EEOC Updates Guidance on COVID-19 and the Workplace

On September 8, 2020, the EEOC updated its technical assistance document, What You Should Know about COVID-19 and the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws (“WYSK”). The updated document revises two pre-existing Q&As that address employer testing and employee requests for accommodation in advance of a return to work. It also incorporates information that previously appeared in other EEOC technical assistance documents, thus creating a single, more comprehensive, resource for COVID-19 related information.

With respect to employer-administered testing, the WYSK confirms that employers may take screening steps, including administering COVID-19 testing, to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because they could pose a direct threat to the health of others. Employer-administered testing consistent with current CDC or other public health authority guidelines will meet the ADA’s “business necessity” standard. However, employers should ensure that tests are considered accurate and reliable, based on evolving guidance from the FDA, CDC and other public health authorities. Requiring an antibody test before allowing an employee to re-enter the workplace is not allowed under the ADA. (WYSK A.6-A.7)

As to potential requests for accommodation, the WYSK specifies that employers can inform the workforce that employees with disabilities may request accommodations in advance of their return to work. If advance requests are received, employers may begin the interactive process. If an employee chooses not to request an accommodation in advance, the employer must still consider a later request and engage in the same interactive process. (WYSK D.8) Keep in mind that accommodations based on a disability pertain only to the employee, not to their family members.

The revised WYSK includes additional information that has been incorporated from other EEOC resources. Key provisions include:

  • Employers may ask all employees entering the physical workplace if they have been diagnosed with, have symptoms of, or have been tested for COVID-19. An employer may limit this questioning to certain employee(s) only if it has a reasonable belief based upon objective evidence that the employee(s) may have the disease. An employer is not generally permitted to ask these questions of employees who are teleworking. (WYSK A.8- A.9)
  • Employers may not ask employees coming into the physical workplace whether family members have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19; this is prohibited under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”). However, employers may ask employees whether they have had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with or had symptoms of COVID-19. An employee who refuses to answer such questions or submit to other health screenings prior to entering the physical workplace (without a rationale or request for an accommodation) may be denied entrance. (WYSK A.10-A.11)
  • If an employee works on-site and reports feeling ill or calls in sick, an employer may ask questions about their symptoms as part of workplace screening. An employer may also question employees about why they have been absent from work and/or where they have traveled recently, even if that travel was personal. (WYSK A.12-A.14)
  • The ADA’s confidentiality provisions do not prohibit a manager or co-worker who learns that an employee has COVID-19 or associated symptoms from reporting it to the relevant employer officials so that they can take steps consistent with guidance from CDC or other public health authorities. Employers should make every effort to limit the number of people who learn the identity of the employee and reinforce the confidential nature of that information. (WYSK B.5-B.6)
  • When an employee with a disability is teleworking, an employer is not necessarily required to provide them with the same reasonable accommodation as it would provide in the physical workplace. The employer and employee should discuss specific needs and explore whether a different accommodation might suffice in the home setting. An employer’s undue hardship considerations and/or access to accommodation equipment may change during prolonged teleworking periods. The EEOC encourages all parties to be creative and flexible in these situations. (WYSK D.14)
  • An employer that allows its workforce to telework to slow the spread of COVID-19 does not automatically have to grant requests for telework as a reasonable accommodation to every employee with a disability when employees are recalled to the physical workplace. If there is no disability-related limitation that requires teleworking, the employer does not need to provide continued telework as an accommodation. In addition, the fact that an employer may temporarily excuse performance of one or more essential functions during periods of telework does not mean that the employer has permanently changed the essential function of any job. The ADA never requires an employer to eliminate an essential function of a job as an accommodation for an individual with a disability. However, evidence that an employee with a disability is able to perform the essential functions of the job during periods of telework may be relevant to future requests for telework as a reasonable accommodation. (WYSK D.15-16)

All EEOC materials related to Covid-19 are available at www.eeoc.gov/coronavirus.

Your partners at Lake Effect HR & Law are closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace. Keep watching for blogs and emails for important legal updates and HR best practices. The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to help. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Employers Must Submit Form for Unemployment Benefits Relief by August 15, 2020

As a reminder, Wisconsin Act 185 mandated that unemployment benefits that are the result of COVID-19 may be charged against the state’s UI fund balance and not to the employer’s UI account.

Wisconsin employers must submit Form UCB-18823-E by August 15 to ensure that COVID-19 related unemployment benefits for employees’ initial claims filed between May 17 – June 30, 2020 are not charged to employers’ UI accounts. For initial claims filed after June 30th, this same form must be submitted within 30 days after the employee’s initial claim is filed.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development is not requiring employers to submit the UCB-18823-E form to receive relief for employees filing initial unemployment benefits claims during the weeks of March 15 – May 16, 2020.

We are closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace. Keep watching for blogs and emails from your Lake Effect team for important legal updates and HR best practices. The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to help. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

President Trump Signs Executive Actions After Covid-19 Stimulus Talks Stall in Legislature

After COVID-19 stimulus talks broke down in the Legislature last week, President Trump signed four Executive Actions on Saturday, August 8, 2020. Those actions cover the following:

  • Unemployment: Congress previously authorized an additional $600 per week in federal unemployment compensation benefits for eligible workers, but that funding expired on July 31. This Executive Memorandum creates a new lost wages assistance program to continue until December 6, 2020, or until the federal Disaster Relief Program (DRF) is depleted to $25 billion, whichever occurs first. Under the new program, states may provide up to $400 per week in additional unemployment compensation benefits to workers who otherwise qualify for state benefits. In order to participate in the program, a state must agree to pay 25% ($100 per week for each eligible worker) of the additional benefits, and the federal government will pay the remaining 75% ($300). The federal government will fund the program, up to a maximum of $44 billion, out of its DRF. States may use remaining dollars previously allocated to them under the CARES Act or any other available state funding.

While aimed at providing relief to unemployed workers, the new program will likely create challenges. States already face budget shortfalls in the wake of the pandemic and will be hard-pressed to afford the new wage assistance costs. In addition, the program creates a new, separate program and will not be administered through the existing state unemployment program. Thus, it will require states to create a new administrative system, placing further demands on limited state resources. The details on administration and state funding have not yet been finalized.

  • Payroll Tax Deferral: Congress previously deferred most employer payroll taxes for the remainder of 2020. This Executive Memorandum directs the Secretary of the Treasury to defer the payment of payroll taxes from September 1 until December 31, 2020 for employees earning less than $4,000 per pay period (or $104,000 per year). Notably, this is only a payroll tax deferral for employees, and those payments will have to made at a later date unless Congress directs otherwise. Payroll taxes partially fund Social Security and Medicare, and a permanent reduction in payroll taxes would lower funds available for those programs.
  • Student Loans: As part of an earlier stimulus effort, Congress suspended student loan payments until September 30, 2020. This Executive Memorandum directs the Secretary of Education to waive interest and defer payments on student loans held by the federal government until December 31, 2020. Notably, principal payments are not cancelled, only deferred until the end of the year. Presumably, those cumulative payments will be due on December 31, and then full interest and principal payments will restart in January 2021.
  • Evictions: The federal government previously ordered a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions during the COVID-19 crisis, but that order expired on July 24, 2020. This Executive Order directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the CDC to consider whether any measures temporarily halting residential evictions for failure to pay rent are reasonably necessary to prevent further spread of COVID-19. It further directs the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to identify available Federal funds to provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners facing financial hardships caused by COVID-19. Notably, this Order does not by its own terms extend the prior moratorium or ban evictions.

President Trump’s unilateral Executive Actions will likely face legal challenges, as the U.S. Constitution delegates taxing and spending powers exclusively to Congress, not the Executive Branch. Lake Effect HR & Law will continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19 relief. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from us for important legal updates and HR best practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Phase 1 Reopening Requirements for 5/26/20

UPDATE, May 27, 2020

Public Health Madison and Dane County announced at a meeting today with the Madison Chamber of Commerce that employers are required to document receipt, acknowledgment, or training on the policies required in Emergency Order #3. The order’s original language requiring receipt, acknowledgment, and training was a mistake. We have updated the summary below.


At 8:00 a.m. on May 26, Dane County will start Phase One of reopening under Forward Dane, (note 5/22/20 version updating 5/18/20 version). Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) have released Emergency Order #3 to coincide with Phase One. The order provides requirements for organizations as they gradually start to reopen. Emergency Order #3 is effective May 26 and will remain in effect until PHMDC determines that we can move into Phase Two.

As with Emergency Order #2, violations of Emergency Order #3 can be enforced by any law enforcement official and will be considered ordinance violations. Please see Forward Dane and the accompanying legal requirements set forth in Emergency Order #3 for new details for your industry.

Below is an outlined summary of Emergency Order #3:

Capacity and Training

  • Under Emergency Order #3, Phase One capacity for office, restaurant, bar, salon, store, gym, and other workspaces is now set at “25% of approved capacity” (this reflects a change from “25% capacity” in the original Forward Dane). Until we receive additional guidance from PHMDC, employers should check with their landlord or posted capacity for guidance on their “approved capacity” limits.
  • Under Emergency Order #3, employers must develop the required policies, and document receipt, acknowledgment, or training on the policies (this reflects the correction by PHMDC issued 5/27/20). The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR and Law can prepare a compliant workplace hygiene, cleaning, and protective measure policy. If you would like to schedule a meeting with us to prepare a customized policy for your organization, please contact us.

Mass Gatherings

  • The following limited mass gathering are permitted so long as people maintain physical distancing of at least six feet
    • Inside a commercial facility with up to 50 people
    • Inside private property or a private home with up to 10 people
    • Outside with up to 50 people
  • Mass gatherings include concerts, festivals, sporting events, meetings, trainings, conferences, and religious services
  • These restrictions do not apply to drive-in movie theaters or other drive-in activities

Child Care, Education, Libraries, and Public Spaces

  • Childcare facilities must restrict groups and classrooms to no more than 15 children, and there can be no interaction between the groups or classrooms
  • K-12 schools remain closed for in-person instruction
  • Continuing education and higher education institutions may determine policies for safe operation, including how to safely open dorms and maintain physical distancing to the greatest extent possible
  • Public playgrounds and splash pads remain closed
  • Public courts and fields are open but people must maintain physical distancing

All Businesses, Libraries, Community Centers, and Religious Entities

  • Capacity must be limited to 25%
    • PHMDC previously indicated that each organization will use its best judgment to determine the appropriate metric for capacity. However, Emergency Order #3 limits capacity to “25% of approved capacity levels.” No guidance has been provided on this change. We will follow up with any guidance we receive.
  • Organizations must implement required policies, and document that your employees receive, acknowledge and are trained on these policies
    • The hygiene policy must
      • Ensure employees who have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to work
      • Establish hand-washing expectations and ensure supplies are available to employees
      • Describe proper cough and sneeze etiquette
    • The cleaning policy must include guidelines for
      • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces multiple times a day
      • Frequently wiping down any shared equipment, such as work spaces, credit card machines, lunchroom items, carts, baskets, etc.
      • Cleaning common areas and equipment between use or shift changes
      • Cleaning and disinfecting in the event of a positive COVID-19 case on site
    • The protective measure policy must ensure
      • Individuals are at least six feet from others whenever possible
      • Employees are provided with and wear face coverings when unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from customers; however, if a transparent partition is in place, a face covering is recommended, but not required
  • Organizations must limit staff and customers on site, and continue to facilitate remote work to the greatest extent possible
    • To the greatest extent feasible, organizations should offer virtual services, hold virtual meetings, and/or alternate work teams or stagger shifts
  • When remote work is not possible, all organizations must:
    • Where possible, offer curbside pick-up and drop-off, and delivery
    • Where possible, provide a way for customers to pay, and make appointments and reservations online or over the phone
    • Cease door-to-door solicitation
    • Ensure physical distancing in waiting areas with appropriate spacing of chairs

Additional Industry Specific Requirements

  • Stores that sell food, groceries, and alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages must
    • Encourage pick-up and delivery options
    • Prohibit self-dispensing of bulk items and condiments, and sampling of food
    • Except for produce, prohibit any customer self-service of unpackaged food (e.g. salad bar, beverage station)
    • Limit dine-in capacity to 25% of approved seating levels; space tables at least six feet apart; and limit each table to no more than 6 guests, all of whom must live together
  • Restaurants and bars must
    • Encourage pick-up and delivery options
    • Prohibit any customer self-service of unpackaged food (e.g. salad bar, beverage station)
    • Prohibit self-dispensing of condiments, and sampling of food
    • Limit indoor dine-in capacity to 25% of approved seating limits; space tables at least six feet apart; and limit each table to no more than six guests, all of whom must live together
    • Space outdoor tables at least six feet apart; and limit each table to no more than 6 guests, all of whom must live together
    • Space bar stools at least six feet part
    • Close all play areas and lounge areas
  • Retail stores must
    • Limit the number of customers inside the business to no more than 25% of approved capacity levels
    • Offer at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable individuals if your store is larger than 50,000 square feet
    • Establish lines outside to regulate entry, with markings so that customers can stand at least 6 feet apart; businesses should also consider alternatives such as allowing customers to wait in their cars for a text message or schedule specific times for entry
    • Prohibit sampling, including of food and any goods (e.g. make-up)
  • Malls may open but play areas and areas of congregation outside stores must be clearly marked as closed
  • Salons and spas (e.g. hair salons, day spas, barber shops, nail salons, waxing salons, tattoo parlors) must
    • Limit the number of customers to 25% of approved capacity (if capacity of four or less, 1 customer is permitted)
    • Space customer chairs, tables, and stations at least six feet apart
    • Provide services by appointment only
    • Require employees to wear face coverings at all times when customers are present
    • Require customers to wear face coverings to the greatest extent possible
  • Gyms and fitness centers must
    • Provide disinfecting materials for members to use on equipment
    • Limit the number of individuals on site (excluding employees) to 25% of approved capacity
    • Increase frequency of cleaning of equipment, common areas, locker rooms, and restrooms
    • Space equipment at least six feet apart to the extent possible
    • Use floor markings to indicate appropriate physical spacing, particularly in areas where people congregate or cluster
    • Offer group exercise classes only if physical distancing is maintained and there is no person-to-person contact
    • Prohibit all activities where physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Places of amusement and activity must
    • Require payments and reservations only online or over the phone to the extent possible
    • Schedule events or the start of an activity (e.g. a tee time) to ensure physical distancing between all individuals who are not living together
    • Space seating, stations, or other areas to ensure at least at least at least six feet of physical distancing between individuals (individuals who live together are not required to be six feet apart)
    • Limit the number of individuals on site (excluding employees) to 25% of approved capacity
      • Outdoor venues (e.g. concerts) are limited to a maximum of 50 people (excluding employees)
    • Disinfect high touch areas (e.g. door handles, buttons) between each use (if this is not possible, the business may not open)
    • Disinfect all equipment between each use
  • Lodging facilities (e.g., hotels, campgrounds, AirBNB and VRBO rentals) must
    • Prohibit guests from congregating in lobbies or common areas
    • Implement cleaning protocols for guest rooms and common areas based on PHMDC guidelines
    • Provide personal protective equipment and training to housekeeping staff for proper handling of linens and cleaning/disinfecting supplies
    • Comply with all other guidelines, such as those that apply to restaurants bars, if applicable
  • Drive-In movie theaters and other drive-in activities must
    • Prohibit outdoor seating
    • Prohibit customers from leaving their car except to purchase or pick up food or drinks, or to use the restroom
    • Encourage pick-up and delivery of food and drinks, and prohibit any self-service of unpackaged food and self-dispensing of condiments

Other industries

  • Health care, public health, human services, infrastructure, manufacturing, and government operations are subject to limited restrictions under Emergency Order #3, namely these organizations must implement the required cleaning and hygiene policies, and comply with other applicable PHMDC requirements.

Leased Property

  • Landlords and rental property managers may enter leased residential properties if they are wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distancing

The Lake Effect team will continue to monitor important updates such as these from Dane County and other counties across the state. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from us for important legal updates and HR best practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

OSHA reinstates normal reporting and investigation standards for COVID

On May 19, 2020, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reversed an earlier enforcement policy for recording cases of COVID. As Lake Effect reported in April, OSHA had announced that it would not enforce its record-keeping requirements on employers to make COVID “work-relatedness” determinations, except when (1) there was objective evidence that an employee’s exposure to COVID-19 was work-related and (2) that evidence was reasonably available to the employer. At that time, OSHA noted that it may be difficult for employers to determine if an employee with COVID-19 contracted COVID-19 at work. Yesterday, OSHA revised that policy.

OSHA will now increase in-person worksite inspections and enforce COVID record-keeping requirements for all employers. Acknowledging the difficulty in determining where an employee may have contracted COVID, OSHA reminded employers that a case of COVID in the workplace is a recordable illness. Employers must record cases of COVID if all of the following are true:

  • An employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19;
  • The employee’s case of COVID is considered to be work-related*; and
  • The illness involves one or more of the recording criteria, including medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.

*Note that an illness is considered to be work-related “if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment” unless an exception applies.

Keep in mind that employers with 10 or fewer employees or in certain low hazard industries are exempt from OSHA reporting requirements unless the injury or illness results in hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

The legal and HR team at Lake Effect is closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace and will continue to provide our clients with updates as they are available. Please visit our COVID-19 resource page for all of our pandemic-related legal updates and HR best practices. The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to help. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

DWD’s Work-Share Program: Another Option to Avoid Layoffs

As employers evaluate options to address the impact of COVID-19 on their organizations, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is encouraging participation in its Work-Share Program.

The Work-Share Program is designed to help employers avoid layoffs of at least two employees by reducing employees’ hours during slow business periods of up to six months. The state has adopted legislation relaxing some of the program’s requirements to make it more accessible for employers during the pandemic. Through December 31, 2020, the thresholds for work-share plans have been simplified and lowered, as follows:

  1. the plans are no longer restricted to a particular work unit;
  2. the plans normally apply to the greater of 20 positions or 10% of the employees in a work unit, but now the plans may cover at least two employees; and
  3. the participating employees’ reductions in hours previously could not exceed 50%, but now the participating employees’ hours may be reduced by 10-60%.

The intent of the program is to keep employees working and covered on employee benefit plans, while also allowing them to receive unemployment benefits. Participating employees are eligible for state and federal unemployment benefits, including employees earning more than $500/week from any employer/s who would otherwise be ineligible for unemployment. In addition, employers are required to maintain the participating employees’ health insurance coverage and coverage under any defined benefit or defined contribution retirement plan under the same terms and conditions that applied before participation in the work-share plan.

To participate, employers must submit an application to the DWD. The application must outline, among other things, information about the employees who will participate in the plan and the reduction in the employees’ hours. DWD has dedicated staff to handle questions about the Work-Share Program and is expediting the review of work-share applications.

The legal and HR team at Lake Effect is closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace and will continue to provide updates as they are available. Check out our COVID-19 resource page for all of our pandemic-related legal updates and HR best practices. The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to help. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Evers Administration Releases Specific Guidance to Prepare for Reopening

On May 8, 2020, the Evers administration released specific guidance on “turning the dial” toward reopening. The guidelines cover such issues as employee health and hygiene; social distancing and other protective measures in the workplace; cleaning and disinfection practices; physical distancing of employees and equipment; employee training, support and communication; and customer/public health and safety considerations. There is general guidance for all organizations to follow, as well as specific guidance for the following industries:

The legal and HR team at Lake Effect is closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace. Please keep watching for blogs and emails from your Lake Effect team for important legal updates and HR best practices. The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to help. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

EEOC Updates ADA Accommodations and EEO Reporting

On May 7, 2020, the EEOC updated an existing technical assistance publication, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO Laws.” New questions and answers on “Return to Work” address an employer’s obligations to accommodate employees with underlying medical conditions as they begin to return to the workplace during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The EEOC also provided updated guidance on EEO reporting.

The new guidance confirms that if an employee has a medical condition that may create a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (as identified by the CDC) and is in need of a reasonable accommodation, the employee must inform their employer either verbally or in writing about the medical condition and the potential need for an accommodation. The employer may then ask questions or seek medical documentation to determine whether the employee has a disability that can be reasonably accommodated without undue hardship. Notably, if an employee does not request an accommodation, the employer is not required to take action. If the employer knows and is concerned that an employee has a medical condition that increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (as identified by the CDC), the employer may not exclude that employee from the workplace or take any other adverse action solely on that basis unless (1) the employee’s disability poses a “direct threat” to their health that (2) cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.

The ADA “direct threat” requirement is a high, fact-specific standard. The direct threat assessment may not be based solely on a condition being on the CDC’s list; rather, an employer must make an individualized assessment based upon a reasonable medical judgment about the employee’s specific disability. In most cases, the employer will have to consider such factors as: the severity of the pandemic in the geographic area of the worksite; employee’s specific health condition; the employee’s job duties; likelihood of exposure to the virus at the worksite; and measures being taken by the employer to protect all workers.

Even if an employer determines that an employee’s disability poses a direct threat to the employee’s own health, the employer still cannot exclude or take adverse action against the employee unless there is no way to provide a reasonable accommodation absent undue hardship to the employer. Potential reasonable accommodations may include: providing enhanced protective gear or equipment; erecting protective barriers in the workplace; eliminating marginal functions; and temporarily modifying an employee’s work location or schedule.

This means that an employer may only bar such an employee from the workplace if, after going through all necessary steps and considering all potential accommodations, the facts demonstrate that the employee poses a significant risk of substantial harm to herself that cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.

In a separate action today, the EEOC announced that it will delay collection of 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 (Employer Information Report), 2020 EEO-3 (Local Report) and 2020 EEO-5 (Elementary-Secondary Staff Information Report) due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The EEOC expects to begin collecting 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 reports in March 2021, and it expects to begin collecting 2020 EEO-3 and EEO-5 reports in January 2021. The EEOC will notify filers of the precise dates the surveys will open as soon as those dates are available.

The legal and HR team at Lake Effect is closely monitoring the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the workplace and will continue to provide timely updates. Please visit our COVID-19 resource page for all of our pandemic-related legal updates and HR best practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Illinois Provides Model for Newly Required Anti-Harassment Training

On April 30, the Illinois Department of Human Rights released a model training presentation that employers can use to comply with Illinois’ new sexual harassment prevention training requirement. An employer may use this model training, or it may develop a training specifically tailored to its organization, provided that the training meets the state’s minimum legal requirements.

In 2019, Illinois adopted a new law requiring employers to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to all Illinois employees. This requirement also applies to employers based in other states that have one or more employees working remotely in Illinois or working at a customer’s worksite in Illinois. All Illinois employees must be trained by December 31, 2020. Restaurants and bars must also provide supplemental sexual harassment prevention training targeted specifically for those industries.

Two major points about the new training requirement from the state’s FAQs:

  • Although employers are not required to train independent contractors, Illinois strongly advises that independent contractors receive training if they work on-site at an employer’s workplace or interact with employees.
  • Employers should include in their anti-harassment training any employee who is based outside of Illinois but regularly works with employees in the state. For example, a manager based in Wisconsin who supervises employees working in Illinois should be included in the training.

While virtual training may be the only option in our current environment, employers should keep in mind that the EEOC has found that anti-harassment training is most effective when it is tailored to the specific workplace and workforce, as well as provided in-person, with interactive discussion, and by an experienced trainer.

The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to assist and advise if you have questions related to anti-harassment or other employee training. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Emergency Order #34: Interim Order to Turn the Dial

On April 27, 2020, the Evers Administration released Emergency Order #34 entitled “Interim Order to Turn the Dial.” In this order, the administration expands slightly the permissible business operations set forth in Emergency Order #28, “Safer at Home Order.” This Order takes effect on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 8:00 a.m.

While Section 14 of “Safer at Home” permitted curb-side pick-up as part of Minimum Basic Operations, this Order adds “curb-side drop-off of goods or animals for the purpose of having those goods or animals serviced, repaired, or cared for by the business.” Staff within the business or facility is still limited to 1 person in a room or confined space and payment must be made by phone or online (i.e., no transfer of cash or check and no signature for receipt). All arrangements must be scheduled in advance, and customers may not enter the business or facility to ensure proper social distancing.

This Order also expands Minimum Basic Operations to include rental of recreational equipment “including but not limited to boats, kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, golf carts, snowmobiles, and ATVs.” The staff count, payment methods, scheduling requirements, and prohibition against customers entering the business or facility mirror those set forth above for curb-side drop-off. All rental equipment must be thoroughly cleaned been uses.

Finally, the Order expands Minimum Basic Operations to include car washes, provided the car wash is entirely automatic or self-service. All high-touch surfaces must be cleaned between use if possible, or as frequently as practicable.

Consistent with its “Badger Bounce Back” plan, the Evers Administration is progressing towards its stated goal of gradually reopening businesses and operations across the state. As always, the attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are available to advise you as you develop plans to restore operations and welcome team members back to the workplace. We look forward to helping our partners bounce back. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

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