Philadelphia Reintroduces Mask Requirements in Response to Delta Variant Concerns

On August 11, 2021, the City of Philadelphia announced that in order to curb the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, it would be reintroducing certain mask requirements throughout the city.

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Supreme Court Limits Application of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Against Employees Who Abuse Their Network Access Credentials

In a decision handed down yesterday, the Supreme Court held that civil liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) does not attach for employees who abuse or misuse their access credentials in accessing their current or former employers’ computer networks.  Rather, to be liable under the CFAA, the employees must access databases or other electronic materials that are outside of their access rights and otherwise off-limits to them.

The Case

The case, Van Buren v. United States, arose out of the actions of a former police sergeant.  The former officer, Van Buren, used his valid login credentials to search his police department database for a particular license plate number in exchange for a bribe, but was caught by an FBI sting operation.  Van Buren was charged with a felony violation of the CFAA—18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2).  An individual is liable under this section (which can carry both civil and criminal penalties) if he “intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access.”  The statute defines “exceeds authorized access” to mean “to access a computer with authorization and to use such access to obtain or alter information in the computer that the accesser is not entitled so to obtain or alter.” 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(6).

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Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Introduce New Restrictions in Response to Rising COVID-19 Infections

Pennsylvania

On November 17, 2020, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine issued two new orders in response to rising levels of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. These orders (1) place certain restrictions on individuals traveling into Pennsylvania, and (2) provide increased and more detailed requirements related to the use of face coverings in the Commonwealth.

The travel order requires that all travelers entering Pennsylvania from other countries and states, whether a returning resident or a visitor, must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth. If the traveler cannot obtain a negative COVID-19 test, he or she must quarantine for 14 days upon his or her arrival in Pennsylvania or until he or she obtains a negative COVID-19 test result, whichever is earlier. The travel order takes effect on November 20, 2020. Importantly, this order does not apply to individuals who are travelling to or from Pennsylvania for work or medical reasons.

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Philadelphia Expands Paid Sick Leave During COVID-19

On September 17, 2020, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed the Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) bill. The PHEL amends Chapter 9-4100 of the Philadelphia Code to create additional sick leave protections for Philadelphia employees during a public health emergency — specifically COVID-19.

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Pennsylvania Federal Judge Strikes Down Key Provisions in Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 Orders

In a decision issued on September 14, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge William S. Stickman IV ruled that certain restrictions ordered by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to slow the spread of COVID-19 were unconstitutional. Judge Stickman’s decision comes after several other Pennsylvania courts upheld the restrictions as being within Wolf’s authority and courts in other states had upheld similar types of orders.

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Political Strike Guidance for Employers: Preparing for ‘Strike for Black Lives’

On July 20, labor organizations across the country are planning a “Strike for Black Lives,” a national walkout in support of “dismantling racism and white supremacy to bring about fundamental changes in our society, economy and workplaces.” When preparing for this and any political strike, employers should develop a response strategy — grounded in NLRB interpretations of employees’ rights to conduct political demonstrations — to limit liability and keep their businesses running.

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