While You Were Busy

It seems that COVID conversations continue to knock every other topic aside. But, while you were busy, other things have happened that need a bit of your attention. This article is to draw your attention to them so you are better informed.

Non-Compete Agreements — You can still use non-compete language in agreements but it can only control your employee while they are still an employee. Once they leave your employment, you no longer have control. This means you need to eliminate the “after termination” language because it won’t be valid. This is just one more step making it harder to keep ex-employees from becoming your competition.

Remote I-9 Review — We have always had to physically review the identification provided by employees for the Federal I-9 Form. Since the pandemic began, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has allowed us to review that ID remotely by looking at copies. ICE has now extended our remote reviewing through the end of 2021. At that time they will consider allowing virtual inspections of the ID permanently… something we all would love to happen.

Employment Law Posters — A new law that goes into effect on 1/1/2022 will add to the Labor Code that electronic distribution of required employment law posters will now be allowed. However, they are clear to state that this law does not alter the fact that you must also have the physical posters posted. More companies than ever before now have remote or field employees. These employees must have access to the information provided on these posters. If you haven’t already found ways to ensure you are compliant, work on it. The posters in California that need this visibility include the usual employment law poster (both State and Federal), local sick leave law posters, and the IWC (Industrial Welfare Commission) wage order for your industry.

COVID Pay Ended — Just a reminder that, as of 9/30/2021, there are no programs paying employees for their COVID-related leave. Your company may still be required to pay any employee who must quarantine due to workplace exposure because the presumed workers’ comp regulation is still out there. Otherwise, if an employee has symptoms, they need to use any of their personal sick time available or, perhaps, apply for state disability.

Special Unemployment Ended — Having employees receive extra unemployment has been problematic for so many businesses trying to hire people. Perhaps now (as of 9/30/2021) we can start filling positions and work on moving forward.

Mandated Vaccinations — We are waiting for Federal OSHA to create a ruling requiring companies of 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations or to provide weekly testing of those who are not vaccinated. OSHA is expected to confirm this within a couple of months and then state OSHAs, like Cal/OSHA, will have 15-30 days to create their own version. Once Cal/OSHA does, there will be a deadline for implementation. Now is the time to start thinking about what you plan to do.

Employment law doesn’t stop just because we’re distracted by the pandemic. No matter what else is happening, it’s always a good policy to schedule quarterly reviews of any legal changes and how they might affect your company. Let us know if you need help.

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