelines recommend that a positive employee not return to work for either of: 1) it's been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared; three days with improved respiratory symptoms; and three days fever free (without fever reducing medication); or 2) the receipt of two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

As several of my readers pointed out, however, those guidelines recently changed.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-6-2020: Congress must pass the Save Our Stages Act #saveourstages

Today I'm taking a brief detour from the employment-law implications of COVID-19 to discuss an issue near and dear to my heart—the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on independent music venues. I am urging you to contact your Representative and Senators to implore them to pass the Save Our Stages Act. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-5-2020: Who pays for employer mandated COVID-19 tests?

The inevitable has happened. One of your employees has tested positive for COVID-19. You do what you're supposed to do. You clean and sanitize your workplace. You communicate with your other employees to let them know that you've had someone test positive. You reinforce all of your coronavirus safety rules, protocols, and procedures. And you require the COVID-positive employee to isolate and not return to work per CDC guidelines.

Those guidelines recommend that a positive employee not return to work for either of: 1) being three days fever-free, respiratory symptoms have improved, and it's been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared; or 2) the receipt of two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. You opt for the latter, believing that negative tests will provide you and your employees better confidence that COVID-19 will not reenter your workplace when that employee returns.

Who pays for these coronavirus tests?

We have several of federal statutes, old and new, that guide the answer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-4-2020: NY federal judge invalidates key parts of FFCRA regulations

Yesterday, a New York federal judge issued an order invalidating several key aspects of the Department of Labor's regulations interpreting the paid sick leave and expanded FMLA provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Judge J. Paul Oetken of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found that the DOL exceeded its authority in enacting each of the following of the DOL's regulatory interpretations of the FFCRA:

Monday, August 3, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-3-2020: How have employers responded to COVID-19?

recent survey of businesses reveals a variety of trends about COVID-19 in the workplace.

  • Nearly 6 out of every 10 employers has had an employee test positive for COVID-19 (double the number from April).

  • 92 percent require on-site employees to wear masks in common areas and mandate physical distancing.