2021 Corporate Compliance & Litigation Outlook for Manufacturers

In late 2012, we created the Manufacturing Law Blog with the goal of providing our manufacturing clients with a holistic approach to the unique issues facing manufacturers that operate globally. Starting in 2016, we made sure our first three posts of the year are dedicated to providing

I am pleased to join as one of the regular contributors to the Manufacturing Law Blog. I am a labor and employment lawyer and I will be providing insights from that vantage point, which Matt Miklave has so ably contributed over the past several years. Matt is retiring from Robinson+Cole and we wish him well as he opens his own firm.

After months of countless updates on the status of the COVID-19 vaccine weaving its way through the regulatory approval process, the vaccine has arrived! Now many employers are grappling with a key question – what type of vaccination program can employers implement?

According to guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on December 16, 2020, employers may implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine program for vaccines that have been authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As part of that program, employers may inquire as to whether an employee has been vaccinated and request proof of vaccination. That being said, according to the guidance, employers should review requests for reasonable accommodation from employees seeking an exemption from vaccination based on a disability or a religious reason. In reviewing such requests, employers would then determine if an unvaccinated employee would pose a “direct threat” to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace that cannot be reduced to an acceptable level by conducting a case-by-case analysis and taking an approach that is meant to limit potential risks.
Continue Reading To Require or Encourage COVID-19 Vaccine. . . That is the Question

Effective September 30, the New York State Paid Sick Leave Law (NYSPSL Law) and amendments to the New York City Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law (NYCPSL Law) became effective requiring implementation of new leave accrual, record-keeping and reporting obligations.  Manufacturers with operations in New York State or New York City may need to

On October 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an advisory “to highlight the sanctions risks associated with ransomware payments related to malicious cyber-enabled activities.”

The advisory acknowledges that the incidents of ransomware attacks on U.S. companies have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the advisory does not mention that companies have been paying ransoms when they are victimized, it has been publicly reported that companies have paid ransoms, particularly when data has been exfiltrated and the cybercriminals are threatening to post the data online unless a ransom is paid for confirmation of destruction, as is the scheme used by Maze.
Continue Reading OFAC Issues Advisory on Sanctions for Facilitating Ransomware Payments

On Friday, September 11, the U.S. DOL issued revised regulations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  Responding to a Federal Court’s August 4 decision invalidating four provisions in the prior regulations (see Post here), the Revised Regulations become effective September 16 and will sunset on December 31, 2020.

Adopted with lightning speed in

Thank you to my colleague, Jonathan Schaefer, for his contributions to this post. Jon focuses his practice on environmental compliance counseling, occupational health and safety, permitting, site remediation, and litigation related to federal and state regulatory programs.

Since at least March, manufacturers, and the entire U.S. economy, have been experiencing unprecedented conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has not only changed where and how manufacturers operate, but also safety protocols across the board.

It will likely come as no surprise to any manufacturer, that since February there has been a significant increase in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) caseload. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently found that this increased caseload has resulted in the average number of days to close an investigation to increase 41 days (279 versus 238) since the OIG’s last audit.
Continue Reading Significant Increase in OSHA Whistleblower Complaints and Caseloads Due to COVID-19

A United States federal judge in Manhattan struck down four regulations issued by the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) limiting paid leave entitlements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  In his August 3, 2020 decision, Judge J. Paul Oetken found the DOL exceeded its authority (a) by determining that employees were not entitled

The Novel Coronavirus, the speed by which science continues to discover new aspects of the disease and the response of the United States government to these developments has tested manufacturers.  One aspect of this testing concerns, well, testing.

The Americans with Disabilities Act has long banned manufacturers from requiring medical evaluations unless both “job-related” and

This is the second of two posts dedicated to reopening plans for manufacturers.  In the first post on May 26, I addressed the first two questions which every manufacturer may wish to ask as it forms its reopening plans.  Manufacturing;  Back to Business (Part One) (May 26, 2020).  Here, I address the next four questions.

The disruption created by the COVID-19 pandemic stressed the entire manufacturing sector.  For the most part, manufacturers responded to those challenges quickly and responsibly.  Now that every state has begun reopening, the manufacturing sector will once again be called on to lead.  Manufacturers which respond well to those challenges will thrive in the months ahead.