This guide is a non-comprehensive overview of employment laws in the United States for international employers. We hope that it will assist employers that already employ individuals in the U.S. and employers that are considering becoming operational in the U.S. in better understanding U.S. employment laws and practices.
Generally speaking, what differentiates U.S. employment law from that of other countries is that the U.S. has very few legally required benefits that an employer must offer its employees. Although it can differ state by state, things that are legally required and commonplace in other countries—such as paid holiday, paid leave, and mandatory severance benefits—are generally not legally required in the United States. Instead, most benefits offered by employers are considered gratuitous and used as tools to recruit and retain employees. This has led employers to be creative in their benefit offerings, including the use of “unlimited” vacation policies, fully remote work, egg freezing or fertility stipends, and the like.
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Menopause is something that approximately 50 percent of the workforce will experience during their working lives, but it is still infrequently discussed or considered in the workplace and many of us are unaware of how menopause can affect those going through it. However, employers are seeing an increase in employees concerned about menopause and their experience with it at work. This is a multi-faceted issue that encompasses a range of potential employment law issues.
Most countries do not recognise menopause as a characteristic that is specifically protected by discrimination laws. But employees experiencing menopause may be protected by discrimination laws relating to age, sex, disability and gender reassignment. Generally, people experiencing menopause are women aged between 45 and 55 so any unfavourable treatment (whether direct or indirect) towards an employee experiencing menopause could amount to sex and/or age discrimination. Gender reassignment discrimination may also be relevant if the employee experiencing menopause is transgender.
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After several years of debate, India has passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Act of 2023 (DPDPA), an overhaul of the country’s data protection regime that will require employers operating in India to take stock of current data protection policies and ensure alignment with the new law.
Like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the DPDPA is a comprehensive framework that will require data processers to identify a lawful purpose for processing personal data, with limited exceptions such as in cases where the data is publicly available or the processing is necessary as part of a merger or a restructuring. Similar to the GDPR, it applies to all data processing in India or that is related to the provision of goods and services to individuals in India.
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On August 26, 2021, the New York State Department of Health’s Public Health and Health Planning Council approved temporary emergency regulations implementing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for personnel in all entities licensed under Article 28 of the Public Health Law (including nursing homes, hospitals, and diagnostic and treatment centers), home care agencies licensed or certified under Article 36, hospice programs licensed under Article 40 and adult care facilities licensed under Article 7 of the Social Services Law. Notably, the final version of the approved emergency regulations removed the religious exemption that was present in the initial proposed version. As a result, health care workers were required to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September 27 — and personnel at other covered entities to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by October 7 — unless a medical exemption is granted. On September 13, 2021, several doctors and nurses who allege that their sincere religious beliefs compel them to refuse COVID-19 vaccination, filed suit (Dr. A, et al. v. Kathy Hochul, et al.) claiming the New York State Department of Health’s failure to recognize religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is unconstitutional. Plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction enjoining the Department of Health from enforcing the mandate.
Continue reading “Judge Extends Temporary Restraining Order on New York’s Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers Based on Lack of Religious Exemption”
President-Elect Biden recently released his “Plan for Strengthening Worker Organizing, Collective Bargaining, and Unions.” His Plan states that “Biden will work with Congress to eliminate all non-compete agreements, except the very few that are absolutely necessary to protect a narrowly defined category of trade secrets, and outright ban all no-poaching agreements,” which are common in franchisor/franchisee and other arrangements. The foregoing statement is consistent with Biden’s previous comments about eliminating non-compete restrictions and no-poaching agreements while on the campaign trail, as well as with the Obama administration’s call for states to ban non-compete agreements.
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In the latest update to our Q&A guide to returning to work in the time of COVID-19, we lay out considerations and action items for retailers — including bars and restaurants, personal health and beauty service providers, and clothing and big box stores — as they prepare to safely reopen their doors to customers.
For the full guide, visit the Faegre Drinker website.