Shortly after releasing its guidelines for reopening courts in the Commonwealth, the Supreme Court of Kentucky provided further guidance in regards to upcoming trials. The Order builds in time for courts to prioritize criminal proceedings that have been delayed as a result of COVID-19. As such, the Order makes the following provisions: Continue reading
Michelle D. Wyrick and Lilian Williams
As businesses begin the first stages of reopening or increasing employee capacity, many have implemented or intend to implement temperature screening procedures. Some businesses are required to screen employee temperatures as a precondition to open under state or local law, as seen in Kentucky, while other businesses look to screen employee temperatures as a precautionary measure. Continue reading
After weeks of anticipation, the Paycheck Protection Program’s (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application has been issued by the Small Business Association (SBA) and Treasury Department. Borrowers—and their accountants—will begin to work through the 11-page application and instructions to determine what proportion of their PPP loan will be converted to a tax-free grant. Unfortunately, similar to the initial confusion and frustration surrounding the roll-out and loan application process for the PPP in early April, the application for forgiveness is anything but simple. Continue reading
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) continues to update its guidance for employers in its “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” questions and answers on a host of topics, including topics that are important for employers who are beginning the process of reopening. Some of these topics include: Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams; Confidentiality of Medical Examination; Reasonable Accommodation; and Return to Work. Continue reading
As a result of social distancing in the midst of COVID-19, employees are working remotely now more than ever. One of the many unique challenges facing employers as a result of the increased number of employees working from the confines of their homes is the ever-present risk that an employee could be injured while conducting work-related tasks. Employers and their insurers must be aware that, under certain circumstances, injuries suffered by employees in their domiciliary “workplaces” could be compensable under workers’ compensation laws—even if any personal, non-work related components of the employee’s work-from-home arrangement contribute to the injury. Continue reading
On April 28, 2020, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued Amended Order 2020-29 extending certain filing deadlines for the Supreme Court of Kentucky and Kentucky Court of Appeals by thirty days as a result of COVID-19. The deadline extension applies only to specified notices, motions, and briefs that would have been due between May 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020. Continue reading
As a result of COVID-19, employers have been forced to take a hard look at employment levels. Many employers have furloughed employees. Furloughing an employee is distinguishable from terminating an employee. A furloughed worker is still considered an employee, but they have been forced to take a temporary break from work without pay or had their work hours significantly reduced. This permits employers to cut costs without ending the employment relationship, and in most cases permits the employee to receive unemployment benefits.
However, as COVID-19 continues to cause problems and the speed of recovery remains uncertain, many employers will be forced to make the more difficult decision of formally ending employment relationships with some employees. Many employers will terminate individuals already on furlough. Employers need to be aware that the same rules that govern the “normal” termination of an employee apply to terminating an employee on furlough. Considerations employers should take into account include the following:
- WARN Act: While furloughing employees did not trigger notice requirements under the WARN Act, employers who are permanently laying off employees now need to consider whether these employment losses trigger any obligations under WARN. Generally, an employer may have a duty to provide advance notice under WARN if 50 or more full-time employees will be laid off at a single site of employment in a 90-day rolling period. For more detail on the WARN Act, click here.
- Health Benefits: Since the end of employment corresponds with the end of employer provided insurance, employers should see that terminated employees receive COBRA notices with regard to participation in any group health plan, as well as notices of the termination of coverage and conversion rights, if any, with regard to other benefits.
- PTO Benefits: If employees do not exhaust PTO Benefits prior to termination, employers must determine whether applicable law or policy requires payout of those remaining benefits.
- Severance Pay: Employers may have an obligation to pay severance under an employment agreement or severance plan or policy. A severance agreement, including a full release, should also be contemplated to minimize future litigation risk in appropriate cases.
- Notice of Termination: Employers should follow their state laws and internal policies regarding notices of termination and whether they need to be in writing.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs Labor & Employment attorney.