The Blog for Business Law

On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced significant modifications to its guidance issued on January 29, 2021 entitled Protecting Workers:  Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of Covid-19 in the Workplace.  https://theblogforbusinesslaw.com/osha-announces-new-workplace-covid-19-enforcement-actions/  The new guidance adopts the recent relaxation of social distancing and mask wearing for fully vaccinated persons adopted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) in its Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html,  issued on May 13, 2021.  Most employers, excepting those in healthcare and public transportation, “no longer need to take steps to protect…
On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) revised its Covid-19 guidance for fully vaccinated persons.  The revised guidance now states as follows: If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic. Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.…. You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local business. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html (emphasis added).  The CDC, however, exempted healthcare workplaces from its…
As more workplaces reopen and Covid-19 vaccinations become available to everyone over the age of 16 years, employers must decide whether to establish mandatory or voluntary vaccination policies. See “What Questions Do Employers Need To Ask About Covid-19 Vaccinations?”  A recent poll conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (“SHRM”) reveals that 52% of workers support policies that require Covid-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment. It further discloses that 63% of the employees surveyed stated their intention to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available.  [SHRM Survey: Some Workers Favor Required Vaccinations].  Employers with…
Shortly after taking office, President Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) to increase its enforcement by “launch[ing] a national program to focus OSHA Covid-19 related enforcement activities.”  Specifically, he adopted an executive order that instructed OSHA to initiate “a national program to focus OSHA enforcement efforts related to Covid-19 on violations that put the largest number of workers at serious risk or are contrary to anti-retaliation principles.”  [Executive Order 13999, 86 FR 7211 (Jan. 26, 2021), Executive Order   This executive order further instructed OSHA to consider whether to issue a Covid-19 Emergency Temporary Standard by March…
Keywords: Copyright, Supreme Court, Georgia, Public.Resource.Org., annotations, OCGA, Government Edicts Doctrine Introduction One would think that when a state creates an “official” code of its statutes, the public would have the right to freely copy and share that collection of laws.  One would also think that fair-minded judges would unanimously agree with this point and objurgate any view to the contrary.  Well, think again. The 2020 Supreme Court case of Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org. ratifies a point that I make often: much of the copyright law of this country is a messy pig’s breakfast of uncleanly written and historically complex statutes…
On November 20, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorizations (“EUA”) for the first Covid-19 vaccination manufactured by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and BioNTech SE for use in persons age 16 years and older.  The agency has since granted a similar EUA on December 18, 2020 for the Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna TX, Inc. for administration to individuals at least 18 years old.  Each of these vaccines requires two doses to immunize a person.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) established priorities for the distribution of these vaccines and others that will also get EUA’s…
On February 10, the USPTO presents the “Three Contemporary Black Women Inventors” online event in celebration of Black History Month.  The event spotlights three contemporary black women inventors: Aprille Ericsson, Ayanna Howard and Arlyne Simon. Dr. Aprille Ericsson was the first woman (and first African American woman) to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University and the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in engineering as a civil servant at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  She holds one US patent. Dr. Ayanna Howard is the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Zyrobotics, a company that…
Evans & Dixon’s Denise Bloch authored the below article that was recently published by the St. Louis Metropolitan Medicine in its December 2020/January 2021 issue. Federal alert indicates increased focus on speaker programs and theirpotential to violate the anti-kickback statute On November 16, 2020, the U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a Special Fraud Alert 1 focusing on the fraud and abuse risks related to payment, solicitation or receipt of remuneration from speaker programs conducted by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. This special alert provides notice to health care providers and companies that the OIG will be focusing more…
The Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted amendments to the “accredited investor” definition contained in Rule 501(a) of Regulation D which is one of the principal tests for determining who is eligible to invest in private capital raising transactions.  Historically, individual investors who did not meet specific income or net worth tests, regardless of financial sophistication, have been denied the opportunity to participate in such investments. In announcing the changes, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said: “For the first time, individuals will be permitted to participate in our private capital markets not only based on their income or net worth, but…
Recently, the Commerce Department disclosed the most devastating three-month collapse of the U.S. economy ever.  In the second quarter of 2020, the gross domestic product fell by 9.5%.  The effects of the coronavirus pandemic reached throughout the economy.  Consumers cut their spending.  Businesses reduced their investing.  Global trade mostly ended.  <<https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/business/economy/q2-gdp-coronavirus-economy.html>>.  Economic declines have real world consequences for businesses.  Many must now consider large-scale layoffs and closing their facilities.  Both federal law and some state laws regulate larger employers that conduct mass layoffs and plant closings.  Before implementing such a strategy, employers must know their legal duties under…
For many of our business clients, addressing the realities of estate and business succession planning amid the COVID-19 pandemic may seem unnecessarily alarmist or generally depressing. However, it is an all too necessary and practical concern for the sober-eyed, forward-thinking business leaders that make up our clientele. The lynchpin of a good succession or estate plan is understanding of how the plan works during any type of disruption. Many of our clients, quite understandably, associate estate planning exclusively with severe health issues, their own mortality, and planning for the future care and well-being of their loved ones. However, a good…
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”), requires employers to satisfy the safety and health standards and regulations issued and enforced either by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) or by an OSHA-approved State Plan. In addition, the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause, https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=3359&p_table=OSHACT, obliges employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA-approved State Plans may have standards, regulations and enforcement policies that differ from OSHA’s, but they must achieve results at least as effective as OSHA’s. (To see which states have such State…
The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced employers to face public health, customer service, workforce, travel, and business disruptions in constantly evolving circumstances.  Many of the decisions that employers must make on-the-fly create unintended consequences with serious labor and employment law liability issues.  The Business Law Blog will address these issues in a series of three blog posts to expose the subtle legal issues obscured by gut-wrenching decisions made to protect healthy workers from exposure to co-workers who may have the virus, to serve customers without putting them at risk to COVID-19 infection, and to cut losses as economic activity grinds to…
I. Illinois’ New Law Legalizing Cannabis for Adults Authorizes Employers to Maintain Zero Tolerance or Drug Free Workplace Policies and to Conduct Drug Testing. The Illinois General Assembly enacted the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“Cannabis Act”) on May 31, 2019.  Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law on June 25, 2019.  It takes effect on January 1, 2020.  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3992  The Cannabis Act, among other things, legalizes the possession and use of recreational marijuana for adults age 21 and older.  It directly addresses certain aspects of workers who use recreational marijuana both in and out of the workplace.  In…
A. The Department of Labor Issued Its Final Rule on September 24, 2019. The Department of Labor (“Department”) issued a final rule revising the regulations interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or “Act”) on September 24, 2019.  They set new and higher thresholds for both the minimum weekly equivalent salary level and the total minimum annual compensation level for “highly compensated employees” (“HCE’s”).  These new salary and annual compensation minimums affect most employees eligible for the White Collar exemptions from the Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements.   Generally, employees eligible for these exemptions perform any one or more of…
Have you ever intently followed legislation that you supported—an education bill, for instance—only to find out that another education-related proposal you didn’t like had been added to the bill as an amendment.  While this can be frustrating to the observing citizen, it certainly is not unusual and most often is appropriate under the Missouri state constitution.  That was the subject of the Missouri Supreme Court’s recent combined opinion in Calzone v. Interim Commnr. of Dep’t of Elem. & Secondary Educ. and Calzone v. Director of Dep’t of Agric., issued October 1, 2019. Applicable Constitutional Provisions The Missouri state constitution prevents…