MHTL supports the international effort to help Ukraine and bring an end to the political and humanitarian crisis that is unfolding. Too long has the world, and this country also, allowed bad actors to use the weapons of war, including the threat of...
AUTHORIZATION FOR REMOTE PARTICIPATION FOR PUBLIC BODIES AND FOR REPRESENTATIVE TOWN MEETINGS IS EXTENDED THROUGH JULY 14, 2022
On February 12, 2022, the Governor signed Chapter 22 of the Acts of 2022, which extends the authority for remote participation for all public bodies through July 14, 2022. This session law also extends the authority for representative town meetings to meet by remote means, through July 14, 2022. These temporary measures provide public bodies and representative town meetings the ability to choose to continue the now well-established remote meeting protocols, first established back in March of 2020. In response to public demand and interest from cities and towns, the General Court will take the additional time to evaluate long-term action, to decide if remote participation for public bodies and representative town meetings is here to stay. The extended authorization keeps all of the same procedural requirements and safeguards in place from the original authorizations and extensions.
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Clarifies Definition of “Regular Compensation” for Retirement Boards
In 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), in a case commonly known as the Vernava decision, declared that vacation or sick pay used to supplement workers’ compensation payments did not constitute “regular compensation” as defined in M.G.L. c. 32, 1.
Based on the Vernava decision, PERAC issued a memorandum which interpreted the SJC’s Vernava decision as being limited to the calculation of regular compensation for those members who received accidental disability retirement benefits under M.G.L. c. 32, § 7. PERAC instructed all retirement boards to follow its interpretation of Vernava as outlined in the memorandum but not to apply the SJC’s analysis of regular compensation to ordinary disability or superannuation retirement applications.
OSHA has just announced that it is withdrawing this ETS effective immediately. Although OSHA is withdrawing the ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, OSHA is not withdrawing the ETS to the extent that it serves as a “proposed” rule; instead OSHA has indicated that it will prioritize its resources to focus on a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard. Notwithstanding the withdrawal of the ETS for large employers, OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace.
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP is delighted to announce the addition of three new associate attorneys, Blair Wigney, Katherine Blum and Mariem Marquetti. Ms. Blum and Ms. Marquetti will primarily be assisting in the firm’s Labor & Employment and Litigation practices, while Ms. Wigney will be focused on the firm’s Corporate & Business and Benefits practices.
The Supreme Court Blocks OSHA Vaccination and Testing Requirements but Upholds HHS Vaccination Requirements
On January 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued a “stay” that prevents OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) from taking effect for the time being. On the same day, the Supreme Court also issued a “stay” that allows the Health and Human Services (“HHS”) mandatory COVID-19 vaccination rule for all Medicare and Medicaid funded facilities to go into effect. Given that both of these rulings involved applications for preliminary or emergency relief, neither of them represents the final word on the enforceability of the vaccine and/or testing mandates, and additional litigation is a certainty as the lower courts further evaluate the legality of the mandates.
OSHA ETS Vaccination and Testing Requirements Enforcement To Begin on January 10, 2022 and February 9, 2022
On December 17, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit lifted a stay on enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which was issued on November 4, 2021.
In October, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 Technical Assistance, providing additional guidance for employers on the interaction between COVID-19 vaccine workplace policies and federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. Here are key updates to the Technical Assistance:
OSHA ISSUES EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARD WHICH REQUIRES A VACCINE MANDATE POLICY WITH AN EXCEPTION FOR WEEKLY TESTING
OSHA issued its much-anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) late last week on Thursday, November 4, 2021. In general, the ETS requires employers to establish, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. The ETS provides a limited exemption from the vaccine mandate which permits an employer to establish a policy which allows employees to choose either vaccination or regular weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering in the workplace as an alternative to vaccination.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently published a new guidance on disclosures and requests for information regarding a person’s receipt of the COVID-19 vaccination in relation to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (more commonly known as HIPAA). As employers continue to develop COVID-19 vaccination policies in the workplace, this guidance may be important.
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Presents at the Mass Bar Association’s 43rd Annual Labor & Employment Spring Conference
Attorney Sarah Spatafore, a partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, participated as a labor panelist at the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 43rd Annual Labor and Employment Spring Conference earlier this month. Presenters at the conference, held at Suffolk University Law School, were chosen based on experience providing significant thought leadership in the areas of labor and employment law. Among the presenters were several judges and accomplished labor and employment law attorneys, as well as U.S. Secretary of Labor Read More
MHTL supports the international effort to help Ukraine and bring an end to the political and humanitarian crisis that is unfolding. Too long has the world, and this country also, allowed bad actors to use the weapons of war, including the threat of nuclear war, to achieve immoral and illegal ends. Ending the crisis in Ukraine is not enough. The world needs a solution, short of violence and war, to make sure that bad actors and those who Read More