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EEOC Issues COVID-19 Guidance
By: Nancy Musick

On December 16, the EEOC released new COVID-19 vaccine guidance. As predicted, the new guidance generally allows employers to require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines. But, as the EEOC explained, employers that require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines must make exceptions for disabilities and sincerely held religious beliefs, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

 Here are some highlights from the new EEOC guidance:
  • Employers may ask an employee for proof that he or she received a COVID-19 vaccine. But more probing follow-up questions to an unvaccinated employee “may elicit information about a disability and would be subject to the pertinent ADA standard that they be ‘job-related and consistent with business necessity.’”
  • If an employer requires all employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and an employee is unable to receive one because of a disability, the employer must show that an unvaccinated employee would pose a direct threat of “significant harm to the health or safety of the individual or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.”
  • The following four factors are used to determine whether a direct threat exists: “the duration of the risk; the nature and severity of the potential harm; the likelihood that the potential harm will occur; and the imminence of the potential harm.” The EEOC notes that      Continue Reading...
Fraudsters Target Kansas Unemployment Benefits
By: Nancy Musick

Before 2020, the record for most fraudulent unemployment claims filed in a year in Kansas was seven. That record has been shattered. This year the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) has already uncovered more than 45,000 fraudulent unemployment claims. And we still have three months to go!

The scheme primarily targeted expanded unemployment programs created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act expanded unemployment benefits to people traditionally unable to qualify, such as the self-employed and independent contractors. The fraudulent scheme has caused significant payment delays to Kansas families.

Fraudsters used victims’ personal information to file for unemployment benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, most victims had their information exposed in a mass data breach. Other victims were victims of prior identity theft. Many victims did not learn of the fraud until the KDOL denied their claims as duplicative. The KDOL also discovered fraudulent claims after employers confronted employees for filing an unemployment claim while still being employed.

Kansas isn’t unique in this regard, as a nationwide investigation uncovered similar attacks in other states. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates fraudsters have filed $8 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims so far this year in the United States.

It is important that employers pay attention to each unemployment claim to curb additional fraud. Employers can report suspected unemployment fraud at www.reportfraud.ks.gov.


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Don Berner, the Labor Law, OSHA, & Immigration Law Guy
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Boyd Byers, the General Employment Law Guy
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Jason Lacey, the Employee Benefits Guy
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