Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

CLIENT ALERT: Update on Discrimination

The “#metoo” presence and the recent Kavanaugh confirmation hearings have brought sexual discrimination issues to the forefront of the American mind.  Always an incendiary and confusing topic, it also includes various permutations of issues involving sex, sex stereotyping, sexual orientation, and  transgender  situations.  Employment issues abound, including proper use of restrooms and disciplinary matters. “LBGTQ” are more than mere letters strung together.

Cuyahoga County passed an ordinance recently which applies to all Cuyahoga County cities and townships, making it unlawful for any business to discriminate against any person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  A Commission on Human Rights was designated to investigate and rule on complaints.

Similarly, the City of Akron passed an ordinance expanding equal employment for employees working in the city.  Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees located in the city, as well as businesses that take contracts from the City but are located elsewhere.  Employers with 4 or more individuals are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of the “traditional” bases (such as race, color, religion, etc.), but also on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.  The ordinance also created the Akron Civil Rights Commission to receive and investigate complaints.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has taken the position that discrimination on the basis of sex includes transgender, sexual identity, and sexual orientation.  The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is the state investigative arm that similarly investigates such complaints (which they often term as a “Charge”).

Ohio is located in the Federal Sixth Circuit.  The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently decided a case involving transgender issues, and also discussed whether a religious belief may play a part in an employer’s decision to terminate an employee.  That case is now on appeal to the United States Supreme Court and, no matter how the Supreme Court rules (and whether or not the Court decides to take the case for review), employer-employee relations will be affected.

Given the currently charged atmosphere, employers should consider a review of their employment practices and handbooks.  In addition, management training should be considered to stay ahead of the trends in this important area. 

If you would like more information, please contact Richard L. Williger at (330) 253-3770 or rlwilliger@bmdllc.com.

 

Florida’s “Stay-at-Home” Order and What it Means for Businesses

On April 1, 2020, in response to the State’s ongoing efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, which is State-wide “Stay-at-Home” Order. The Order goes into effect Friday, April 3, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., and expires on April 30, 2020, unless extended by subsequent order (the full text of the order is available here).

CMS Offers New Stark Waivers and More Flexibility to Health Care Providers Due to COVID-19

On March 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued several temporary regulatory waivers to further enable the American healthcare system to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with more efficiency and flexibility. The official publication can be found here: Physicians and Other Clinicians: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19.

#CancelRent – What’s Next for Landlords?

Across the country, residential tenants, small businesses, and even national retailers such as Cheesecake Factory, Subway, and Mattress Firm have declared war on their landlords by refusing to pay rent on account of the Covid-19 pandemic (“COVID-19”). This has sent shockwaves through the real-estate industry. As of April 1st, residential tenants owe an estimated $40 Billion in rent. Estimates for the commercial sector are not far off. So far, federal, state, and local measures have focused on providing relief to residential and commercial tenants and even to some commercial landlords.

Record Keeping Requirements to Receive FFCRA IRS Tax Credit

On April 1, 2020, the IRS and Department of Labor issued temporary regulations to provide clarity regarding the documents required by employees requesting leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the documentation that employers need to maintain.

Eviction & Foreclosure During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Like most areas of our society, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the business relationships between landlords and tenants and between lenders and borrowers. In most states, non-essential retailers and other businesses have closed their doors and are doing business online, to the extent that they can. Some businesses, like The Cheesecake Factory, have announced that they would not be paying rent at any of their locations for at least a month due to the pandemic. Landlords and homeowners are concerned about being able to pay their mortgages and tenants are concerned about being able paying their rent.