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EEO-1 Report including Diversity Now Due in August

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has pushed back the deadline for the EEO-1 Report.  This is the annual survey that employers with more than 100 workers, and federal contractors with more than 50 workers, are required to submit annually.  The race, sex, ethnicity, and job data is now due by August 23, 2021.  The previous deadline was July 19.  

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Good Explanation of How Employers Do or Do Not Discriminate Among Similarly Situated Employees

The most common type of discrimination case is based on what the law calls "disparate treatment," which is often defined as treating employees of different races and sexes differently who are similarly situated in all material respects.  As a result, disparate treatment cases often turn on the issue of whether persons of different races or sexes are actually similarly situated.  A recent ruling for one employer in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals does a good job of describing what these terms mean.  Stimson v. Stryker Sales Corp., No. 19-14997 (Nov. 30, 2020).  The case involves two employees disciplined in a different manner for the same "no lie, no cheat, no steal policy."  

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Status of Vaccine Incentives to Workers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance in late May indicating that employers can offer bonuses and other incentives to encourage employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  However, if employers ask disability-related screening questions as part of the pre-vaccination process, employers must keep such worker vaccination information confidential. 

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Relaxed CDC Guidance Requires Employers to Set the Rules

In May, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance that fully vaccinated people "can resume activities without wearing any mask or standing six feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance."  The CDC requirements define those who have been "fully-vaccinated" as meaning two weeks have passed since they received a single-shot vaccine or the second dose of a two-shot vaccine.  The immediate questions are whether the employers that want to loosen their mask requirements can have different rules for vaccinated or non-vaccinated employees, and whether such employers should be tracking vaccination status and requiring proof.  Then, on June 10, 2021, OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard for (ETS) Healthcare and updated guidance for general industry.  

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Do High Welfare Benefits Promote Unemployment?

Numerous employers and some studies suggest that many employees prefer government aid to a regular paycheck. Employers would agree that lower skilled workers are scarce right now and many jobs remain unfilled. Multiple sources indicate that some workers are turning down offers in lower wage occupations because their stimulus checks and jobless benefits pay their bills.

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Tax Credit for Employers Who Give Employees Paid Leave for Covid Vaccination and Recovery

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) allows small and mid-size employers, and certain governmental employers, to claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19, including leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations. The ARP tax credits are available to eligible employers that pay sick and family leave for leave from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.

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Employers Must Find and Tell Laid-off Employees of Health Subsidies

Before May 31, 2021, employers must notify certain former employees that they may be entitled to free health care coverage under recent federal legislation. The new law provides fully subsidized coverage through COBRA from April 1 through September 30, 2021 for employees who were laid off or lost their job-based health coverage due to reduced hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. The notice must be provided to people who were first eligible to elect coverage from October 2019 to the present, even if the people did not elect COBRA coverage or dropped COBRA coverage. 

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How the Union Analyzed Its Loss at Amazon

The 71% to 29% loss by the union campaign at Amazon in Bessemer, Alabama, is the most well-publicized and significant union election of the decade. The union brought in outside groups to show their strength and solidarity, including churches, the NFL Players' Association, Black Lives Matter organizers, and national celebrities including Senator Bernie Sanders and Danny Glover, and showed a video from President Biden encouraging their organization.

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Biden Orders Creation of Pro-union Task Force

In May, President Biden signed an executive order creating a task force to promote labor organizing as part of a push to strengthen unions. According to the White House, the Order will direct the task force to promote new ways of using the federal government's policies to encourage workers to organize and successfully bargain with employers. It will be led by Vice President Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. 

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Favorable Trump Independent Contractor Rule Canceled by Biden

The Trump Administration issued a federal regulation making it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors. While the Trump regulation listed five factors for consideration, the two given the far greatest weight were the nature and degree of the worker's control over the work, and the worker's opportunity for profit or loss based on personal initiative or investment. The final rule issued by the Biden Administration in early May rescinded this regulation. 

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Venezuela

TPS Status Added for Burma and Venezuela

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows nationals of a foreign country to live and work in the U.S. because of conflict or disaster preventing their safe return to their home country. In March, the Department of Homeland Security made the announcement allowing Venezuelans and Burmese to be granted TPS, and extending the status for Syrian nationals living in the U.S. In May, Homeland Security said it will redesignate Temporary Protected Status for Haiti, giving nationals already living in the U.S. as of May 21 the opportunity to apply for protections.

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