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Employers in New Jersey can now mandate that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to the workplace, with some exceptions. The state provided this new information in a “recent guidance that lays out a legal road map for businesses that want to adopt a mandatory vaccination policy,” according to a Law360 article. Exemptions from vaccination are required only for employees who are unable to receive the vaccine due to religious reasons, a disability, or health concerns, such as pregnancy or breastfeeding. In these instances, employers are required to provide such employees with a reasonable accommodation unless it presents an…
March 24, 2021 was Equal Pay Day in the U.S. The White House issued “A Proclamation on National Equal Pay Day, 2021” in which the Biden-Harris Administration drew attention to the fact that in 2019, women working full-time were on average paid just $0.82 for every dollar paid to male employees. The pay disparities are even greater for women of color, with Black, Native American and Hispanic women, earning 63% , 60% and 55%, respectively, of the wages made by white men. Pay disparities are entrenched and have far-reaching consequences. As detailed by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in…
Ever since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were moved to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, athletes and fans alike have eagerly awaited the start of the competition. However, LGBT workers in Japan are calling for a new law to be enacted before the Olympic Games commence this summer. Activists say that this LGBT equality law needs to be passed so that Japan, as the Olympic host country, will comply with the Olympic Charter, which bans sexual orientation discrimination and sex discrimination. Last month, activists submitted a petition for the equality law with 106,000 signatures to the Liberal Democratic Party
On March 31, the National Futures Association (NFA) issued Notice I-21-14 advising member firms that are registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as swap dealers (SDs), that NFA rules adopting minimum capital and financial reporting requirements will become effective October 6.   NFA’s Financial Requirements Section 18 requires SDs that are not subject to the rules of a prudential regulator (Covered SDs) to: (1) meet the applicable capital requirements in CFTC Regulation 23.101(a); (2) use internal models to calculate market and credit risk exposure; (3) submit an application to NFA and obtain NFA’s written approval prior to using the…
One of the novel claims in 401(k) and 403(b) plan litigation has been that vendors violate ERISA when they use participant data to cross sell other products and services to plan participants.  These can include products such as annuities, life insurance, brokerage accounts and wealth management services. A closely watched case was filed in Texas against Shell Oil Company and a number of Fidelity entities-all referred to as Fidelity here- alleging that Fidelity, the plan’s recordkeeper, engaged in a prohibited transaction by profiting from the use of participant data through its cross selling practices.  A ruling for plaintiffs would have…
For the past several months, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been investigating reports of systemic racial bias in hiring and promotions at Facebook. When the EEOC labels a probe as “systemic,” it means that the agency believes that the company’s actions and/or policies may be contributing to widespread discrimination, rather than a few isolated incidents. As a recent Reuters article explains, “agency officials designate a few cases ‘systemic,’ enabling investigators to rope in specialists to analyze company data and potentially bring a broader lawsuit representing entire classes of workers.” These additional resources are usually allocated to systemic…
On March 5, the National Futures Association (NFA) submitted to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) proposed new Compliance Rule 2-50 and a related Interpretive Notice. Proposed Compliance Rule 2-50 would require each Commodity Pool Operator Member (CPO Member) to provide notice to the NFA by 5:00 p.m. (CT) on the following business day whenever a commodity pool operated by the CPO Member (1) is unable to meet a margin call; (2) is unable to satisfy redemption requests in accordance with its subscription agreements; (3) has halted redemptions, and the halt is not associated with pre-existing gates or lockups, or…
The Senate recently passed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package brought forth by Democrats. The bill passed 50-49 after an overnight voting session and will now head to the House for final passage. Democrats say this bill is part of their “America Rescue Plan” and will help get Americans and the economy back on track. Many Republicans have criticized the bill, saying it is much more expensive than necessary. They have also pointed to previous legislation passed since the pandemic began that totals about $4 trillion in spending. The new bill provides relief in many areas, including aid to schools…
Surveys show that the overwhelming majority of 401(k) plans offer target date funds as part of their investment lineup. Usually, target date funds are the plan’s designated qualified default investment alternative, or QDIA, which means that large numbers of participants who don’t make their own investment decisions are invested in these funds.  Yet despite their popularity, target date funds in different fund families vary greatly in management styles, fees and the proportion of equity, fixed income, and other asset classes at different ages. Custom funds are different from off the shelf funds. In addition, target date funds often have unappreciated…
On January 22, 2021, the New York Mets quietly dismissed their hitting performance coordinator, Ryan Ellis, due to sexual harassment allegations. Ellis’s dismissal followed the firing of Jared Porter, the general manager of the Mets, on January 19th because Porter admitted to sending inappropriate text messages to a reporter while working for the Cubs, as well as overall inappropriate behavior. The Mets sexual harassment saga continued when Mickey Calloway, the former manager of the Mets, was dismissed due to allegations from 5 different women. Ellis was promoted from his minor league position last season after the former major league…