Topic: North America

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La Fête nationale et la Fête du Canada : quelles obligations ont les employeurs?

L’approche de la période estivale rime avec l’arrivée des vacances annuelles, mais aussi l’enchaînement de deux jours fériés en l’espace de 8 jours. La Fête nationale (le 24 juin – jour de la St-Jean Baptiste) et la Fête du Canada (le 1er juillet) tombent cette année toutes les deux un jeudi.

Afin de dissiper les doutes que les employeurs de juridiction provinciale pourraient avoir, vous trouverez ci-dessous un survol des questions (avec réponses) les plus courantes.

Il est important de mentionner que les obligations découlant des lois sont le strict minimum à respecter. Les conventions collectives, contrats de travail … Continue Reading

US: New HERO Act Imposes Significant Obligations on New York Employers

New York State employers should be aware of a recent law aimed at protecting workers from COVID-19 and other airborne infectious diseases, the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act), which imposes significant obligations on covered employers.  Among other things, the HERO Act requires the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) to develop industry-specific model safety standards, requires private New York State employers of all sizes to implement and distribute health and safety plans that meet specified requirements, and requires certain employers to permit the creation of joint employer-employee workplace health and safety committees.

Model Safety Standards

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US: OSHA Issues COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rule

On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a mandatory workplace safety rule requiring employers to take specified steps to protect workers from COVID-19.  However, the rule applies only to health care settings.  Referred to as an emergency temporary standard (ETS), the rule exempts fully vaccinated workers from masking, distancing, and barrier requirements when in well-defined areas where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.

OSHA has also updated its Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace guidance for workplaces … Continue Reading

US: Labor Department Sets Occupational Safety & Health Meeting

The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health will conduct a virtual meeting on June 22, 2021, to address current workplace issues and its prior work.  The details are set forth in today’s U.S. Department of Labor announcement.  The DOL and federal OSHA have been shifting priorities since the initiation of the Biden Administration, and are now focusing on enhanced workplace health and safety inspections and enforcement, notably including COVID-related worker protection issues.  There has been talk of increasing the amount of monetary civil penalties and potentially triggering associated criminal indictments for particularly egregious employer misfeasance.… Continue Reading

US: Cal/OSHA publishes new standard that causes confusion for California employers

On May 28, 2021, the employer community got its first glimpse of a revised Cal/OSHA emergency, temporary standard (ETS) for COVID-19 that may become law by June 15, 2021. That day—June 15—is significant because it is the date the governor set as a goal for California to “fully open its economy.” In addition, the CDC’s new guidance allowing fully vaccinated persons to go maskless in some settings was another encouraging sign that normalcy was just around the corner. Indeed, Cal/OSHA had promised to tweak the existing COVID-19 standard with these developments in mind. Instead, the revised standard simply whittles … Continue Reading

US: OSHA Notices HazCom Hearing

We reported previously on federal OSHA’s efforts to revise and update various provisions of the Hazard Communication Standard in order to pursue greater workplace safety.  On May 20, 2021, OSHA announced an informal public hearing commencing on September 21, 2021 for the purpose of entertaining stakeholder comments and recommendations.  For more information, please see this Trade Release, or reach out to us with any questions.… Continue Reading

COVID-19 vaccination leaves : which provinces require employers to provide paid time off?

Vaccination efforts across the country have ramped up significantly. A number of provinces have recently amended existing legislation to allow employees paid time off to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. We provide you with a brief summary of these legislative amendments.

Province

Legislation Paid Time Off

Other Relevant Information

British Columbia s. 52.13 of the Employment Standards Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 113 Up to three hours of paid leave for each request made for leave for the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

  • The employer can request reasonably sufficient proof that the employee is entitled to the leave.
  • The employer must not request
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New US federal OSHA pamphlet issued

PPE for Emergency Response and Reocvery Workers Pamphlet coverA new federal OSHA pamphlet has been issued.

The OSHA pamphlet, “PPE for Emergency Response and Recovery Workers,” provides guidance to employers on the proper selection and use of and training concerning personal protective equipment in responding to emergencies and other incidents requiring it.

Among other advice, OSHA reminds employers of the four levels (A – D) of PPE available.

If you are an employer and need guidance on US Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Our OSHA team

Our global health and safety law team provides clients with comprehensive legal advice on … Continue Reading

La réforme de la Loi 101 : avis aux employeurs

Le gouvernement du Québec a déposé hier son projet de loi 96 : Loi sur la langue officielle et commune du Québec, le français qui apporterait, si adopté, des modifications importantes à la Charte de la langue française (Charte) et à plusieurs autres lois.

Nous vous résumons les changements les plus significatifs pour les employeurs au Québec:

Communication et contrats de travail

  • L’employeur devra respecter le droit du travailleur d’exercer ses activités en français. Il devra donc s’assurer que les offres d’emplois ou de promotion sont diffusées en français et que les formulaires de demande d’emploi, les documents
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Reform of Bill 101: Notice to Employers

Recently, the Quebec government tabled Bill No. 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec (Bill) which, if adopted, will make sweeping changes to the Charter of the French language (Charter) and several other laws.

Here is a summary of the changes that will have the most impact on Quebec employers.

Communications and contracts of employment

  • Employers will be required to respect the rights of workers to carry on their activities in French. They will therefore need to ensure that offers of employment or promotion are published in French and that
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US: DOL issues COBRA premium subsidy guidance and model notices

The US Department of Labor recently published answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and model notices for the new COBRA premium subsidy made available to many employees and their dependents under the American Rescue Plan Act. As explained in an earlier post, the new law allows “assistance eligible individuals” (AEIs) – defined as COBRA qualified  beneficiaries who had a qualifying event due to a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of employment, and who elect coverage – to receive fully subsidized COBRA continuation coverage for periods covering April 1 through September 30, 2021. The new law also extends … Continue Reading

Employee’s receipt of CERB doesn’t change employer’s obligations

The Ontario Superior Court recently held that a dismissed employee who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments immediately following his dismissal should not receive less in wrongful dismissal damages on account of the fact he received the emergency benefit.

The decision underscores the point that CERB does not affect an employer’s post-termination obligations.

In Iriotakis v Peninsula Employment Services Limited, the Court ordered an employer to pay its former employee damages in lieu of three months’ reasonable notice.

The employee had been dismissed without cause in March of 2020. Shortly thereafter, he began receiving CERB.

The … Continue Reading

Télétravail obligatoire en contexte de pandémie : l’exception demeure les employés dont la présence est essentielle à la poursuite des activités de l’employeur

Dans une décision récente – Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique, section locale 1108 et CHU de Québec – Université Laval (grief syndical), 2021 QCTA 187 – l’arbitre Me Nathalie Faucher a rejeté la demande d’ordonnance de sauvegarde du Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (le Syndicat) visant à forcer le CHU de Québec (l’Employeur) à se conformer à l’arrêté ministériel 2020-105 (l’Arrêté) afin que les salariés concernés puissent effectuer leurs tâches en télétravail.

Cette décision s’inscrit dans la même veine qu’une décision récente que l’on avait précédemment commentée laquelle concernait plutôt le … Continue Reading

DOL independent contractor rule withdrawn

Trump-era independent contractor rule withdrawn

Effective today, May 6, 2021, the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Trump-era independent contractor rule has been officially withdrawn.  The Trump-era independent contractor rule, which never went into effect due to the change between presidential administrations, would have made it easier for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.

Trump-era independent contractor rule

The Trump-era independent contractor rule expressly adopted and clarified the “economic realities test” for worker classification, and would have narrowed the focus of the inquiry to five distinct factors: (1) the nature and degree of the individual’s control over the work; (2) … Continue Reading

Ontario introduces paid COVID-19 sick leave

On April 29, 2021, the Ontario government enacted Bill 284, COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021 (Act). The legislation amends the Employment Standards Act (ESA) to require employers to provide employees covered by the ESA with up to three paid days of sick leave for certain reasons relating to COVID-19. In this update, we review the scope of the new pay entitlement and corresponding obligations for employers.

  1. What if employees were already entitled to paid leave under their employment contracts?

Employees who were already entitled to at least three paid leave days for certain reasons … Continue Reading

US: Mandatory COVID-19 vaccines and employer health and safety obligations

Federal OSHA has recently released guidance advising on employer health and safety obligations when employers require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Specifically, OSHA addresses the potential (albeit rare to date) of an employee who incurs an adverse reaction to a mandated vaccination. In such a situation, the reaction will be deemed “work-related.”

The ultimate effect of this guidance is that if the adverse reaction involves days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job or medical treatment beyond first aid, it will be considered a “recordable” incident. In other words, the reaction will … Continue Reading

US: Why a Mandatory Vaccination Policy May Not Restore Business as Usual for Companies

Throughout the United States, employers are weighing whether to have a mandatory vaccination policy for COVID-19. The objective is to bring employees back to work safely and the understandable desire to return to our pre-pandemic status quo.

Mandatory vaccination policy

This post does not advocate in favor or against a mandatory vaccination policy—except to note there may be good reasons not to require it; the law requires accommodation from such a requirement in some circumstances; and there is no clear legal authority to compel employees as a condition of employment to receive a vaccine which has only FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Rather, it’s … Continue Reading

US: New York employers must provide paid time off for COVID-19 vaccinations

New COVID-19 vaccine paid time off requirement for New York employers

New York employers should be aware of a recently enacted New York State law that entitles employees to paid time off from work to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

COVID-19 vaccine

Under this new law, New York employers must grant each employee a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection, to take leave for purposes of obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine.

For employees who will receive a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, this means that such employees will be entitled to up to eight … Continue Reading

Can COVID-19 be considered a superior force (“force majeure”) lawfully limiting an employer’s obligations?

Since the start of pandemic, our courts have rendered a number of decisions regarding the impact of COVID-19 and whether it constitutes superior force (commonly known as “force majeure” ) for the purposes of limiting liability. In particular, we can think of numerous cases in real estate law, whereby lessees and owners looked to the courts for either relief or an order for payment after businesses were forced to shut down by government decree.

But how has COVID-19 as a “force majeure” played out in labour law?

A recently published arbitration decision – SCP, sections locales 2229 et 2301 et Continue Reading

La COVID-19 peut-elle être considérée comme un événement de force majeure limitant les obligations d’un employeur?

Depuis le début de la pandémie, nos tribunaux ont rendu plusieurs décisions concernant l’incidence de la COVID-19 et la question de savoir si elle constitue un événement de force majeure aux fins de la limitation de la responsabilité. On peut notamment penser aux nombreux cas, dans le domaine du droit immobilier, où des locataires et des propriétaires se sont adressés aux tribunaux pour obtenir soit un redressement, soit un ordre de paiement, après que des entreprises aient été contraintes de fermer leurs portes en raison des décrets gouvernementaux.

Mais comment la COVID-19, en tant qu’événement de force majeure, a-t-elle été … Continue Reading

US: New COBRA Premium Subsidy in Third COVID Relief Stimulus Act

The latest COVID-relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, will allow most current and former employees and their dependents to receive fully subsidized COBRA continuation coverage beginning April 1 and continuing through September 30, 2021—even if they never elected COBRA or dropped coverage. To learn more about what employers with group health plans subject to federal COBRA need to know about the new law, read our legal update, Beware of the COBRA lurking in the weeds of the latest COVID-relief bill.… Continue Reading

US: Combating Human Trafficking of Domestic Workers In The United States

It is difficult to imagine that the evil of human trafficking, and all the pain and suffering it entails, can still be so pervasive this deep into the 21st Century. One would have expected that contemporary domestic and international law enforcement, to say nothing of the United Nations and all the monies it has at its disposal for such purposes, would serve as a resolute bulwark against this scourge of modern humanity. And yet it is a dominant player in the headlines as we learn daily of some new outrage perpetrated by those who would profit from human misery, sexual … Continue Reading

Can teachers be required to teach simultaneously online and in person?

In a recent decision – Centre de services scolaire du Lac-Témiscamingue et Syndicat de l’enseignement de l’Ungava et de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 2020 QCTA 641, an arbitrator was called upon to determine if a school board’s requirement that teachers undertake a dual teaching system of simultaneous in-person and online learning was contrary to their right to privacy and constituted fair and reasonable conditions of employment.

As many of us know, given the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have had to miss school to self-isolate. In order to ensure that students in this position would be able to continue their education, one Quebec school … Continue Reading

Contexte de pandémie : un arbitre précise les droits et obligations des employeurs québécois en matière de télétravail

Dans une décision récente, un arbitre de griefs a précisé les droits et obligations des employeurs québécois en matière de télétravail. Cette décision fait suite à celle qu’il a rendue l’automne dernier dans laquelle il a rejeté la demande d’ordonnance de sauvegarde du Syndicat des fonctionnaires municipaux de Québec (le Syndicat) visant à forcer la Ville de Québec (la Ville) à favoriser le télétravail.

La décision au stade provisoire

Tel qu’exposé dans notre billet de blogue sur la décision au stade provisoire, essentiellement, l’arbitre a rejeté la demande d’ordonnance de sauvegarde du Syndicat pour deux raisons :

  • le
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