Dress suits now occupy a dark corner of the closet, while sweatpants and jeans are the daily clothing choices for those of us working from home. This seismic wardrobe shift is having a profound effect across the global supply chain, impacting everyone from sheep farmers to business attire chains. 

London-based Litigation & Dispute Resolution partner James Whitaker confesses to not having purchased any office wear in 2020 in an October 15 Reuters article. “I can tell you for a fact, walking around the City, there are very few suits on display,” he said.

While casual wear has been growing in popularity for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has turbocharged that change, as described in Reuters.

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

A Kansas liberal arts college dropped a proposed class action against a national insurer, which alleged that the carrier did not cover financial losses related to COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, Benedictine College had shut down campus activities and dorms and refunded students over $1 million in room-and-board fees. 

As detailed in an October 15 Law360 article, Zurich American Insurance Co. successfully urged the Kansas federal court to drop the suit, stating “the school was trying to stretch its property policy…and the court should follow ‘the overwhelming majority’ of rulings across the country that have dismissed such claims.”

Zurich is represented by a Mayer Brown team including Washington-based partners Evan Tager and Archis Parasharami, Chicago-based partner Debra Bogo-Ernst, and Los Angeles-based partner Bronwyn Pollock and counsel Doug Smith.

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions 

related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

One of the top 10 issues affecting US immigration in the next 100 days will depend on the outcome of lawsuits challenging an overhaul of the eligibility, wage levels, and employment rules for the H-1B visa category, which governs the hiring of highly-skilled workers by US employers across industries. Today a leading group of business associations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Bay Area Council, and National Retail Federation, as well as number of educational institutions and associations, filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California against the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Labor (DOL) challenging the Strengthening the H-1B Program rule and the Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States rule. The suit was filed in the Northern District of California. US Chamber CEO Tom Donohue issued the following statement with regard to the lawsuit:

Continue Reading Game-Changing H-1B Rules Challenged by Business and Academia

Mayer Brown Employment & Benefits partners Duncan Abate and Hong Tran (both Hong Kong) predict few employers will move forward with mass employee COVID-19 testing. According to Duncan and Hong, once employers carry out individual risk assessments, many will likely avoid making testing a requirement, outside of those in the most at-risk industries.

In an October 13 HR Magazine article, Duncan and Hong lay out several important questions for employers to consider when deciding whether or not to implement COVID-19 testing for employees:

  • Do testing benefits outweigh the negatives?
  • If you decide to test, does the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) permit you to do so?
  • What are implications of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO)?
  • What about the Contract of Employment?
  • Who pays for testing?

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

After a period of relative leniency in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, bank regulators in the coming months are expected to begin taking a tougher stance and imposing stiffer penalties for COVID-19-related money laundering activities.

In an October 7 article in S&P Global Market Intelligence, Paris-based counsel Joydeep Sengupta, a member of Mayer Brown’s Compliance, Regulatory & Investigations team, explains how in 2021, regulators are on track to focus on large-scale fraud cases related to contracts for medical supplies, masks and other pandemic-driven orders. He drew upon one particular case that turned regulators’ heads, in which fraudsters duplicated a Dutch face mask supplier’s website to process an €880,000 order for 10 million non-existent masks.

According to Joydeep, regulators may be “more lenient” when it comes to activities that took place during the onset of the pandemic, or what he calls a more “unpredictable” phase. But banks caught in scandals further along in the pandemic will face a “high risk of regulatory enforcement.”

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

Executive Summary

The Trump Administration has introduced long-anticipated changes to the H-1B visa program for highly-skilled foreign workers, aimed at tightening eligibility for STEM talent working at major US employers, including by imposing a rigid requirement that any job offered to an H-1B worker require a single specific degree in a subspecialty, and that each H-1B candidate have that specific degree to qualify.

The changes, some of which come under immediate effect and all of which will likely face legal challenges, would make it tougher for applicants to qualify for an H-1B visa and significantly more expensive for employers to sponsor them for H-1Bs or for green cards.

The changes also will create high barriers for vendor partners to provide talent to major customers, as both the expense of new wages and specific requirements for vendors to renew their H-1Bs annually (or more frequently if statements of work provide for shorter periods), raise their costs substantially.

Continue Reading Trump Administration Issues Two New Rules to Restrict H-1B Visas and Increase Expenses for Employers Sponsoring Highly-Skilled Workers for Visas and Green Cards

Mayer Brown is among several law firms that have adjusted summer associate recruitment plans as a result of the pandemic. In an October 6 Business Insider article, attorney recruitment manager Susanne Schaeffer said the firm has increased its participation in on campus interviews, which are largely taking place virtually. The firm is also getting creative with student outreach, utilizing a new online application system and meet-and-greet breakout rooms over Zoom.

Read the article on Business Insider.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

The White House has announced issuance of two new rules, both of which will take effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register:

  1.  The Department of Homeland Security’s H-1B rule,  “Strengthening the H-1B Non-immigrant Visa Classification Program,” which has been on the DHS regulatory agenda for many years, including its first appearance in Fall 2017 under the current administration.  It has since appeared in every other regulatory agenda since then, including Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2020, as summarized on Reginfo.gov.  The DHS announcement about the upcoming rule is included here.
  2. The Department of Labor’s rule increasing prevailing wage requirements for US employers, which apply to the Labor Condition Application filings that accompany H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 petitions (including amendments and extensions), and apply to PERM labor certifications.  Wage Level 1 will increase from the 17th percentile to the 45th percentile.  Wage Levels 2, 3, and 4 all are increasing substantially above the current 50th percentile for Wage Level 3.  Wage Wage Level 2 will increase to the 62nd percentile; Wage Level 3 to the 78th percentile; and Wage Level 4 to the 90th percentile.  Percentiles are calculated for the specific occupational classification and vary by location (typically the Metropolitan Statistical Area or “normal commuting distance” from the job location).

Continue reading on Mayer Brown’s Mobile Workforce blog.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

The US District Court for the Northern District of California has issued an order temporarily enjoining President Trump’s proclamation suspending the entry of certain temporary workers.  On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed Proclamation 10052, Section 2 of which suspended the entry of foreign nationals seeking admission in four visa categories of substantial importance to US companies—H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and certain J-1 visas—for the remainder of the calendar year and laid the groundwork for regulatory changes to transform when and how employers can sponsor foreign workers to work in the United States. For a full discussion of the Proclamation, please see our blog post, Trump Order Suspends Major Visa Categories, Including H-1B and L-1, Through the End of the Calendar Year, With Rulemaking Restrictions to Follow. The ban only applied to individuals in these categories who were outside the United States when the Proclamation took effect; were not in possession of a nonimmigrant visa on that date; and had no other authorization to travel to the United States, such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole authorization.

Continue Reading Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction in Case Challenging Nonimmigrant Visa Ban

On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two related bills into law as part of his COVID-19 worker protection package. The new laws expand the presumption of workers’ compensation liability with respect to employees who contract COVID-19, impose new notice and reporting requirements on employers with respect to COVID-19 cases in the workplace, and expand the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (“Cal/OSHA”) enforcement authority.

Continue Reading California Imposes New COVID-19 Notice and Reporting Requirements on Employers, Increases Workers’ Compensation Coverage and Expands Cal/OSHA’s Authority