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Major Changes in Sexual Harassment Law Take Effect in Texas September 1st

On September 1st, Texans will see major changes in Texas law on sexual harassment, when Senate Bill 45 and House Bill 21 go into effect.  The bills were passed in the 2021 regular session of the Legislature. Taken together, the bills extend extend the prohibition on sexual harassment to every employer in Texas, not just ones with 15 or more employees, and extend the statute of limitations for filing a charge of sexual harassment wit the Texas Workforce Commission from…

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Approval of Pfizer Vaccine Nixes Defense to Employer Mandate

In a landmark event in the COVID pandemic, last week the U.S. Food & Drug Administration  granted full approval to the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech.  Pfizer’s was the first COVID vaccine to receive full approval by the FDA. The FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine takes away a potential defense employees might raise to a vaccine mandate, that the vaccine had only emergency use authorization, and that under the law people had to be told they had the…

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Court of Appeals Nixes City of San Antonio’s Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

Last week was not a slow news week for this blog!!! On March 10th, judges of the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio threw out the City of San Antonio’s “Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance.”  Some of you may be old enough to remember that the ordinance passed originally in 2018 as the “Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.” To make a long, convoluted story short, several business groups filed suit against the enforcement of the ordinance, and Judge Peter Sakai…

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President Biden Signs New COVID Relief Bill

On March 11th, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, the latest coronavirus relief bill.  The Act reportedly authorized $1.9 trillion in new spending, but, unlike previous relief bills, this one passed completely along party lines. Some of the best-known provisions of the Act are not directly employment related, like the $1,400 checks that will go out to many Americans, but there are a number of provisions that directly affect employers or their employees. To name just several,…

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Judge Wolff, Mayor Nirenberg Issue New COVID Orders

In response to Governor Abbbott’s executive order lifting the mask mandate and all capacity restrictions, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued their own new orders on the COVID pandemic on March 9th, the day before the governor’s executive order was to go into effect. Judge Wolff issued his order first, and Mayor Nirenberg followed with his later the same day.  The mayor’s adopted not only Judge Wolff’s order and Governor Abbott’s executive order, but…

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Texas Governor Lifts Mask Mandate and Capacity Restrictions Effective March 10th

On March 2nd, Governor Abbott announced the lifting of the State’s mask mandate and increases capacity of all businesses and facilities in the State to 100%.  The Governor issued an executive order (GA-34), lifting the mask mandate and capacity restrictions, which went into effect on Wednesday, March 10th. The executive order did state that, in areas where hospitalizations for COVID exceed 15%, county judges may institute restrictions, but may not reduce capacity below 50%, may not jail people for violating orders, and…

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President-Elect Biden Names Boston Mayor New Labor Secretary

President Elect Joe Biden has today named Boston mayor Marty Walsh to be his new Secretary of Labor, replacing Eugene Scalia. According to Bloomberg Law, Mayor Walsh was a Massachusetts state representative for 17 years and was the head of the Boston Building & Construction Trades Council. Walsh has significant union support, and it may be surmised the Department of Labor will be much more employee- and union-friendly than under Secretary Scalia.  That would not be hard. Walsh is of…

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Mandatory COVID-19 Leave Expired December 31st

On December 31st, the mandatory coronavirus sick leave and family leave passed by Congress last March in the FFCRA expired.  The two kinds of leave – you remember them, right? – were not extended by the big coronavirus relief package passed by Congress December 21st and signed by the President on the 27th. Incidentally, the relief package was dubbed, unusually unimaginatively, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.” On December 31st, the Department of Labor noted the expiration of the leave requirements, and…

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Vaccine Recipients Are Told They Have Option to Refuse Vaccination

Employers thinking about requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should know that, as pointed out recently by Bloomberg Law, potential recipients of the Pfizer vaccine are told in a fact sheet that it is their choice to receive or not receive the vaccine.  Further, a fact sheet for health care providers who are to administer the vaccine informs them that they must communicate to recipients the they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccine. I do not…

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EEOC Issues Guidance on Employer-Mandated COVID Vaccinations

Just this week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) issued a guidance in Q&A form on the newly-timely question of whether or when employers may require employees to receive one of the new COVID vaccinations from Pfizer or Moderna.  The nine Q&As dealt with the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and “GINA,” the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act. The nine were tacked on to the end of a…

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