Wyatt Employment Law Report

Kentucky Supreme Court issues Amended Order extending filing deadlines for the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Kentucky.

By Daniel Reed

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

Considerations When Severing Employment Relationships With Furloughed Employees

By Marianna J. Michael

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.

Kentucky Releases Unemployment Insurance Employer Handbook for COVID-19

By Michelle D. Wyrick

The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet has published an employer handbook to answer employers’ questions about unemployment insurance and how it has been impacted by COVID-19 and the new federal programs enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The handbook can be found here. Continue reading

Presidential Proclamation Suspending the Entry of Certain Immigrants into the United States – What You Should Know

The following article was written by Wyatt’s Glen Krebs on behalf the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”). The AILA is the national bar association of immigration lawyers comprised of over 15,000 members located in every state in the United States and worldwide.

Here’s What We Know

On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of any individual seeking to enter the United States as an immigrant who:

  • Is outside the United States on the effective date of the proclamation;
  • Does not have a valid immigrant visa as of April 23, 2020; and
  • Does not have a valid official travel document as of April 23, 2020, or issued on any date thereafter.

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COVID-19 Changes to Health Insurance

By Sherry P. Porter

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Labor and the Department of Treasury issued joint guidance this week that will be helpful to employers that sponsor group health plans and insurers that provide health insurance coverage or provide third party administration services to group health plans. Continue reading

OSHA Issues Continued Coronavirus Guidance

By Emily Daunhauer

COVID-19 continues to cause concern for employers, but one concern they may be able to let go of is recording each employee diagnosis with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). Following a letter of concern, OSHA has released new guidelines that COVID-19 would not be a recordable injury for most employers and industries.

Apart from employers in Healthcare, Emergency Response, and Correctional Facilities, cases of COVID-19 among staff are only recordable incidents if there is a presumption of work-relatedness. This presumption is designed to prevent employers from investing valuable time determining the source of each COVID-19 infection.

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In Its Latest Order, the Supreme Court of Kentucky Extends its Restrictions to May 31, 2020

By Marianna Michael
On April 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued its latest Order extending deadlines in response to COVID-19. In what is its most dramatic extension to this point, the Court has limited its functions and those of the Court of Appeals until May 31, 2020. Up to this point, the Court had been extending its deadlines every two weeks. The most recent Order extends deadlines for more than six weeks.

The Order, which can be found here, included the following restrictions: Continue reading