Five Reminders for Employers (Re)Considering COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve spent substantial time discussing workplace vaccine mandates with employers. Even before vaccines were available, employers were interested in mandates as a tool to ensure safe working conditions. But even as recently as a month ago, many employers outside of healthcare settings continued to feel uncomfortable about the …read more »

Four Things Employers Should Know About Workplace Masking and Social Distancing Rules and Employees Fully Vaccinated for COVID-19

On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic without masking or social distancing. I was in the car, headed back to the office after lunch, when I heard the news, which I found simultaneously exciting …read more »

Five Phrases that Portend Wage-and-Hour Woes

We spend a lot of time litigating wage-and-hour cases. But we do a lot of counseling on the subject, too. And over the years, through thousands of hours of discussing with clients compliance with wage-and-hour laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), we’ve identified a handful of red-flag phrases that often are associated with …read more »

What Does the Fifth Circuit’s Newly Announced, More Stringent Standard for Certification of FLSA Collective Actions Mean for Employers?

Earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision likely to significantly change the way FLSA collective actions are litigated in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. In Swales v. KLLM Transport Services, the Court tossed the exceedingly permissive and merits-blind standard for so-called “conditional” certification and substituted in its place a rigorous, single-step …read more »

Could Your Diversity & Inclusion Training Programs Land You in Hot Water?–Five Things Employers Need to Know About Executive Order 13950

On September 22, 2020, President Trump issued Executive Order 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. The Order is remarkable not because it imposes on federal contractors obligations with respect to diversity (this is nothing new), but because of the nature of the obligations it imposes—to refrain from conducting diversity and inclusion training on certain “divisive …read more »

Five Reminders for Employers Preparing for Severe Weather in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

Who could have predicted, as recently as January, that our year would bring us not only an unprecedented global health pandemic but also a busy hurricane season? Yet, here we are, in August 2020, doing our best to stop the spread of COVID-19 while, at least in Houston and the surrounding areas, preparing for Hurricane …read more »

Practical Advice for Employers Responding to COVID-19 Contact Tracers

In mid-April 2020, which in the age of COVID-19 feels like eons ago, President Trump announced his Opening Up America Again plan, designed to restart the U.S. economy by encouraging state and local governments to lift stay-at-home restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. And many state and local governments followed the …read more »

Zoom May Be Here to Stay, but Are You Ready to Produce the Recordings in Discovery?

Videoconferencing—through productivity tools like Zoom, Webex, and Microsoft Teams—has become part of the new normal. Matters that as recently as six weeks ago would have been handled by conference call are now routinely, in some cases almost exclusively, addressed in videoconferences. And while not every employee has embraced Zoom and its analogs, consensus among employers …read more »

DOL Clarifies That the FFCRA Does Not Restrict Employers from Laying Off, Furloughing Employees

Since the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) was signed into law on March 18, 2020, employers have posed one question more than all others: Does the FFCRA somehow protect employees from layoff (or furlough), at least until after paid leave required by the Act has been provided? In recent informal guidance, the U.S. Department …read more »