Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-5-22: What the hell is the CDC doing?

Confused by the CDC's changed guidance on when employees can break isolation? I'm here to help.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The 1st nominee for the “Worst Employer of 2022” is … the crashing chief

Another year, another batch of awful employers for your consideration and your year-end voting. Might as well start off big.

Ogden boss allegedly tries to punch worker, rams his truck

The Standard-Examiner has the details.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-3-22: Happy 2020 … too 😞

As we start 2022 (HNY!) let's jump in the time machine and look ahead a couple of weeks to what I think is in our immediate pandemic future.

To catch a glimpse of what's coming here in the next 7-14 days, we need only look across the pond to Europe, which has been a great predictor thus far of what our Covid future looks like. For the whole of the pandemic, our Covid experience has trailed that of Europe by 2-3 weeks. Because of the quickened transmission and infection timeline of Omicron, we can likely shorten that to 7-10 days. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

’Twas the Employment Law Night Before Christmas (2021 edition)

In what has become an annual tradition for my final post of the year, I bring you the holiday classic, 'Twas the Employment Law Night Before Christmas, tweaked for 2021.

As has been the case in years past, you can read my tale below. This year, however, you also get the holiday present of me reading it for everyone.

To all of my readers, new and legacy, thank you all for reading, commenting, and sharing throughout the year, and please have a happy and, most importantly these days, safe holiday season. I'll see everyone on January 3, 2022, with fresh content to kick off the new year.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the office
Not a creature was stirring … well, just one of the bosses;
The bonuses were paid by the company with care,
In hopes that no ungrateful employees would swear.

The workers were home all snug on their thrones;
While visions of deadlines danced on their iPhones;
And I at my desk, alone to deal with the crap,
For the one who's in charge gets no holiday nap.

When out in the lot there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter;
Away to the door I flew in a hurried jolt,
Tore open the shutters and threw open the bolt.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did acquaint,
A process server holding a seven-count complaint.

Count One alleged that we had discriminated,
On the basis of race by one irritated;
A denied promotion, gone to someone who's white,
Said the lawsuit I read in the glow of the night.

Count Two, racial harassment, words she had o'erheard,
Does she know the ruckus she's about to have stirred?
Oh, how she had pulled that nasty, evil trigger.
I'd never heard supervisors rhyme something with bigger.

Count Three, it's not just racism she alleged,
Also sexism, to which management pledged.
The boys, she said, we paid so much more than the girls
Yet they do the same work as each workday unfurls.

Count Four, uh oh, sexual harassment;
It's true her manager hoped to be her gent.
But the touching and groping, alleged quid pro quo,
Never did anyone coerce being her beau.

Count Five targeted our vaccine direction.
We denied her ask for a moral exemption.
"Conspiracy," she yelled. "You're part of the elite."
You'll care when Omicron our employees deplete.

Count Six, firing a COVID rule breaker.
Masks she refused, even those made of paper.
Social distancing of six feet or more,
Enforcement can be such an insufferable chore.

Count Seven, wage and hour class action, oh crap!
Did we fall into an FLSA lawsuit trap?
Mis-classifications, non-exempt for exempt,
And off-the-clock work too, my butt cheeks were then clenched.

Not just a lawsuit was waiting, I see.
An election petition from the NLRB.
Ungrateful employees want more pay and respect.
Should I have treated them better, I reflect?

I spoke not a single word, went back to my desk,
And yelled, with none to hear, "Do I ever get to rest?!"
I emailed our lawyer, thru my phone I exclaimed,
"How much trouble are we in? To me please explain!"

He sprang to his phone, gave to me this rejoinder.
"A lot; I'll need a $20,000 retainer."
But I also heard him proclaim, so as not to slight—
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Announcing The Worst Employer of 2021 🏆

The ballots have been cast. The votes have been tabulated. The results have been certified. It's now my honor to announce the Worst Employer of 2021.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Coronavirus Update 12-21-2021: Employers are starting to get real about vaccinated workforces

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 vaccine being administered in the United States. Yet, here are some headlines from last week:
While we wait for the Biden administration's vaccine mandates to work their way through the courts (this past weekend's 6th Circuit pronouncement notwithstanding), employers are taking matters into their own hands. Fueled by the exponential surge in Delta-related Covid cases, and the real and palpable threat of a more contagious Omicron variant looming and starting to wreak havoc, many employers have simply run out of patience with unvaccinated employees.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Coronavirus Update 12-20-21: OSHA’s “vax or test" mandate is back on … for now

OSHA is gratified the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dissolved the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard. OSHA can now once again implement this vital workplace health standard, which will protect the health of workers by mitigating the spread of the unprecedented virus in the workplace.

To account for any uncertainty created by the stay, OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion with respect to the compliance dates of the ETS. To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance, OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10 and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before February 9, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard. OSHA will work closely with the regulated community to provide compliance assistance.

That's what OSHA posted on the heels of the 6th Circuit's decision dissolving the 5th Circuit's stay of the agency's "vax or test" emergency temporary standard. 

Friday, December 17, 2021

BREAKING NEWS: 6th Circuit dissolves stay and re-starts OSHA’s vax-or-test emergency standard

In a 2-1 decision, the 6th Circuit has dissolved the 5th Circuit’s prior stay of the OSHA vax-or-test emergency temporary standard. The opinion is available here

In sum, Judge Stranch, writing with reason and common sense for the majority, concluded that the petitioners are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the ETS exceeded OSHA’s authority. 

WIRTW #608: the “back and forth” edition

Before we get to the links of others that you might have missed this past week, I thought it best to look back on my own links that you also might have missed in the hustle and bustle of your workweek.

1/ Voting is open for the Worst Employer of 2021, and will remain open until 11:45 pm on Monday. If you don't vote, you forfeit your right to complain about the results. Vote here.

2/ I guested on this week's episode of Marc Alifanz's and Kate Bischoff's Hostile Work Environment podcast (my favorite employment law podcast, with two of my favorite people), running down the eight Worst Employer finalists. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

3/ Episode 4 of The Norah and Dad Show is live on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Please consider subscribing to our show in your app of choice so that you never miss an episode, and, as Norah says every week, we'd love your 5-star reviews on Apple Podcasts and 5-star ratings on Spotify (which just launched its podcast ratings).

Here's the plan for the remainder of the year. After regular posts on Monday and Tuesday, on Wednesday I'll announce the winner of the Worst of Employer of 2021. Finally, on Thursday I'll wrap up the year with my annual reading of 'Twas the Employment Law Night Before Christmas, which will have a companion video if I get my stuff together over the next few days.

Have a great, safe, and healthy weekend. Here's this year's final list of the best things I read online over the past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Coronavirus Update 12-16-2021: Who peed in the 6th Circuit’s cornflakes?

Yesterday, the 6th Circuit issued its first substantive opinion in the consolidated case that will determine the legality of OSHA vax-or-test emergency temporary standard. The opinion didn't determine any matters related to the substance of the mandate itself; it only addressed the procedural issue of whether the case would initially be heard by a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit or an en banc panel comprised of the entire court. The answer — a three-judge panel initially will hear the case. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Tragic workplace emergency safety lessons from a candle factory

Thus far, eight employees have tragically died inside the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory from the tornado that tore through Mayfield, Kentucky, and left the factory a pile of rubble. That number, however, could have been much less.

According to NBC News, as the storm warnings came and tornado sirens blared, as many as 15 employees asked managers for permission to leave so that they could take shelter in their own homes. Instead of granting permission, managers threatened to fire anyone who left their shift early. Now at least eight employees are dead, and many more are injured. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Who are this year’s crop of nominees for The Worst Employer of 2021? Check out today’s episode of Hostile Work Environment to find out.

I had the pleasure of guesting on this week's episode of my favorite employment law podcast, Hostile Work Environment, hosted by my good friends, Marc Alifanz and Kate Bischoff. In what is becoming an annual tradition, they had to me on to discuss this year's crop of Worst Employer nominees. I walk through all 8. 

Thus, if you need a refresher before you cast your vote, I highly recommend heading to your podcast app of choice, searching for "Hostile Work Environment," downloading the Dec. 14 episode (entitled, "Jon Hyman Puts Out A Lot"), and subscribing to their show if for some odd reason you haven't yet done so. 

And please VOTE for this year's Worst Employer. Polls remain open until Monday, Dec. 20, at 11:45 pm.

Coronavirus Update 12-14-2021: 800,000 Covid deaths and rising, and many have stopped caring

"Where I Live, No One Cares About COVID," reads the headline in The Atlantic

Outside the world inhabited by the professional and managerial classes in a handful of major metropolitan areas, many, if not most, Americans are leading their lives as if COVID is over, and they have been for a long while. …

Monday, December 13, 2021

VOTE for The Worst Employer of 2021

Today is the day you’ve waited for all year. I’ve made my list. I’ve checked it twice. It’s voting day for The Worst Employer of 2021.

Here’s how voting will work. I’ve culled my list of 15 nominees down to the worst 8. To vote, you’ll rank the 8 finalists from 1 (the worst) to 8 (the least worst). Please rank all 8, because every point counts in the final results. The employer with the most points wins (or loses, depending on your perspective).

The polls are now open, and will remain open until 11:45 pm on Monday, December 20. I’ll then tally the vote, certify the results, and announce this year’s winner on December 22.

Follow this link for a refresher on this year’s 8 nominees. The ballot also contains hyperlinks back to the original nominating posts.

Happy voting, and good luck to all of the nominees. May the worst employer win!

Friday, December 10, 2021

WIRTW #607: the “broken record” edition

Earlier this week a local hospital system held a webinar entitled, COVID-19: Omicron, Vaccines, and Anti-Virals. The news is sobering. 

Covid is surging, yet again. Delta is wreaking havoc on populations in colder-weather states. Moreover, we don't yet know or understand exactly what Omicron means for the future of this pandemic. Unvaccinated populations remain at the highest risk for serious illness, hospitalizations, and death, but those who are fully vaccinated still must act with caution. The news is that we are in for a long winter. And it's not just the virus itself that we have to worry about, but the impact of the virus on our healthcare systems. ICUs and hospital beds at capacity mean diminished care and strained healthcare workers.

None of this is good news. Yet, it's the same news we've heard since March 2020. And the best practices to combat Covid remain the same. If you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you're not boosted, get boosted. Regardless, wear a mask to protect yourself and others. Limit contact with unvaccinated people. Practice good hand-washing and other hygiene habits. And for God's sake, if you don't feel well or have any possible symptoms of Covid-19, stay the frick home until you've tested negative.

While we all might be done with Covid, it's not done with us. We all just need to act like it. Now I sound like a broken record.

I can't leave you for the week with all bad news, so before I turn today's post over the employment law links, I have two other links to share with you.

First, before there was The Norah and Dad Show (have you downloaded and listened yet?), there was the guest-hosting spot Norah and I recorded for the Rockin' the Suburbs podcast. Our episode, in which we discuss daddy/daughter concert experiences, went live today. You can listen to it here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Secondly, I have a movie recommendation. Check out Mixtape on Netflix. It's an utterly charming, family-friendly movie set in 1999 about a quirky 12-year-old who sets out to learn about her deceased parents through the songs on an old mixtape of theirs she found in her grandmother's basement. It's the rare family movie that speaks to adults without dumbing down the substance, speaks to children without soaring over their heads, and has the emotional beats and laughs hit equally for both. Also, the music slams. Any scene in a 1999 Pacific Northwest indie record store that accurately showcases early White Stripes is a winner in my book. Bottom line — my house absolutely loved Mixtape, and you should add it to your Netflix List. Highly recommended.

Now, here are the best things I read online the past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Coronavirus Update 12-9-2021: The current state of vaccine mandate litigation

What is the current state of the Biden Administration's three separate federal Covid-19 vaccination mandates, and how should employers be responding. In this short video update, I discuss where things stand and what it means.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The 15th nominee for the “Worst Employer of 2021” is … the (Not) Better Boss

A little over a week ago — a digital mortgage lender that recently called a $7.7 billion Unicorn — received a $750 million cash infusion from investors. Two days ago its CEO, Vishal Garg, gathered 909 of the company's employees (nine percent of its total workforce) via Zoom and let them know that their services were no longer needed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Norah and Dad Show podcast is live and ready for your downloads

Today is a very exciting day for me. Today is the official launch of The Norah and Dad Show podcast.

It started a month or so ago when Norah (my 15-year-old daughter) and I recorded a guest episode of Rockin' the Suburbs (which you can listen to this Friday). "Dad," Norah said, "We should start a podcast." Never one to discount the wishes of a teenager to spend time with a parent, I quickly agreed, and The Norah and Dad Show was born.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Coronavirus Update 12-6-2021: Masks — the results

On Friday, I asked three simple questions — Do you still wear a maks? If yes, when? If not, why?

Here are the results (and thank you to the nearly 300 of you that took the time to respond).

Friday, December 3, 2021

WIRTW #606: the “masks” edition

Today is Day 632 of the COVID-19 pandemic, and somehow we are still debating the efficacy of masks. While we ride out the current wave of Delta infections and sort out just how dangerous Omicron actually is, the best advice we still have is to mask up for safety. 

The UK, for example, has just reinstituted its national mask mandate. Meanwhile, here in the US, leaders are urging Americans to wear masks indoors, while some cities have reinstituted indoor mask mandates. Yet, despite the irrefutable science backing the efficacy of masks as among the most effective means to stop the spread of Covid-19, people still resist.

I'd like to know where my readers currently stand on masking, both in use and philosophy. I've put together a short two-question survey — 

Thanks for taking the time. I'll report the results Monday.

Here are the best things I read online the past two weeks that I think you should be reading, too.