Many employers are seeking ways to encourage their employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. For those wishing to stop short of making it mandatory, incentivizing voluntary vaccination is an option, but one that comes with its own set of potential legal pitfalls employers should be aware of.
Category: Top Stories
Posted January 5, 2021
Brandie focuses her practice on product liability and mass tort defense, representing manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers regionally and nationally. She consults with clients on regulatory issues, CPSC investigations, and recalls; and provides counseling on preventative measures to help minimize litigation costs.
Posted December 31, 2020
Minneapolis-based national firm Nilan Johnson Lewis (NJL) is pleased to announce the hires of Chelsea J. Bodin and Christopher T. Ruska, both joining our Labor and Employment team.
Backlog to the Future: Lingering Questions about the Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Wait Times Under H.R. 1044/S. 386
As currently drafted, the bills would eliminate the 7% per-country ceiling for all employment-based visa categories by October 1, 2022. However, the bill would not eliminate the numerical cap for immigrant visas that could be issued per year. Instead, it would distribute the backlog across all countries by changing the visa allocation process to be a first-come, first-served process.
DHS Extends Temporary Protected Status Benefits for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal Nationals
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on December 9, 2020, an extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal through October 4, 2021. TPS is a temporary status that allows nationals of designated countries to remain and, in some cases, work in the United States until it is considered safe to return to their home country.
Posted December 7, 2020
During the small window when trials briefly went live this fall, three Nilan Johnson Lewis women not only led the few pieces of pandemic litigation, but all three garnered full defense verdicts within three days of each other. This is significant when you consider nearly 97 percent of civil cases are resolved before going to trial in a typical year without a pandemic.
Posted December 3, 2020
In First Impression Decision, Minnesota Federal Court Applies Advice-of-Counsel Defense to Tortious Interference Claim
In a first-of-its-kind decision, NJL non-compete litigator Katie Connolly convinced a Minnesota federal court to apply a novel advice-of-counsel defense to an employer’s hiring of an individual with a non-compete agreement.
Federal Judge Strikes Down Two Rules that Impose Restrictions on U.S. Employers who Sponsor Foreign Workers
At issue was whether or not the Administration was justified in its determination that the COVID-19 pandemic provided a good cause exception to Section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires a proper public notice and comment period before a rule can be implemented. The court decided that it was not.
Posted November 25, 2020
On November 20, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published two final rules that aim to reduce regulatory barriers to care coordination and accelerate the transformation of the healthcare system to value-based care. The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued the final rule “Revisions to the Safe Harbors Under the Anti-Kickback Statute and Civil Monetary Penalty Rules Regarding Beneficiary Inducements,” and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final rule “Modernizing and Clarifying the Physician Self-Referral Regulations.” The regulations are effective on January 19, 2021.
The Premium Processing Roller Coaster: What is the Fee Now, and Has it Been Expanded to Other Types of Immigration Benefit Requests?
The short answer is that the premium processing fee increased to $2,500 effective October 20, 2020, for all eligible I-129 and I-140 filings (except for H-2B and R-1 requests that increased to $1500), based on the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act that was part of the Continuing Appropriations Act 2021 and Other Extensions Act signed into law on October 1. Although the Act gives U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) authority to expand premium processing to other types of benefit requests, the agency recently said it is not yet taking that action. In other words, USCIS has not yet applied premium processing to I-765, I-539, or the other new benefit requests.
Posted October 27, 2020
Congratulations to Nilan Johnson Lewis’ team of Dave Schooler, Ellen Brinkman, Erin Conlin, and Dan Supalla for garnishing two favorable results on behalf of U.S. Bank in the month of October. Both cases involved age bias claims.
With the presidential election looming, discussions about politics are happening in the workplace now more than ever. In the current political environment, these conversations may be disruptive and may not align with Equal Employment Opportunity and Harassment-Free Workplace Policies, diversity and inclusion goals, and organizational brands. This means that HR professionals and other supervisors walk a very fine line as they draw distinctions between what violates or contradicts employment policies versus free speech.
Posted October 13, 2020 with Tags Product Liability/Mass Tort
Anyone paying attention to the sports world in the past several years is well aware of the spotlight focused on concussions and head trauma. Much of the attention has come from high-profile, class-action lawsuits against major sports leagues like the NFL, NHL, and NCAA. But as these cases run their course and the pool of major sports leagues that can be sued dwindles, plaintiffs’ attorneys have turned their attention to other groups that might be held liable for concussion-related injuries, including manufacturers of helmets and other sports equipment, as well as amateur and youth sports leagues.
Posted October 12, 2020
Minneapolis-based law firm Nilan Johnson Lewis is pleased to announce the hire of Chelsea Vilchis, who will be joining the firm’s product liability/mass tort, business litigation, and labor and employment practices.
Posted October 12, 2020 with Tags Corporate Immigration
During the first week of October and just days into the new fiscal year, the Trump Administration announced two significant changes for employers who wish to sponsor foreign workers. The first of these announcements affects changes to the prevailing wage that employers must pay foreign workers, while the second imposes changes to the H-1B process for employers who wish to sponsor foreign professionals.
Posted October 8, 2020 with Tags Labor and Employment
Federal Contractors and Diversity Initiatives: Understanding the Executive Order on Implicit Bias Training and the Department of Labor’s Newest Enforcement Actions
In recent weeks, the federal government has increased its attention on diversity and inclusion initiatives undertaken by federal contractors. First, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) that appears—on its face—to prohibit implicit and unconscious bias trainings. Then the Department of Labor (DOL) opened a new hotline to receive complaints regarding discrimination by federal contractors. Since opening the hotline just days ago, the DOL has already commenced investigations into multiple federal contractors’ diversity initiatives, and not only trainings addressed by the EO.
Posted October 5, 2020
Known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, this lottery provides a maximum of up to 55,000 Diversity Visas (DV) each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Those granted a DV visa become permanent residents of the United States.
With just days before a sweeping fee increase set to take place, a California federal judge stayed the implementation and the effective date of USCIS Immigration Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements.
America’s immigration system is based on a quota system. This means that there is a limited number of permanent resident visas available each year, with limits per category and per country. This article will focus on the employment-based categories only.