It’s Hurricane Season Once Again!

With Hurricane Elsa heading towards Florida, people are beginning to stock up on water, batteries, gas, and canned food. While it important to be prepared and plan ahead for your home and family, as an HR professional, it is equally as important to make sure your business is safeguarded and appropriate procedures are in place.

In my “Breaking Through The Noise: Labor & Employment Issues Post-Pandemic” segment, we heard from Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross on this season’s forecast and I shared my preparedness tips for employers when dealing with hurricanes.

Please listen to my segment (timestamp: 1:44:47-1:53:00) and see additional suggestions below.  If you still have employees working from home due to the pandemic, my post from last year included tips to consider if you have remote employees.

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Working on the Holidays… Downtime or Overtime?

As mandates are lifted and more Americans are getting vaccinated, many people are beginning to feel comfortable in group settings, especially outdoors.  After more than a year of limited in-person celebrations, 4th of July is the first major holiday that may see more people gathering and wanting to embrace the time off work.

This holiday is always eagerly anticipated, so much so that many employers have started providing employees with a four-day weekend when the holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, or a three-day weekend, when the holiday falls on a weekend, Monday or Friday.  Other employers provide employees with a half day off on July 3rd.  It is natural, then, that when the holiday falls mid-week, employers find themselves fielding PTO requests for the days surrounding the holiday.  The truth is, however, that the vast majority of employers only provide employees with the day off on July 4th itself, no matter what day of the week it falls on.

This leads to an interesting question.  Does an employer have to pay an employee overtime for requiring them to work on July 4th?

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Top Takeaways from “Breaking Through the Noise: Labor & Employment Issues Post-Pandemic”

Thank you to our clients and friends who have watched ”Breaking Through the Noise: Labor & Employment Issues Post-Pandemic” so far! We hope you enjoyed it and were provided with timely, relevant and valuable insight.

If you have not tuned in yet, the program is available on demand to watch at your leisure. CLICK HERE TO WATCH! Below are some top takeaways from each segment:

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Ready to watch? Breaking Through The Noise AVAILABLE NOW!

IT’S SHOW TIME!  

Breaking Through the Noise, our much anticipated 2.5 hour “TV News” program addressing employment issues that you will need to know about in a post-pandemic business environment, is available NOW.

CLICK TO WATCH!

Block off some time on your calendar now through Sunday, June 20th at 11:59pm ET to enjoy the program!  Only available for a limited time.

Feel free to forward the link to your friends and colleagues.  The program is approved for HRCI (2 hours), SHRM (2 hours) & Florida Bar CLE (General: 2.5, Bias Elimination: .5, Labor & Employment Law: 2.5) credits.  Credit information will be emailed after viewing.

A list of topics can be found here.

SAVE THE DATES – Breaking Through The Noise: Labor & Employment Issues Post-Pandemic

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!  

We are excited to announce the air date for Breaking through the Noise, our much anticipated 2.5 hour “TV News” program addressing employment issues that you will need to know about in a post-pandemic business environment.

The program will be available to view on our website at your leisure from Wednesday, June 16th at 12:00pm ET through Sunday, June 20th at 11:59pm ET so be sure to block off some time on your calendar and get that popcorn ready!

The program is approved for HRCI (2 hours), SHRM (2 hours) & Florida Bar CLE (General: 2.5, Bias Elimination: .5, Labor & Employment Law: 2.5) credits.

CLICK HERE for a list of topics.

Stay tuned… more information on how to access the program will be sent soon!

Coming Soon in June to a Screen Near You!

For the last 30 years, we have put on a live, all-day conference attended by hundreds of our clients and friends across Florida.  Unfortunately, due to COVID, the seminar was cancelled again this year.  As we know almost everyone is Zoom-ed and webinar-ed out, we thought we’d do something different this year – a two-hour news program featuring our Labor & Employment attorneys and hosted by 6x Emmy-Winning Journalist, Laurie Jennings.

Because businesses are quickly reopening their doors, we wanted to help you “Break Through the Noise” by addressing employment issues that you will need to know about in a post-pandemic business environment.

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Vaccine Passports for the Workplace?

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Vaccine passports seem to be the hot button issue of the day.  Most of the media coverage and remarks from politicians have focused on businesses requiring customers, guests or students having proof of vaccination before returning to school or entering the business establishment.  But what about employers?  Can an employer require a new employee to present proof of vaccination as a condition of employment or provide a hiring preference to applicants who have been vaccinated?

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Florida Provides Sweeping Pandemic Liability Protection for Businesses

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During this pandemic, Florida businesses are caught between a rock and hard place.  If they open too soon, they risk lawsuits from customers claiming they acquired COVID-19 at their business.  If they remain closed or operate at limited capacity, they face the possibility of going out of business.  Fortunately, relief has arrived in the form of new legislation creating a liability shield.  This legislation, signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on March 29, 2021, protects covered entities from civil liability if they can demonstrate a “good faith effort to substantially comply” with authoritative or controlling government-issued health standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19.   If the entity can demonstrate it made a good faith effort, it is immune from civil liability.

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ADA Remote Work as a Reasonable Accommodation – It’s Time to Dust Off Those Interactive Process Hats!

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Until recently, having a pre-existing medical condition bumped you to the front of the line for eligibility to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Florida. But as of yesterday, April 5, all Floridians age 18 and older are now eligible to receive a vaccine.

As a result, I suspect in the next few months management will sound the “all clear” and request their employees return to the office. I also suspect management will see a push-back from employees with disabilities who will continue to request “work from home” as a reasonable accommodation. If you have any doubt, consider this:

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What to Expect from the White House Gender Policy Council

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On March 8, President Biden issued an Executive Order (“EO”) On Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council (the “Council”). The purpose of the Council is to promote gender equity and equality with the goal of advancing equal rights and opportunities regardless of one’s gender or gender identity.  The EO seeks to promote workplace diversity, fairness and inclusion across the Federal workforce and military.

The President instructed the Council, comprised of cabinet secretaries and other high ranking government officials, to coordinate the Federal government’s efforts to advance gender equity and equality by developing policies and programs to combat systemic discrimination including sexual harassment, increase economic security and opportunity by addressing structural barriers to women’s participation in the labor force, address caregiving needs of American families, promote gender equity in leadership, address the needs of women and girls arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and promote gender equity and combat stereotypes in education, including STEM fields.   The Council is responsible for submitting a recommended strategy to the President within 200 days addressing the Council’s goals and objectives as outlined in the EO and for providing annual updates thereafter.

While focused on the public sector, we all understand these issues permeate our society.  Employers may find the Council’s recommendations instructive on how to improve their workplace environments.  Hopefully this is the beginning of a renewed effort to address this systemic challenge we face as a society both in the public and private sectors.

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