Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

CLIENT ALERT: Class Action Waivers in Employment Contracts Upheld by Supreme Court

On May 21, 2018, in a 5-4 decision and a major win for employers, the United States Supreme Court upheld the legality of waivers in employment contracts that prohibit employees from grouping claims together in collective or class actions in favor of individual arbitration proceedings. See Epic Sys. Corp. v. Lewis, ___U.S.___ (2018).

Employers have used these collective/class action waivers to protect against collective action wage and hour claims. Employees and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) had challenged the legality of such provisions, arguing that they violate the National Labor Relations Act (the “NLRA”) prohibition against employers interfering with employees’ rights to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” See 29 U.S.C. § 157.  Employers’ argued, under the Federal Arbitration Act (the “FAA”), that arbitration agreements entered into through a lawful contract must be upheld. 9 U.S.C. § 2. The United States Supreme Court resolved the conflict in favor of the FAA and employers.

Employers are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel to determine whether collective/class action waivers may be beneficial to their business or review waivers already in place to determine whether such waivers fit squarely in the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision. BMD’s employment attorneys are available for such consultation.  Should you have any questions regarding the United States Supreme Court’s decision or class/collective action waivers, please contact Adam D. Fuller at adfuller@bmdllc.com.

DOL Proposes New Rule Regarding Independent Contractor Status - But How Will the Election Affect Its Future?

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new proposed rule regarding employee and independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The full text of the proposed rule is available here. The rule's drafters intend to reduce uncertainty and enhance the precision and predictability of the long-standing "economic reality" test, which currently relies on a multifactor balancing test.

Major Change to Franklin County, Ohio Eviction Process: Landlord Testimony Required

Although there is currently a nationwide temporary halt on all residential evictions through December 31, 2020 in place, the eviction process in Franklin County – which processes the highest number of evictions in the State of Ohio at approximately 18,000 a year – recently changed significantly.

UPDATE: Governor Dewine Signs HB 606 Granting Short Window of Immunity from COVID-19 Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Ohio General Assembly, in Am. Sub. H.B. No. 606, is in the final stages of passing a law that will prohibit lawsuits seeking damages from COVID-19. This includes injury, death, or loss to person or property if the lawsuits are based, in whole or in part, on the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of the coronavirus, unless the defendant in the lawsuit acted intentionally or recklessly. In circumstances where this immunity does not apply, H.B. 606 prohibits such claims being aggregated and brought as a class action.

Revised Department of Labor FFCRA Guidance, Effective September 16, 2020

In response to attacks on the legality of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule regarding the Families First Coronavirus Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which took effect in April 2020, the Department of Labor issued new guidance on Friday, September 11th to formally address ongoing questions and concerns related to the COVID-19 legislation.

FCC Adds $198 Million to Strengthen Telehealth for Rural Healthcare Providers

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has added an additional $198 million in funding to its Rural Health Care Program. These funds will be used to increase broadband services and telecommunications to bolster telehealth/telemedicine services for rural healthcare providers. Funding for rural healthcare providers was initially capped at $605 million in 2020, but the added funds will now allow the FCC to provide over $800 million to eligible providers.