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By Katherine Fechte, Lauren Daming on January 8, 2021 at 12:30 PM

In a year marked by federal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies managed to finalize some non-pandemic legal developments in 2020: the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime rule and joint employer test both went into effect, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overturned a handful of Obama-era precedents. With Joe Biden’s election as president in November 2020, the coming four years will likely bring some reversal of the impact of the Trump administration, particularly on the DOL and NLRB. The 2019-2020 Supreme Court term was relatively busy for employment, including a major development for Title VII. Of course, much of the energy and resources of the federal agencies overseeing employment laws were spent on providing guidance to employers related to COVID-19 issues. Below is a summary of major federal employment law headlines from last year and a look at what employers can expect in 2021.

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By Katherine Fechte, Lauren Daming on January 8, 2021 at 12:30 PM

In a year dominated by the pandemic, 2021 updates to Missouri and Illinois law are overshadowed by COVID-19’s impact and related federal employment law developments. Illinois’ treatment of July as the new January adds to the relatively quiet start to 2021 while the state adapts to its new employment laws that went into effect July 1, 2020.

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By Lauren Daming on January 7, 2021 at 2:15 PM

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, represents a second-round stimulus related to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the CAA includes certain virus-related provisions, including stimulus checks issued to some individuals, the act allowed the mandatory leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to expire on December 31, 2020. As a result, employees are no longer guaranteed paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA unless their employers voluntarily agree to provide it. As an incentive for employers to voluntarily offer FFCRA leave, the act extends the availability of tax credits to employers related to employees who take qualifying leave under the FFCRA through March 31, 2021.   

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By Dennis Collins on December 21, 2020 at 10:45 AM

On December 16, 2020, the EEOC issued an update that addresses the availability of COVID-19 vaccinations and questions they may raise under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). If an employer elects to administer a COVID-19 vaccine or contract with a third party to do so, the employer must meet certain requirements under federal anti-discrimination laws.

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By Katherine Fechte on October 15, 2020 at 10:15 AM

With Election Day fast approaching, Missouri employers should be aware of their obligations to provide eligible employees with time off to vote. We have complied a list of frequently asked questions to help employers ensure they comply with Missouri’s voting leave law on November 3, 2020.

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By Scott Cruz on October 15, 2020 at 10:30 AM

On Election Day, November 3, 2020, voters will cast their ballots on who will be the next president of the United States, as well as other federal, state and local positions and referendums. Because of the increase in early and mail-in voting this year due to COVID-19, many voters likely will have voted prior to the polls officially opening in Illinois at 6 a.m. on Election Day. However, not everyone will have taken advantage of early voting opportunities, and some will still wish to vote on Election Day. Under Illinois’ voting law, (10 ILCS 5/17-15(a)), employers must provide certain employees whose work schedules may preclude them from voting, and who request leave to vote in advance of Election Day, with up to two hours of paid leave to go vote. Thus, with Election Day rapidly approaching, Illinois employers are strongly encouraged to review their workplace policies to confirm that they comply with Illinois’ paid leave voting law.

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By Scott Cruz on September 14, 2020 at 10:00 AM

On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued revised FFCRA regulations that clarify workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions, specifically the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). 

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By T. Christopher Bailey, Scott Cruz on July 30, 2020 at 9:00 AM

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, employers find themselves facing new challenges. Recognizing that the “new norm” has led to workplace circumstances not previously considered, the U.S. Department of Labor issued new guidance to address several wage and hour and leave-related scenarios employers may face. Highlights from the new guidance include:

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By T. Christopher Bailey on June 30, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employees may be entitled to up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to 12 weeks of expanded family and medical leave, of which 10 weeks are paid to care for a child based on the closure of the child’s school or place of care. When the spread of COVID-19 accelerated in March, most schools and daycares closed, creating problems for many parents who relied on these facilities to care for their children while the parents worked. As the summer months approached, a new question arose: whether parents would be entitled to paid leave under the FFCRA in the event a child’s summer camp, summer enrichment program or other summer activity closed — or never opened — for COVID-19 related reasons. Recent guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides insight in answering this question.

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By Amy Blaisdell, Jill Luft, Scott Cruz on June 17, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Firing an employee for being gay (i.e. sexual orientation) or transgender (i.e. gender identity) is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a ruling issued June 15, 2020.

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