Three for One Friday!

Congratulation! For today only I am having a special three for one deal. For the low low price of nothing, you get three of my hot-off-the press updates.

1.EEO-1 Reports are due by July 19, 2021.

This is more of a reminder. If you are an employer who is required to file an EEO-1 Component 1 report for 2019 or 2020, you must file both reports with the EEOC by July 19, 2021. Don’t wait too long or forget to file for 2019 if you are required to do so.

2.The EEOC has filed suit against Walmart in Chicago for failing to provide a hearing-impaired applicant with an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.

This is one of a series of lawsuits that the EEOC has filed against large employers, including McDonald’s, as part of its ongoing Strategic Enforcement Plan aimed at eliminating barriers to hiring disabled applicants. The key here is to know what your obligations are to accommodate disabled persons in the application and hiring process and to make sure that everyone involved in the process knows what to do and say. It only takes one untrained assistant to tell a hearing-impaired applicant that you don’t provide ASL interpreters to trigger a lawsuit.

I am currently handling several suits of this type filed by advocacy groups who send in “testers” posing as disabled applicants. They claim to be hearing impaired and ask if you will provide an ASL interpreter to translate as they go through the application process.  If you say anything other than “yes” they file suit.  Be aware, be prepared, and train your people on how to handle these situations.

3.President Biden Raises Minimum Wage to $15 for Federal Contractors.

On April 27, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order requiring all Federal Contractors and Subcontractors to pay workers on covered contracts a minimum of $15 an hour starting January 30, 2022. This is an increase from the current $10.95 minimum wage for Federal Contractors. The Order requires the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations implementing this EO by November 24, 2021.

If you are a Federal Contractor or Subcontractor, you should review your service contracts and subcontracts to ensure that they include a clause authorizing price increases resulting from direct labor costs caused by the increased minimum wage. These types of clauses usually allow for the recovery of accompanying increases in social security, unemployment taxes and workers’ compensation insurance costs, but they do not allow price increases to recover increased general and administrative costs, overhead, or profit.

My Employees Have Been Jabbed Twice, Now What?

I have been getting a lot of questions about the CDC’s stance on mask use after being fully vaccinated, and whether or not employers should continue to require employees who have been fully vaccinated to wear masks. The short answer is: It depends. Below is an excerpt from FAQs published by the CDC last Tuesday the 13th that will shed some light on this issue.

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have gotten 2 doses of the vaccine?

It depends. For now, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without physical distancing or wearing masks with:

  • Other people who are fully vaccinated
  • Unvaccinated people from one other household, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Until more is known, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from other people in other settings, like when they are in public or visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.

This should get you to the CDC’s COVID-19 FAQ page. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

Keep in mind LSA-R.S. 9:2800.25 when deciding if you are going to continue to require your employees to wear masks. You haven’t memorized LSA-R.S. 9:2800.25? Here are the relevant parts:

  1. No natural or juridical person, state or local government, or political subdivision thereof shall be liable for any civil damages for injury or death resulting from or related to actual or alleged exposure to COVID-19 in the course of or through the performance or provision of the person’s, government’s, or political subdivision’s business operations unless the person, government, or political subdivision failed to substantially comply with the applicable COVID-19 procedures established by the federal, state, or local agency which governs the business operations and the injury or death was caused by the person’s, government’s, or political subdivision’s gross negligence or wanton or reckless misconduct. If two or more sources of procedures are applicable to the business operations at the time of the actual or alleged exposure, the person, government, or political subdivision shall substantially comply with any one applicable set of procedures.
  2. An employee whose contraction of COVID-19 is determined to be compensable under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Law shall have no remedy based in tort for such exposure against his employer, joint employer, borrowed employer, statutory employer, any other person or entity listed in R.S. 23:1032(A)(1)(b), and any other person or entity potentially liable pursuant to the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Law unless the exposure was intentional as provided by R.S. 23:1032(B).

This is a link to the Act. https://legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=1187405

I strongly encourage you to check the CDC web site daily and to follow its latest guidance and recommendations.

Get Ready to Submit Your EEO-1 Component 1 Data to the EEOC

On March 29, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that qualifying employers will be required to file 2019 and 2020 workplace diversity data, (aka EEO-1 Component 1) between April 26, 2021 and July 19, 2021. Qualifying employers, generally those with at least 100 employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees, should begin to prepare their filings.

You may recall that in May of 2020 the EEOC announced the delay of the 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Consequently, EEO-1 filers will have to submit data for both 2019 and 2020 in this year’s data collection. The EEOC has indicated that more information and resources regarding updates on the data collection will be available on a new dedicated website and that they will provide a Filer Support Team to respond to inquiries. You can vising this site for additional information: https://eeocdata.org/