Labor & Employment E-Note - March 2021

Burr & Forman

Spotlight

Burr & Forman Represents Coastal Carolina University in Title IX Defense Verdict

Jim Gilliam and Hunter Freeman successfully represented Coastal Carolina University in a five-day federal jury trial involving Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. While plaintiff was a student at the University, a female student accused the male plaintiff of sexual assault. The University followed its policies in conducting an investigation and engaging in the student-disciplinary process. Ultimately, the student-disciplinary process found plaintiff in violation of the University's policies and permanently dismissed the plaintiff from the University.

Following the plaintiff's permanent dismissal, the plaintiff brought suit under Title IX, alleging the University engaged in gender discrimination in investigating and adjudicating the allegations of sexual assault. The University denied the plaintiff's allegations and maintained that it engaged in its process in a gender neutral manner.

This case appears to be the first ever student-disciplinary process to result in a jury trial. The ten-person jury deliberated for less than two hours and found in favor of the University. This case is an important victory for colleges and universities in the ever-changing landscape of Title IX.

Resources

OSHA Launches National Emphasis Program to Protect High-Risk Workers from COVID-19 or Retaliation from COVID-19 Complaints

On March 12, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") launched a National Emphasis Program ("NEP") to focus its COVID-19 enforcement efforts. The NEP will remain in effect for up to one year from its issuance date, although OSHA has the discretion to amend or cancel the program sooner as more workers are vaccinated and the pandemic begins to subside. This Program is a direct response to a January 2021 executive order from President Biden directing the Department of Labor to issue revised guidance for employers.

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Biden's First 100 Days: A Check-In for Employers

When Biden took office on January 20, 2021, employers anticipated that we would see widespread changes in federal policy. As we near the half-way point of Biden's first 100 days in office, we have a clearer idea of how the Biden administration may impact employers.

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Katy Willis Discusses Latest OSHA Guidance for Modern Restaurant Management

Katy Willis authored an article for Modern Restaurant Management discussing the January 29, 2021 guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") on workplace safety during COVID-19 and the related obligations for employers in the restaurant industry.

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Burr Morning Show Webinar: All About the COVID-19 Vaccine

During this Q&A, Burr & Forman's Bryance Metheny and Emily Mack discuss the COVID-19 vaccine and answer your vaccine-related questions. You can view the webinar recording below.

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Emily Mack Details Employer Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccine Policies in Today's General Counsel

For the February/March 2021 issue of Today's General Counsel, Emily Mack outlined issues employers should consider when establishing policies related to the COVID-19 vaccination.

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Travel Ban and National Interest Exception ("NIE") Update: Changing Standards

On January 25, 2021, Presidential Proclamation ("PP") 10143 extended PP 9993, which had suspended certain travel from those physically present in the Schengen Area and other countries since March 2020. PP 10143 restricts entry into the U.S. for non-U.S. citizens physically present in certain countries (Schengen Area, United Kingdom and Ireland, Brazil and South Africa) for the 14-day period prior to U.S. entry. The PP initially included a limited number of national interest exceptions ("NIE") to the travel ban for certain technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, treaty-traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents. As the pandemic persists, however, the Secretary of State has rescinded the previous NIE standard and implemented more stringent criteria for NIE issuance for those physically present in the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

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Retroactive 2020 Employee Retention Credit Changes and 2021 Enhancements

The Employee Retention Credit, as originally enacted on March 27, 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act"), is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50% of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act ("Relief Act"), enacted on December 27, 2020 amended and extended the Employee Retention Credit. On March 1, 2021, the IRS released Notice 2021-20 to provide guidance on the original Employee Retention Credit, as modified by the Relief Act.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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