Tag Archives: Missouri

St. Louis City and St. Louis County Impose Heightened COVID-19 Restrictions on Employers, Businesses, and Social Gatherings

Contributed by Brian Wacker, November 18, 2020

The State of Missouri has continued to resist imposing significant state-wide orders to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, with positivity rates on the rise and pressure increasing on health providers throughout the state, some localities have recently enacted enhanced restrictions on businesses and social gatherings to combat the spread. 

One such locality is St. Louis County, which enacted the following health orders, which went into effect on Tuesday, November 17, 2020:

State of Missouri
  • November 12, 2020 – “Safer At Home” Order
    • Residents are required to stay at home, unless to travel to and from work and other limited specific purposes such as shopping for groceries, education purposes or obtaining medical care
    • Social gatherings are limited to no more than 10 persons
    • Aside for defined business exceptions such as hospitals, public transit and schools, all businesses providing goods and services are limited to 25% or less of its permitted occupancy; all employees are required to wear face coverings and comply with social distancing requirements
    • Restaurants are limited to providing outdoor service, carryout and delivery
  • November 12, 2020 – Third Amended Quarantine and Isolation Procedures Order
    • All residents are required to regularly self-observe for COVID-19 symptoms and if, at any time, a person develops such symptoms, they are required to self-isolate, limit contact with others and seek medical advice and/or be tested for COVID-19
    • Residents who have been in close contact with COVID-19 positive individuals or who them themselves been exposed to COVID-19 is instructed to quarantine for a period of 15 days after the last exposure
      • Individuals in quarantine are permitted to walk outside, but are instructed to wear face coverings and not go within 6 feet of others
    • Residents who test positive and/or who have COVID-19 symptoms and who are awaiting results are instructed to isolate until cleared by the Department of Public Health for a period of 10 to 14 days, depending on individual factors
      • Individuals in quarantine are permitted to walk outside, but are instructed to wear face coverings and not go within 6 feet of others
  • November 12, 2020 – Second Amended Order Requiring Members of Public and Employees to Wear Face Coverings – “Strengthened Face Covering/Mask Order”
    • Face masks are required to be worn at all times by:
      • Anyone over the age of 5 years old when present at any business or public accommodation (indoor or outdoor)
      • Anyone over the age of 5 years old in public spaces when anyone outside that person’s household is present
      • All students from kindergarten through high school, except for defined exceptions such as when eating meals or playing sports in compliance with the department’s youth sport guidelines
      • Anyone working out at a gym or fitness facility
    • Face masks are not required to be worn by:
      • Children under the age of 2
      • Children between the ages of 3 and 5 when supervised by an adult
      • Anyone with health conditions which prohibit wearing a mask, or who have trouble breathing while wearing a mask
      • Anyone at a restaurant or public accommodation when eating or drinking, while still maintaining social distance requirements of separate orders
      • Anyone playing a sport or exercising alone

While not as extensive, St. Louis City also issued an additional order this week, which went into effect on November 14, 2020. Specifically, it reaffirmed all prior orders already in effect in the city and further placed the following restrictions on private gatherings:

  • Private gatherings of more than 10 attendees are prohibited
  • The city recommends any gatherings with less than 10 attendees be limited to no more than 1-2 households, and that those households remain consistent throughout the gathering
  • The order further clarifies that it also applies to businesses, schools and government offices, all of which are still required to require face masks and to require social distancing and hygiene measures of employees and other individuals

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, these measures are always subject to modification based on conditions and potential legal challenges. That is especially true in Missouri where localities are enacting their own sometimes-inconsistent orders in the absence of state-wide measures. Accordingly, Missouri employers should consult with experienced labor and employment counsel to ensure that they are in compliance with all current state, city/local and county-wide orders.

This blog will continue to monitor those developments and update as needed. For continued information regarding COVID-19 restrictions, visit SmithAmundsen’ s COVID-19 Resource Center or contact a member of our task force here: https://www.salawus.com/practices-covid19-task-force.html

Missouri Announces Plan to Gradually Reopen Economic and Social Activity

Contributed by Brian Wacker, April 28, 2020

On Monday, April 27, 2020, Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced “Phase One” of the “Show Me Strong Recovery Plan” to gradually reopen the economic and social activity in the state, beginning on May 4, 2020.  As part of Phase One, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued an Order relaxing restrictions on businesses and social activities. 

The relaxed restrictions are:

  • Retail sales businesses can re-open, so long as the number of individuals in the retail location is limited as follows:
    • if the location is less than 10,000 square feet, then 25% or less of the business’ fire or building code occupancy;
    • if the location has more than 10,000 square feet, then 10% or less of the business’ fire or building code occupancy
  • All schools remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year; however, staff and students may reenter school buildings to work, retrieve personal belongings, and return school property.
    • Summer school is permitted to proceed under guidelines set forth by the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.
    • Daycares, child care and schools are permitted to provide child care in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Restaurants can reopen for dining-in services if social distancing measures are taken, including spacing of six feet between tables, lack of communal seating areas and a prohibition on seating more than ten people at a single table. 
  • It remains prohibited for individuals to visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes or other assisted living homes unless they are there “to provide critical assistance or in end-of-life circumstances.”
  • With respect to all of these activities, individuals leaving their homes to engage in permitted activities, including when frequenting businesses and going to and from places of worship, must still “at all times practice social distancing” as prescribed by the CDC.

Businesses reopening pursuant to these guidelines are encouraged to take additional steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

  • Implement basic infection prevention measures informed by industry best practices
  • Modify physical workspaces to maximize social distancing
  • Minimize business travel
  • Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan
  • Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider
  • Encourage telework whenever possible and feasible with business operations
  • Return to work in phases and/or split shifts
  • Limit access to common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact
  • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance

However, businesses looking to open back up on May 4 should proceed with caution.  While this Order is statewide, it does not limit counties and municipalities from continuing to enact and enforce their own protective measures, including Stay-At-Home Orders already in place, with additional restrictions. This is especially true in St. Louis County and St. Louis City, which have recently extended their respective orders indefinitely.

This blog continues to monitor developments in Missouri, St. Louis County and St. Louis City. Check back for updates as additional guidance from the state and local authorities becomes available.

Missouri Issues State-wide “Stay At Home” Order

Contributed by Brian Wacker, April 4, 2020          

black and white gavel

This blog has previously reported on Governor Parson’s resistance to issue a state-wide “Stay At Home” Order in Missouri in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  He had previously issued a “Social Distancing” Order, effective through April 6, 2020, with individual counties and municipalities left to issue their own Stay At Home Orders to fill the void.

Now that has changed. 

On Friday evening, the Governor announced that the State’s Department of Health & Human Services had issued a state-wide Order mandating that all Missourians “shall avoid leaving their homes or places of residence unless necessary.”  The details of the 3-page Order, which is effective beginning on April 6, 2020 and remains in effect through Friday, April 24, 2020, are as follows:

Individuals Are Ordered To Stay At Home

Missouri residents are to avoid leaving home, except to work, access food, prescriptions, health care or other necessities or to engage in outdoor activity.  And if they must leave for such purposes, they are required practice “social distancing.”  The Order does also carve out individuals leaving home to go to and from their place of worship, but again provided that “social distancing” guidelines are adhered to. 

Individuals are specifically prohibited from visiting nursing homes, long-term facilities and retirement homes unless to provide critical assistance. Finally, individuals are to avoid social gatherings of more than ten people. Restrictions on eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts remain, but those businesses can remain open for drive-thru, pickup or delivery. 

If individuals do leave home subject to the above restrictions, the dictates of the prior “Social Distancing” Order remain in effect. 

Businesses Can Continue To Operate, Subject To Restrictions

Notably, the Order does not require any businesses to shutter. Instead, it places restrictions on businesses based on whether they employ individuals to perform “essential worker functions,” as defined by U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s guidance. 

This DHS Guidance includes functions of workers employed in the following fields:

  • healthcare/public health;
  • law enforcement, public safety and first responders;
  • food and agriculture;
  • energy;
  • water/wastewater;
  • transportation/logistics;
  • public works/infrastructure support;
  • communications & IT;
  • community and government-based operations;
  • hazardous materials;
  • financial services;
  • chemicals;
  • defense industrial base;
  • commercial facilities;
  • residence care and shelter services; and
  • hygiene products and services.

Given the wide range of fields above and the various workers defined under each by the DHS, Missouri businesses should study the DHS’ guidance in detail and seek legal guidance if there is any question as to whether employees qualify.

Businesses with employees performing “essential worker functions”

For businesses with employees meeting this DHS definition and which engage in retail sales to the public, they are required to limit the number of people in the retail locations as follows:

  • for retail locations with less than 10,000 square feet, 25% or less of the local fire or building code occupancy; or
  • for retail locations with more than 10,000 square feet, ten percent or less of the local fire or building code occupancy.

The Order exempts workers performing “essential worker functions” and whose job duties require contact with other people closer than 6 feet from “social distancing” requirements.  However, for any retail establishment remaining open, the Order requires “social distancing” to be practiced “including, but not limited to, when customers are standing in line.”

Businesses without employees performing “essential worker functions”

If a business does not have employees performing “essential worker functions,” then it is subject to the following restrictions:

  • gatherings of ten people in a single space at the same time are prohibited; and
  • individual workers are to maintain six feet between them, except when those workers are family members.

Businesses without employees performing “essential worker functions” can request a waiver from the gathering restrictions from the State’s Department of Economic Development.

Missouri Schools Remain Closed

The Order specifically declares that Missouri schools shall remain closed. 

However, subject to the individual and business restrictions above, daycares, childcare providers and schools can still provide child care for working families if they follow guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control.

Local Orders Remain Effective

Finally, the Order is clear that while it is effective state-wide, local counties and municipalities may enact separate orders or regulations to help combat the COVID-19 Order, so long as they are not inconsistent with the Order.

Complimentary Webinar: Missouri Becomes the 28th Right-to-Work State: What You Need to Know!

Join Michael MacHarg and Patrick Sanders on Wednesday, April 19 at 12:00 PM CT for an hour long webinar as they discuss the nuts and bolts of the right-to-work (RTW) law. Last month, the Missouri governor signed into law a right-to-work bill, effective August 28, 2017, making Missouri the 28th RTW state. Right-to-work laws guarantee that no person can be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join or not to join, nor to pay dues to a labor union.

What does this mean for employers? Specifically, Jeff and Patrick will cover:

  • The law’s application and timelines
  • Types of actions the law prohibits
  • Penalties for violations
  • Potential effect on current and future collective bargaining and what new labor agreements will look like

Don’t miss this timely discussion and opportunity to submit questions on how the new provisions could impact your business!

Click here to register!

Missouri Has Become the 28th Right-to-Work State

Contributed by Beverly Alfon, February 10, 2017

On February 6, 2017, the newly elected GOP Governor Eric Greitens, signed into law a right-to-work (RTW) bill that passed the state’s Republican-controlled state legislature.

Nuts and Bolts of the Missouri RTW law

  • Effective date:  August 28, 2017
  • Who it applies to:  Both private and public sector employers (except those in the airline and railroad industries, as well as certain federal employers).
  • What it prohibits:
    • No employee can be required to become or remain a union member as a condition of employment.
    • No employee can be required to pay dues, fees or assessments of any kind to a union (or any equivalent of a dues payment to any charitable organization).
  • Penalties for violations:  Criminal sanctions – a violation is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $750 and up to 15 days in jail. Civil sanctions – private parties may obtain injunctive relief, damages and an award of attorneys’ fees.
  • Effect on collective bargaining agreements:  For collective bargaining agreements (CBA’s) entered into before August 28, 2017, the law has no effect. However, the law will apply to any CBA renewal, extension, amendment or modification after August 28, 2017. This will likely jolt Missouri unions to seek contract extensions of existing CBA’s in order to delay the impact of the law.

Unions Continue to Battle

10033780_s

Flag of Missouri

The Missouri AFL-CIO has submitted different versions of a proposed initiative petition to the secretary of state’s office that is aimed at reversing the RTW law. Basically, with enough signatures, it would present the opportunity for Missouri voters to decide in 2018 whether to adopt a constitutional amendment that would protect contracts that require employees to pay union representation fees.

Perspective

Seven of eight states that surround Missouri have existing right-to-work laws, including Kentucky, which passed a right-to-work law last month. The current tally of RTW states includes: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina,  North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. Just last week, the New Hampshire senate passed a RTW bill, which is awaiting passage by the state House.

On a federal level, two Republican Congressmen re-introduced the National Right to Work Act last week. The bill would amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act to prohibit the use of union security clauses which require union membership and payment of dues and fees.

If there was any doubt, this flurry of activity confirms that the right-to-work movement is recharged.

With A New Year Comes New Rules! Here’s Your State Employment Law Update

Contributed by Heather Bailey

California: Effective January 1, 2015, the required paid for rest periods are considered “hours worked” by the employee, and, consequently, are not subject to wage deductions by the employer.  (California also has special requirements for making any deductions from their paychecks that you should be aware of before making any).

Colorado: Minimum wage rose to $8.23 per hour on January 1 

Connecticut: As of the first of the year, CT’s minimum wage went to $9.15 per hour.  Are you aware there is a paid sick leave law in CT?  If not, be sure to contact your employment counsel or the blog author as some changes were made beginning January 1st.

DCAs of December 17, 2014, employers cannot ask applicants certain information about their criminal backgrounds and any rescinding of a conditional offer of employment must be backed up with a legitimate business reason.  Moreover, employers are required to reasonably accommodate pregnant women when their workload is affected by pregnancy, child birth and child-related medical conditions (i.e., breast feeding).

Massachusetts:  Effective January 1, minimum wage increased to $9 per hour.  July 1, 2015, employers with 11 or more employees will be required to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees.

MarylandMaryland’s minimum wage rose to $8.00 as of January 1st.

Missouri: Effective January 1, all equal-priority garnishments should now be prioritized by date of receipt.

New Jersey: NJ joined the other states starting March 1, 2015 to “Ban the Box” and prohibits job advertisements from stating only those without a criminal past can apply.

New York Effective December 31st this past year, minimum wage increased for NY to $8.75 per hour.  Effective immediately, employers will not be required to notify their employees in writing by February 1 about pay rates, pay days, etc. and get signed acceptance.  Employers do still need to abide by their obligation to notify employees of the same at time of hire.

Ohio:  Ohio has now given employers the ability to seek out protective orders when dealing with employees’ stalker or menacing issues when the conduct is directed at the employer.

Rhode Island: Your minimum wage increased to $9 an hour beginning this month.

Vermont: Your minimum wage increased to $9.15 an hour beginning this month.

Please keep in mind that the majority of states increased their minimum wages and you should contact your employment labor counsel or the blog author to confirm you are in compliance.

Paid Sick Leave? Ban The Box? Pregnancy? Equal Pay? Smoker Retaliation Poster? Here’s Your State Employment Law Update

Contributed by Heather Bailey

Reminder: EEO-1 Surveys Due To Be Filed By September 30th! 

US Map

Arizona:  In July, the Attorney General confirmed that the AZ smoking restrictions do not apply to e-cigs.

California: Employers, get ready to start having to offer paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2015 if you aren’t already!  See our September 16, 2014 post for more details.  Also, beginning January 1, 2015, unpaid interns and volunteers are getting the same nondiscrimination and harassment treatment as paid workers, including non-harassment training.

Connecticut:  Starting October 1, 2014, workers may obtain certificates of rehabilitation related to their arrests and convictions of which employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees and applicants when they present one for initial or continuing employment.

Delaware:  Your minimum wage increased to $7.75 per hour on June 1, 2014!

Illinois:  In case you missed our other blog posts, effective January 1 2015, Illinois joined the ranks of the “Ban the Box” campaign, which prohibits employers (with 15 or more employees) from asking applicants about criminal records on a job application.  You cannot do so until they have either been selected for an interview or been given a conditional offer of employment (with a few select exceptions).  Also effective January 1, the Illinois Human Rights Act related to pregnancy was expanded (more than any other state) so employers must now reasonably accommodate any condition related to pregnancy.

Indiana:  On September 2, 2014, the right to work law was upheld once again – this time by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

MassachusettsPlease note your minimum wage hikes: January 1, 2015, $9 per hour ($3 an hour for tipped employees); $10 an hour ($3.35 for tipped employees) on January 1, 2016, and to $11 ($3.75 for tipped) beginning January 1, 2017.

Michigan: Your minimum wage increased to $8.15 per hour on September 1, 2014.

Missouri: The Missouri Supreme Court recently held that the state’s statutory cap on punitive damages is unconstitutional as is applied to certain common law claims. (Lewellen v. Franklin, case SC92871). The holding is limited to common law causes of action that existed when the Missouri Constitution was adopted in 1820.  In the short-term, this decision may raise the cost of litigation as plaintiff’s attorneys will undoubtedly try to add common law claims to employment lawsuits hoping that the threat of unlimited punitive damages will result in more generous settlements.  However, given that traditional common law claims have been increasingly difficult to sustain in the employment context and have been largely supplanted by statutory and more recently-recognized common law actions, Lewellen is ultimately unlikely to raise the stakes for Missouri employers.  Read more about this here.

New Hampshire:  Beginning January 1, 2015, employers have a new mandatory poster requirement for equal pay and smoker rights non-retaliation, as well as, employers may not prohibit employees from discussing pay wages or retaliate against them for doing the same.

Oklahoma:  OK jumped on the band wagon by prohibiting employers from requiring employees to give up their personal social media log-ons and passwords, effective November 1, 2014.

Vermont: Vermont’s smoking ban includes at least 25 feet from buildings and entrances.  Your minimum wage obligations also increase: January 1, 2015 = $9.15 per hour; January 1, 2016 = $9.60; January 1, 2017 = $10 and January 1, 2018 = $10.50.  All tipped employees must be paid at least one-half of the minimum wage effective January 1, 2015.

Pregnancy? Parental Leave? Social Media? Data Breaches? Your State Employment Law Update

Contributed by Heather Bailey

Florida: After much debate in the lower courts, it is settled – employers may not discriminate against pregnant workers in FLA (you couldn’t before under Federal law, but FLA confirms the same).

Iowa:  If you have to notify at least 500 state residents including your employees and applicants of any potential personal information security breach, you must also notify the Iowa Attorney General’s Office of the same.

Maryland: Do you have between 15 – 49 employees?  If so, beginning October 1, 2014, you must provide similar FMLA leave of up to 6 unpaid weeks for parental leave for the birth of a child or adoption and foster care situations.

Minnesota: Beginning August 1, 2014, you must add in your Employee Handbooks a notice that employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees for requesting or receiving reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy or child birth (which took effect on May 12, 2014 requiring employers to give such reasonable accommodations).   Also effective on this same date, employers cannot prohibit or have a policy or practice prohibiting employees from discussing their wages.

MissouriThe pending Right to Work bill died in the house before getting to the senate.  Additionally, in a 5-2 decision, the Missouri Supreme Court said that you only need to use the “contributing factor” standard in a workers’ compensation retaliation claim.  This reversed 30+ years of MO courts requiring “exclusive causation.”

Tennessee:  Beginning July 1 this year, Tennessee went pro-management this time.  Managerial and supervisory employees will now be shielded from individual liability under the Tennessee Human Rights Act for discrimination claims.  Moreover, employees will now have to show their protected activity was the sole reason for their discharge as opposed to it being just one of the reasons in order to sustain a retaliatory discharge claim.  Tennessee now allows employers to prohibit those employees with handgun permits from storing or transporting firearms or ammunition in company vehicles.

West Virginia: Your minimum wage increases on January 1, 2015 to $8.00 an hour and to $8.75 per hour as of January 1, 2016.

Wisconsin:  Getting on the band wagon, WI employers are now prohibited from requiring applicants or employees to give their personal login information for their personal social media sites or require the company’s monitoring of the sites as a condition of them to remain employed.  Moreover, good news for employers is that you no longer need to keep track of a salaried employee’s hours worked for those who are exempt from overtime.

State Employment Law Update

Contributed by Heather Bailey

Federal:   Federal Contractors be on alert! In an attempt to get Congressional support to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers, President Obama announced that he was going to be issuing an Executive Order that will require federal contract employers to pay workers a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour on any new federal contracts.  This could happen as soon as the next week or so.

The NLRB poster rule has gone by the wayside.  The NLRB gave up its fight to require all private employers to post the union-friendly poster by allowing the Supreme Court’s review deadline to pass without appealing two appellate court decisions that declined the NLRB’s implementation for this posting requirement.  Federal Contractors, you may still be required to display the poster depending on the date of your federal contract.

Colorado:   If you aren’t already, you should be paying minimum wage of $8.00 an hour ($4.98 for tipped employees) as of January 1.  Moreover, under Colorado’s new personal information protection law, employers are prohibited from requiring employees or applicants to allow them access to personal social media accounts, though they may still search information that is publicly available online.  Fines come with violating this law, so be precise on how you go about searching.

Delaware:  As of June 1, 2014, minimum wage increases to $7.75 per hour and to $8.25 an hour on June 1, 2015.

Missouri: Missouri looking for support for LGBT discrimination protection: In his recent State of the State address, Gov. Jay Nixon asked the legislature to pass a law adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected categories covered by the state’s workplace discrimination laws.  A bill passed the Senate last term, but the House failed to vote on the bill before the session ran out.

New Jersey:  REMINDER! All employers with 50 or more employees should be posting and distributing (with a signed acknowledgment) the new NJ poster re state and federal equal pay laws and discrimination prohibitions.  Get your latest copy here: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/EmployerPosterPacket/AD-290GenderEquity1-14.pdf.

Got 10 or more employees in Newark, NJ?  If so, you may be required to start offering your employees paid sick time under the new Worker Sick Leave Ordinance (WSLO) that just needs the Mayor’s signature to take effect sometime in late May, early June.  Stay tuned for final implementation!

New Mexico:  In December 2013, this state joined the ranks of same-sex marriages, and, thus, these new marital statuses must be recognized and protected for employment purposes (including applicants).

New York: For those employers with 20 or more employees in New York City, have you drafted your required sick time policy under the New York City Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA) yet?  If not, you’ve got until April 1 to implement.  Seek counsel’s assistance to ensure compliance.

Ring In The New Year With These Federal and State Employment Law Updates!

Contributed by Heather Bailey

Federal:  Attention Federal Contractor/Subcontractor Employers! In order to be in compliance with affirmative action obligations, applicable employers must start tracking those applicants and employees who are disabled and/or are qualified protected veterans, who choose to self-identify.  This also means having a written affirmative action plan with utilization goals for these classes of individuals.  For those employers who are affected, this will begin applying to all plans drafted as of March 24, 2014 and after.  It is a good idea to start meeting with your IT and HR professionals now on how such data is going to be collected and analyzed for the upcoming new plans.

CaliforniaEffective January 1, 2014, California cracks down on those employers who choose to discriminate against or threaten those employees or applicants due to an employee’s or family member’s citizenship or immigration status or involvement in protecting such rights.

Illinois:  As of January 1, 2014, employers now have the ability to seek protection orders against employees who create or threat workplace violence.  Prior to now, this protection was not available for workplace violence created by employees.  Starting June 1, 2014, employers must recognize the marital status of those employees who have entered into same-sex marriages.

Missouri:  Minimum wage = $7.50 starting January 1 and $3.75 for tipped employees (due to inflation regulations).

New Jersey:  Starting January 6, 2014, all employers with 50 or more employees must post and distribute (with a signed acknowledgment) the new NJ poster re: state and federal equal pay laws and discrimination prohibitions.  Get your latest copy here.