High-Demand Workers See Benefits Boost Amid Pandemic

President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill Friday, but some employers stepped up and started enacting or strengthening policies meant to help protect and provide for their workers before the federal government got in gear.

Temporary pay increases and expanded paid leave policies are among some of the benefits employers started offering as the nation grapples with the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that emerged at the end of 2019. […]

W. Michael Gradisek, who chairs the employee benefits and executive compensation practice at Duane Morris LLP, said that he has been fielding a lot of questions about continuing benefits to furloughed employees.

Companies are trying to do the right thing for their workers, Gradisek said, but while that might seem simple, it can actually be quite complicated.

Some employers have been trying to convey that while they can’t pay employee salaries while shut down, they still value the workers and want them to return when things are up and running again, he said.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty, but I don’t think people are totally throwing in the towel yet,” Gradisek said.

To read the full article, visit the Law360 website (subscription required).

U.S. Department of Justice Files Civil Complaint for COVID-19-Related Fraud

By Brett M. Feldman and Jessica Linse

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, law enforcement officials throughout the country have publicly committed to aggressively combatting pandemic-related fraud. Those pronouncements have translated into action focused, at least at this early stage, upon frauds which might impact consumers’ health and safety. The first federal civil enforcement action took place on Saturday, March 21, 2020. On that date, the U.S. Department of Justice, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, filed the first civil enforcement action against a COVID-19 related fraud. Prosecutors sought an injunction shutting down a website, which purportedly offered to provide “free” coronavirus “vaccine kits” for a $4.95 shipping and handling fee. This request for injunctive relief, which resulted in a temporary restraining order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1345, is likely an omen of more to come. Continue reading “U.S. Department of Justice Files Civil Complaint for COVID-19-Related Fraud”

Three Things Employers Should Do Now in Face of the Pandemic

Gregory Bombard, a Boston-based partner at law firm Duane Morris LLP, recommends employers don’t wait until an employee has coronavirus to figure out what to do about it.

“Waiting until one of your employees is diagnosed with coronavirus or gets quarantined is not the best possible strategy that you could put in place,” Bombard said. “You want to be getting a plan in place today, so that when that happens, you know what to do.”


Bombard is a member of a group of 15 lawyers the firm has made available to answer questions related to the coronavirus from their clients, from an employment and health law standpoint. Here are the top three things he recommends employers and their HR departments do now.

Have an action plan in place. Health and safety should be the primary motivating factors of any decision, which should be promptly communicated to employees. The plan should answer questions like, “How to determine whether an employee is at risk” and “Under which circumstances might employees be asked not to come to the office.”


Have a senior level manager in charge of travel decisions. “One thing we’re recommending is that every business, to the extent feasible, appoints a senior level management employee to be what you could call a ‘travel czar’ — somebody who’s going to make the decisions about whether business travel is necessary and safe,” Bombard said.


Make sure your employees have the tools to work remotely. When possible, employers should encourage work from home, or flexible work arrangements. “I mean, it’s just a good business idea. You keep your employees happy, you keep the potential risk of spreading the infection down,” Bombard said. With one warning: “You want to be ensuring that decisions about who can work from home and when are being made in an objective way — another reason to have a plan in place ahead of time,” he added.

To read the full article, please visit the Boston Business Journal website (subscription required).

© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

Proudly powered by WordPress