By a 7-to-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important and expansive ruling for religious institutions today, holding that the “ministerial exception” primarily requires an inquiry into whether an employee carries out important religious functions for its religious employer. The ministerial exception allows a religious employer to use an employee’s status as a “minister” to invoke the First Amendment’s protections against government interference in the employer’s selection of its employees. As a result of today’s ruling in the consolidated cases of Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel, courts are barred from adjudicating employment discrimination claims brought by an employee who performed certain religious tasks for her religious employer.

Natalie Pierce and Chase Perkins discuss the role emerging technologies – like robotics, AI and thermal imaging – have played in the workplace following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Facial recognition technology has been under the microscope as organizations and lawmakers re-evaluate its use in the wake of global protests about racial injustice. Technology giants Amazon, IBM and Microsoft all recently announced that they would stop selling facial recognition technology to police departments in the United States, citing the technology’s potential for violating human rights and concerns about racial profiling.

What can your company expect in terms of your employees’ ability to travel internationally as parts of the world begin to come out of months of lockdown?
And what will the ongoing restrictions and changes in everyday life mean for your company’s ability to transfer or hire new foreign national talent in key areas? Only time will tell exactly what will happen, but we are beginning to see patterns and hints of what is to come.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has issued interim guidance for employers to rely on when responding to various scenarios involving COVID-19 in the workplace. Among others, scenarios addressed by DHEC involve those where an employee tests positive, lives or has close contact with someone who tests positive, or is a patron of a restaurant where a staff member tests positive.

In the wake of national and international protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd while in police custody, companies are revisiting their approach to diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies.
Innovative technology companies have little to show for efforts they’ve made in previous years to raise the number and profile of black employees at their firms.

Governor Henry McMaster recently signed the South Carolina Lactation Support Act into law, soon requiring all employers in South Carolina to make reasonable efforts to provide workers with reasonable break time and space to express breast milk at work. What do employers need to know about this new requirement?

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health just issued an order mandating the use of face coverings in the Commonwealth. The July 1 order — which was likley prompted by a sharp rise in new reported COVID-19 cases following Pennsylvania’s efforts to re-open the region — is a departure from previous orders regarding face coverings in that it requires the use of face coverings outdoors and in public places rather than just businesses. What do employers need to know about this development?

Nearly half of all COVID-19-related workplace lawsuits that have been initiated between employees and employers were filed in the past month, according to data collected by the Fisher Phillips COVID-19 Employment Litigation Tracker. Of the 283 COVID-19-related lawsuits filed in federal and state courts through June 30, 122 of them – or 43% – were filed in the month of June, demonstrating an exponential increase in the number of claims involving disputes between workers and employers. Digging deeper in this data, we have identified a number of key takeaways for employers, including potential vulnerabilities that smart employers should proactively address before they turn into costly lawsuits.

U.K. employers participating in the country’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be able to start bringing furloughed employees back on a part-time basis this summer.