Federal Court Strikes Down Dallas Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has permanently enjoined a controversial Dallas ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave benefits to certain employees. The permanent injunction took effect on March 31, 2021. Dallas was the third city in Texas to enact a paid sick leave ordinance, following the adoption of nearly identical laws in Austin and San Antonio. All three would have required covered private employers to provide certain paid sick leave benefits to employees based on hours worked within city limits. Learn More

Recreational Marijuana Use Away from Work Now Protected in New York

On March 31, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (the Act) legalizing the recreational use of marijuana products by adults. Effective immediately, the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on the legal use or possession of marijuana products while off duty and outside the workplace, with few exceptions. The law also provides a private right of action for employees claiming to be harmed by such alleged discrimination. Learn More

Businesses in the Sunshine State are Prohibited from Requiring Vaccine Passport from Patrons and Customers

Vaccine passports—standardized credentials showing proof of vaccination—are gaining momentum in some states as a means of returning to normalcy and allowing businesses to open fully to those who prove they have been inoculated against COVID-19. A Florida executive order now prohibits businesses operating in Florida from implementing such measures with respect to customers. Learn More

Disability Benefits Policy Language Warrants Arbitrary and Capricious Standard of Review Despite Enactment of Anti-Discretionary Statute

A federal court in New Jersey recently applied the arbitrary and capricious standard of review for a denial of benefits claim despite the enactment of an anti-discretionary statute in Minnesota, which governed the benefit plan policy. Hocheiser v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32154 (D.N.J. Feb. 22, 2021). Learn More

Rising COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Lead to Ontario, Canada Shutdown

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising in Ontario at a concerning pace due to the rapid transmission of new variants, on April 1, 2021, the province filed Ontario Regulation 240/21 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, imposing an “emergency brake” across the province. In accordance with this Regulation, which came into force on April 3, 2021, all public health units in Ontario were moved to the Shutdown Zone of the Stage 1 Rules for at least four weeks. After this time, the impact of the shutdown will be evaluated to determine if it is safe to lift the restrictions or if they need to be extended. Learn More

Virginia Continues Pro-Employee Push with New Overtime Wage Act

Historically, Virginia has not had a standalone overtime law, instead relying on the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide protections to employees who work more than 40 hours a week. But that will change on July 1, 2021. Continuing a pattern of legislative action that is quickly making the Commonwealth a much more “employee-friendly” jurisdiction, and a much more attractive venue for wage and hour claims, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed into law the Virginia Overtime Wage Act (HB 2063). Like the FLSA, Virginia’s new overtime law generally requires payment of time and a half an employee’s regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. But while the law largely tracks federal standards, certain significant differences are likely to result in new liabilities for Virginia employers and higher damages for overtime violations in the Commonwealth. Learn More

Philadelphia Enacts 2021 Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance

On March 29, 2021, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania enacted Bill # 210122-A, an ordinance immediately requiring covered employers to provide 2021 Public Health Emergency Leave (“2021 PHEL”). Philadelphia’s similar 2020 PHEL ordinance expired on December 31, 2021, but 2021 PHEL is not retroactive. Compared to the 2020 PHEL ordinance, the new law significantly changes the amount of paid leave available to some individuals, expands the covered uses for leave, and excludes certain small employers. The new ordinance will remain in effect until expiration of the statewide public health emergency declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn More

Virginia Enacts New Paid Sick Leave Law for Home Health Workers

Given the current political trifecta (where democrats control both houses of the state legislature and the governorship), paid sick leave proponents had high hopes that Virginia would follow other states’ lead and pass legislation to mandate employers provide paid leave, particularly in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. On March 31, 2021, that goal was partially realized when Governor Ralph Northam signed into law House Bill 2137, requiring paid sick leave for home health workers. Learn More

Be Audit-Secure™

Lisa Smith, SPHR, SHRM-SCP


Lisa Smith is CEO of Andere Corporation and Chief Content Developer at HelpDeskSuites.com. Follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, listen to her Small Business Spoonfuls Podcast, and find more in her Compliance Warriors Facebook Group.

Log in or Register to save this content for later.