Multistate Monday: Multistate Compliance Is No Joke—Marijuana, Leave, Wage and Hour Laws, and More

Just in time for April Fools’ Day, we are pleased to announce the inaugural episode of our newest podcast series, Multistate Mondays. In this episode, Dee Anna Hays, who is chair of Ogletree Deakins’ Multistate Advice and Counseling Practice Group, is joined by Susan Gorey to discuss the responses to the firm’s recent benchmarking survey. Susan and Dee Anna discuss the most challenging multijurisdictional issues that employers are facing, including leaves of absence, wage and hour laws, handbooks and policies, background checks, and marijuana laws. They discuss how employers can keep up-to-date and in compliance with the patchwork of state laws in these areas—especially given the growing trend of remote workforces that started during the pandemic.

OSHA Inspections, Whistleblower Complaints, and Rapid Response Investigations: Considerations for Employers

In this podcast, John Surma and Frank Davis (both of whom are members of Ogletree Deakins’ Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group) discuss the keys to being successful in terms of managing an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection. Frank and John discuss the importance of having a workplace safety plan, training employees on details of the plan, being prepared, and maintaining relationships with safety professionals.They also discuss whistleblower complaints, rapid response investigations (RRI), and considerations for employers submitting RRI responses.

Oregon’s Senate Bill 592: Workplace Safety Penalty, Inspection, and ‘Look Back’ Period Changes?

In this podcast, John Surma, Kathy Fletcher, and Karen Tynan discuss Oregon’s Senate Bill (SB) 592, which would significantly increase the amounts of civil penalties for violations of the Oregon Safe Employment Act. The speakers also cover SB 592’s provisions that would allow Oregon Occupational Safety and Health to conduct in-depth, wall-to-wall inspections under certain circumstances. Karen Tynan—who is chair of Ogletree’s West Coast OSHA practice—Kathryn, and John also review the unlimited “look back” period for repeat violations included in SB 592 and highlight Ogletree’s OSHA Tracker, a useful tool in monitoring OSHA activity throughout the nation.

R-Case Procedures: Where Things Stand After Recent Judicial Activity and NLRB Response

In this podcast, Tom Davis, co-chair of Ogletree Deakins’ Traditional Labor Practice Group, provides an update on the current National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Representation-Case (R-Case) Procedures, which have gone through substantial changes involving NLRB rulemaking in 2014 and 2019. Tom reviews the recent Court of Appeals decision resolving challenges to the 2019 modifications and how the NLRB intends to respond to that decision.  He then reviews which proposed changes are and which ones are not in effect today: for example, when the list of eligible voters is due, when the certification of election results may occur, who can be an election observer certified by a union, the number of days permitted for various steps in the process, and whether ballots are impounded or counted when an election is appealed.

Guns in the Workplace: The ‘Parking Lot Exception’ and More

State laws addressing the right to carry firearms have been evolving and some states, including Texas, have expanded the rights of individuals to carry guns in public places. In this podcast, Frank Davis, John Surma, and Andy Turner discuss the interplay between such laws and the rights of employers to limit employees’ possession of guns on work premises. This podcast includes an in-depth review of the “parking lot exception” and an update on recent changes to Texas state law.

OSHA’s ‘Wall-to-Wall’ Site-Specific Targeting Program Ramps Up

In this podcast, Frank Davis, John Surma, and David Walston, members of Ogletree’s Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group, discuss the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Site-Specific Targeting (SST) program whereby the agency randomly selects employers for “wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling” inspections without identifying an accident or hazard. The speakers review data indicating that OSHA inspections, citations, and penalties are on the rise, and offer insights into the reasons for the increase, particularly in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama.

Dirty Steel-Toe Boots, Episode 16: Investigations and the OSH Act’s Whistleblower Provision

In this episode of Dirty Steel-Toe Boots, Phillip Russell is joined by Tom Chibnall, to discuss the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recent activity on the regulatory front, namely the new guidance on the whistleblower complaint intake pilot program. Phillip and Tom (both of whom are members of Ogletree Deakins’ Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group) discuss the potential impact of the program, including the likelihood that it will alleviate the backlog of whistleblower complaints (such as Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act 11(c) complaints), screen out flawed allegations, and lead to shorter investigatory timetables. Phillip and Tom also review the elements of viable 11 (c) complaints: protected activity, an adverse employment action, and a “but for” causal connection between the two.

Criminal Referrals and OSHA Violations, Part III: Industry Standards, Multiemployer Workplaces, and Best Practices

In the final installment of this three-part podcast series, Frank Davis and John Surma wrap up their discussion of the criminal implications associated with some violations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, with a focus on the fatal shooting on the set of the movie “Rust.” Frank and John, members of Ogletree’s Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group, review how deviation from industry standards and from the “reasonable person” standard may result in an OSH Act violation and, possibly, criminal charges. They also highlight best practices for employers that become aware of workplace hazards and outline when and how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Multiemployer Citation Policy may apply.

Criminal Referrals and OSHA Violations, Part II: From Movie Sets to Fatalities in Other Industries

Part two of Frank Davis and John Surma’s three-part podcast series continues the discussion on the workplace safety issues related to the criminal proceedings emerging from the tragic incident on the set of the movie, “Rust.” Frank and John, both of whom are members of Ogletree Deakins’ Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group, consider criminal charges that may be brought in other industries, such as construction, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigations when workplace injuries are related to an emphasis program subject. Our speakers also consider how federal OSHA states and state-plan states differ on criminal prosecutions—whether it be a state attorney general or the federal department of justice.

In The Breakroom With Bill, Episode 7: Intermittent FMLA Leave in Perpetuity? Latest DOL Opinion Letter Sheds Light on Accommodations

In this podcast, host Bill Grob is joined by Chris Cascino to discuss the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new opinion letter on how the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies in employee scheduling. Our speakers discuss the background of the opinion letter, the intricacies of offering intermittent leave for an indefinite period of time, and the DOL’s stance that employees may limit their work schedules on an intermittent leave basis in perpetuity. Bill and Chris also discuss the methods available to employers in terms of scheduling, the intersection of the Americans with Disabilities Act with the FMLA, and undue hardship exemptions under the ADA.