June 27, 2022

William H. Dungey III, Esquire Joins Hyland Levin Shapiro

William H. Dungey III, Esquire has joined Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP as an associate and will continue his concentration in the areas of succession planning, trusts and estates litigation and real property taxation.

Prior to joining Hyland Levin Shapiro, William practiced at another South Jersey law firm. After law school, Will served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Mark Cimino, J.T.C. Judge, New Jersey Tax Court and Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Probate Part.

“Will is a welcome addition to our firm’s robust succession planning, trusts and estates department,” said partner Steven Fabietti. “Our ability to assist clients in these critical practice areas is enhanced by the experience that Will brings to the firm.”

William is a graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (J.D. 2019), and West Virginia University (B.A. 2015). In law school, he was an associate editor of the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution and was Vice President and Treasurer of the Labor and Employment Law Society. He was a member of the Black Law Students Association and served as a student advocate for the Bet Tzedek Civil Litigation Clinic. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey.

Will is a member of the NJSBA Young Lawyers Division and the Camden County Bar Association.

He resides in Oaklyn, New Jersey. In his free time, Will enjoys cooking and distance running. He is a proud self-taught guitarist.

Will may be reached at dungey@hylandlevin.com or 856.355.2927.

May 12, 2022

Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP Attorney, Opeyemi (Yemi) Akinde Appointed New Lawyer Trustee for the Gloucester County Bar Association

Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP attorney, Opeyemi (Yemi) Akinde has been appointed a New Lawyer Trustee for the Gloucester County Bar Association and will serve on its Board for the 2022-2023 term.

For over 100 years, the Gloucester County Bar Association has served the community at large by improving access to the legal system, facilitating professionalism in the legal community, and promoting justice for everyone. Yemi has been a member of the Gloucester County Bar Association for the two years, since the start of her clerkship with Gloucester County Assignment Judge Benjamin C. Telsey.  She is also a member of the New Jersey Bar Association and the Burlington County Bar Association.

Yemi is an associate in the Litigation and Employment Practice Groups at Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP, and devotes her practice to assisting businesses navigate – or avoid – the many stages of commercial litigation. Yemi is a graduate of Rutgers Law School (J.D., 2020), receiving the Myron Harkavy Graduation Prize for Most Promise as a Trial Lawyer. While in law school, Yemi served as President of the Labor & Employment Law Society, Secretary of the Moot Court Board, and successfully competed on the Rutgers National Trial Team, winning awards from the American Bar Association and other renowned legal organizations.

Yemi can be reached at akinde@hylandlevin.com or (856) 355-2999.

May 9, 2022

Attorney, Natalia Teekah’s Article on Environmental Due Diligence in New Jersey published by WCRE InfoFriday

The article titled “Environmental Due Diligence in New Jersey” was published in the WCRE’s InfoFriday|May 6, 2022 newsletter.  Natalia focuses her practice on environmental and land use matters.  She has experience in handling a wide range of environmental issues.

Please contact Natalia directly at 856.355.2935 or by email at teekah@hylandlevin.com if you have any questions.

 

April 29, 2022

Partner Megan Knowlton Balne Receives The Katherine D. Hartman Outstanding Woman in the Profession Award

pic_megan_balne_newHyland Levin Shapiro LLP is pleased to announce that partner, Megan Knowlton Balne, received the Katherine D. Hartman Outstanding Woman in the Profession Award.  The Katherine D. Hartman Outstanding Woman in the Profession Award was created in 2015 by the Burlington County Bar Association’s Women in the Profession Committee.  The award honors a woman in the legal profession who demonstrates outstanding leadership, dedication, mentorship and service to the Burlington County Bar Association and the surrounding community.

“I am very humbled to be chosen as this year’s Woman in the Profession by the Burlington County Bar Association and it is an honor to be listed alongside the prior award recipients,” Balne states.  Balne received the award at a reception on April 27, 2022 attended by members of the bench and bar of Burlington County.  In her remarks accepting the award, Balne emphasized the importance of mentorship in her career and how she strives to be an example to others in the profession.

Megan leads the Employment Law Group at Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP, and devotes her practice to helping businesses stay compliant and grow sustainably.  Megan is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law-Camden (J.D., magna cum laude, 2010) and Ramapo College (B.A. summa cum laude, 2007).  In 2016, Megan was recognized as New Leader of the Bar by the New Jersey Law Journal.  In 2019, Megan received the New Jersey State Bar Association Professional Achievement Award, and in 2020, Megan was recognized as a 40 Under 40 Award Recipient by NJ Biz.  Megan is the Chair of the Legal/Legislative Committee of the Human Resources Association of Southern New Jersey and will be installed as the Vice President of the Burlington County Bar Association in June.

Megan can be reached at balne@hylandlevin.com or (856) 355-2936.

April 4, 2022

Beau C. Wilson, Esquire Joins Hyland Levin Shapiro

Beau C. Wilson, Esquire has joined Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP as an associate and will continue his concentration in commercial litigation.

Prior to joining Hyland Levin Shapiro, Beau served as Deputy Attorney General at the Office of the Attorney General in Trenton, New Jersey where he represented state agencies in the Office of Administrative Law, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, the New Jersey Supreme Court, the New Jersey District Court, and the United States Supreme Court.  He also counseled the Department of Community Affairs and its various subdivisions and the Department of State regarding the enforcement or defense of their statutes and regulations.

“We are delighted to have Beau join our active and growing commercial litigation department. He brings a wealth of experience from his work with the State, and we look forward to his contributions to our clients’ successes”, said Managing Partner, Benjamin Levin.

Beau is a graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law (J.D. 2017), and Messiah College (B.A. 2011).  At Temple, he was the recipient of the Harriet Robinson Gillock Memorial Award and was a Rubin Public Interest Law Honor Society Fellow and member of the Moot Court Honor Society.  After law school, Beau clerked for Superior Court Judge Jean B. McMaster, J.S.C., Civil Division and later interned at the Face to Face Legal Center of Philadelphia as well as the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.  He is admitted to practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

He resides in Haddon Township with his wife and son.  In his free time, Beau enjoys playing tennis, going on hikes, and attempting to convince his family that his dad jokes are, in fact, funny.

Beau may be reached at wilson@hylandlevin.com or 856.355.2931.

January 13, 2022

SUPREME COURT ISSUES OPINIONS REGARDING COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATES

What Happened?

The Supreme Court issued two opinions today in the highly-watched cases regarding COVID-19 vaccine mandates.  Addressing the nation-wide vaccine mandates issued by OSHA covering employers with 100 or more employees, the Court found that the mandate exceeded OSHA’s statutory authority.  Specifically, the Court held that requiring vaccinations for all employees went far beyond addressing occupational hazards and regulating the health and safety of employees.

Why It Matters?

With the stay of the OSHA vaccine mandate upheld, covered employers are no longer under any compliance obligations previously imposed by the mandate.  Employers should, however, be prepared for new potential obligations as it is presumed that the Biden Administration could pursue executive action to implement its vaccination goals. Similarly, states and local governments will likely continue to issue their own vaccine mandates targeting specific industries or locations such as food establishments.

What Should you Do?

In a second opinion, the Court denied the stay targeting the CMS vaccine mandate applicable to healthcare facilities that receive federal funding.  The Court held that the unique and specific nature of healthcare facilities permitted this type of mandate and was within the applicable statutory authority of CMS.  As a result of this decision, covered health care employers will need to abide by the CMS vaccine mandate and do so by the first compliance date of January 27, 2022.  By that date covered employers are required to have developed and implemented policies and procedures addressing vaccinations and that all staff either: (a) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; (b) have a pending request for a qualifying exemption; (c) have been granted a request for a qualifying-exemption; or (d) Have identified as meriting a temporary delay as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Additional compliance deadlines will then follow.


HLS employment practice routinely assists employers in staying up to date and compliant with all COVID-related regulations and guidance.

Please feel free to contact Megan Knowlton Balne of Hyland Levin Shapiro’s employment practice group to answer any questions you may have.

December 21, 2021

OSHA Resumes Implementation and Enforcement of Vaccine Mandate

On Friday, December 17, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), and reinstated the ETS’ “vaccine or test” requirements for private employers with 100 or more employees.  Just hours after that decision, the first of several emergency appeal applications to the United States Supreme Court were filed.

Despite those legal challenges and impending Supreme Court action, OSHA announced that it would resume implementation and enforcement of the ETS.  OSHA has granted employers a limited grace period to achieve compliance with the ETS’ requirements and set new compliance dates.  The ETS’ original compliance dates, as discussed in greater in our prior alert, were December 6, 2021 and January 4, 2022.  Those dates have been extended, and the new compliance dates are January 10, 2022 and February 9, 2022.  Granted, however, that the extension to February 9, 2022, for the enforcement of the ETS’ testing requirement is only applicable to employers who are actively working towards compliance with the ETS.

Covered employers must implement the required policies, identify and record the vaccination status of all employees, and be prepared to comply with information requests from employees and OSHA by January 10.  Employees must have received their primary vaccination series (i.e. a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) by February 9, 2022.  Any employee who has not completed their primary vaccination series by February 9, 2022, will be required to undergo weekly testing in accordance with the ETS.  An employer who is not working towards compliance, will be subject to citation for violation of the ETS’ testing requirements prior to the extended deadline of February 9, 2022.

Although the legal battle will continue and the ultimate fate of the ETS is unknown, it is clear that OSHA will enforce the ETS as soon as possible.  Employers should respond accordingly and either resume or restart their compliance efforts to ensure they meet the ETS’ new deadlines.

For more information on compliance with the ETS, see our prior E-Alert, HLS Employment Law Update – OSHA ETS.

November 24, 2021

Partner, David R. Dahan Appointed President Elect for Keystone Chapter of CAI

pic_david_dahan_newWe are pleased to share some very exciting news about our partner, David R. Dahan.  David has been a Member of the Board of Directors for the Keystone Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (“CAI”) for about 5 years.  CAI is an international trade organization for community associations.  CAI promotes certain legislation which favors associations, opposes legislation which is contrary to the interests of associations and provides various education and networking events for the industry.  David was recently notified that he has been appointed as President Elect for 2022 and will serve as President of the Chapter for 2023.  This is in addition to his continued role as a Member of the Chapter’s Finance Committee and Executive Committee.  David will also serve as a Member of the Board Development Committee and the 2022 liaison for the Member Engagement and Golf committees.

Hyland Levin Shapiro Attorneys Participate in CAI’s New Jersey Mini Trade Show and Education Forum

On November 10, 2021, David Dahan and Will Hanna attended the Community Associations Institute’s New Jersey Mini Trade Show and Education Forum.  The firm had a display booth and was also a sponsor for this annual event.  The event was well attended and included a fascinating education forum on car charging stations for community associations.

November 9, 2021

OSHA Issues Emergency Vaccine Mandate for Employers with 100+ Employees

UPDATE:  Citing potential “grave statutory and constitutional issues” with the ETS released by OSHA on Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay blocking the ETS from going into effect.  The stay was issued in response to a suit filed by multiple parties and was just one of a host of similar suits filed in Circuit Court of Appeals across the country.  The Order issuing the stay provided no analysis and directed the government to respond to the request for permanent injunction by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 8 with the challengers’ reply due the following day.

While such challenges were expected, this does further complicate compliance efforts by employers as there may not be a binding determination for weeks and the first compliance date for employers is December 5.  For now, employers should still prepare to comply with the ETS as though it will take effect, but refrain from implementing those measures until a final determination is made.

We invite you to join us for an informal roundtable discussion of OSHA’s vaccine mandate.

What Happened?

The long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine mandate affecting private employers is here: released on November 4, 2021, set to become effective November 5 and expected to remain in effect for up to six months.  This vaccine mandate is perhaps the most significant COVID-related happening in what has been nearly two years of unprecedented change in employment law.  At a robust 490 pages, OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) which establishes, implements and enforces the vaccine mandate, will require most covered employers to take significant steps to ensure compliance.

Employers should also keep in mind that the mandate is subject to a 30-day comment period and will likely be amended between now and its vaccination deadline of January 4, 2022.  Below are the key compliance issues for employers.

What Does the Mandate Require for Employers?

Covered Employers

As known since the announcement of President Biden’s executive order that paved the way for the ETS, the ETS will apply to private employers with 100 or more employees not already covered by another emergency standard or executive order.  However, there are several nuances to what was the most well-known detail of the mandate prior to its publication:

  • The number of employees is measured by the employer’s total employees across all workplace locations, including remote workers.  The requirements apply to those employees working in the office for any amount of time;
  • If an employer experiences fluctuating employee numbers, the starting point is the number of employees on November 5, 2021.  If the employer has 100 or more employees as of that date, the employer must comply with the ETS for its duration.  If the employer is below the threshold the ETS does not apply unless and until the employer passes the 100-employee mark at which point the ETS would apply for its duration;
  • For franchises, each franchisee is considered a separate employer, as is the franchisor.  For example, if the franchisor has 100 employees, but none of the franchisees meet the threshold, then only the franchisor is a covered employer;
  • One of the primary exceptions is employees who work exclusively outdoors, meaning they work outdoors on all days with only de minimis use of indoor spaces, and do not routinely occupy vehicles with other employees as part of work duties;
  • Part-time employees are counted towards the threshold number of employees, but independent contractors are not counted;
  • Workers supplied by staffing agencies are considered employees of the agency, not the host employer and at multi-employer worksites, each employer will only count their own employees towards the threshold.
  • Minors, as well as temporary or seasonal workers, working directly for the employer, are covered so long as they are employed while the EST is in effect.

Vaccination Policy

  • Covered employers must develop, implement and enforce a mandatory vaccine policy compelling all employees to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022 other than those employees who fall into one of three categories: (a) those for whom a vaccine is medically contraindicated; (b) those for whom medical necessity requires a delay in vaccination; or (c) those legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation under federal civil rights laws because they have a disability or sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances that conflict with the vaccination requirement.
  • To ensure mandatory vaccine policies are comprehensive and effective, the policies should address the following: (a) requirements for COVID-19 vaccination; (b) applicable exclusions from the written policy; (c) information on determining an employee’s vaccination status and how this information will be collected; (d) paid time and sick leave for vaccination purposes; (e) notification of positive COVID-19 tests and removal of COVID-19 positive employees from the workplace; (f) information to be provided to employees; and (g) disciplinary action for employees who do not abide by the policy.
  • An employer may feature a tiered policy under which certain positions or roles, e.g., direct contact with the public, must be vaccinated, while other positions may choose between vaccination or weekly testing.
  • There is no requirement for an employer to continue employing an employee who refuses to get vaccinated in violation of its policy as a refusal is not generally protected by the OSH Act.

Determination of Vaccination Status

  • Employers are required to determine and record the vaccination status of every employee whether they are vaccinated or not.  When determining vaccination status, an employer may rely on physical or digital copies of acceptable proof of vaccination status.  The ETS enumerates what constitutes acceptable proof of vaccination status.
  • For purposes of the ETS, booster shots and additional doses are not included in the definition of fully vaccinated.
  • The ETS does not require employers to monitor for or detect fraud by employees with regard to their vaccination status.  However, employers may not invite or facilitate fraud, and the ETS provides for criminal penalties for knowingly providing false information regarding vaccination status.

Employer Support for Vaccinations

  • Employers must provide paid time off, up to four hours at the employee’s regular rate, for the purposes of vaccination, unless the employee gets vaccinated on a non-working day.  Employers are prohibited from requiring employees to use sick, vacation or some other form of leave to get vaccinated.
  • Employers may, however, require employees to use accrued sick time or other paid leave to recover from the side effects of the vaccination, but an employer cannot require employees to use advanced sick leave or otherwise go into the negative for paid sick leave to recover from side effects.
  • Employers may set a cap on the amount of paid sick leave available to employees to recover from any side effects, but the cap must be reasonable. OSHA presumes that, if an employer makes available up to two days of paid sick leave per primary vaccination dose for side effects, the employer would be in compliance with this requirement.

Testing Policy

  • Employers may forgo implanting a mandatory vaccine policy and instead opt to  develop, implement and enforce a policy requiring employees who are not fully-vaccinated to undergo weekly testing to enter the employer’s premises.  Such a policy would only apply to those employees who report to the employer’s workplace.  Employees who fail to obtain and provide a COVID test will not be permitted to come to the workplace regardless of any other safety measures.
  • For employees who only report to the workplace occasionally, they must be tested within seven days prior to returning to the workplace and provide documentation of that result to their employer.
  • The ETS details what types of test and testing are acceptable including pool testing, any test authorized by the FDA (including on an emergent basis) and tests that are self-administered and self-read so long as the test is observed by the employer or authorized telehealth proctor.
  • Employers generally do not have to cover the cost associated with employee testing, but other federal laws such as the FLSA may apply requiring employers to pay for employee time spent getting tested.
  • Even if an employee has obtained a recognized accommodation to an employer’s vaccine mandate, that employee must still undergo weekly testing in order to enter the workplace.
  • Employers electing to utilize a testing policy, must require that all unvaccinated employees wear acceptable face coverings unless an exemption from that requirement exists.

Recordkeeping

  • Employers are required to maintain a roster of every employee’s vaccination status along with acceptable proof of fully vaccinated status as well as every test result for every employee undergoing weekly testing in lieu of becoming fully vaccinated.
  • OSHA may request the aggregate number of fully vaccinated employees at the workplace along with the total number of employees at the workplace.  If requested, the employer must provide the information within four hours of the request and may be publicly disseminated.
  • Employers are also required, when requested by an employee or an employee’s authorized representative, to provide to the requesting employee with the aggregate number of fully vaccinated employees along with the total number of employees.  When requested, that information must be produced by the end of the next business day and may be publicly disseminated.
  • The records and roster required by the ETS are considered to be employee medical records and must be maintained as such records, including with regard to confidentiality.  These records must not be disclosed except as required or authorized by the ETS or other federal law such as the ADA.
  • Employers must also retain a record of each test for each employee for the duration of the employer’s testing policy and/or the ETS.

Notification of Positive Test and Removal

  • All employees, regardless of vaccination status, must be removed from the workplace if the employee tests positive or is diagnosed with COVID-19.  The employee cannot return to the workplace until the employee (a) receives a negative test result; (b) meets the return to work criteria in CDC’s “Isolation Guidance”; or (c) receives a recommendation to return to work from a licensed healthcare provider.
  • Paid time off is not required for employees removed from the workplace due to a positive test or diagnosis.
  • The ETS does not require the removal of an unvaccinated employee if they have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person.

The above only scratches the surface of the nuances of the ETS and there are additional requirements including the provision of information to employees which can be in the form of typical workplace notices.  The sheer scope and significance of the ETS demands that employers work with experienced employment counsel to ensure their compliance.

What Should Employers Do to Prepare?

Employers should waste no time preparing compliant policies.  The first step for employers will be determining whether it is covered. If so, then assessing their workforce to determine vaccination status and choose the appropriate type of policy to be enacted.  Employers should then analyze any existing policies to determine the level of revision that will be needed.   At the point employers can begin identifying and implementing procedures for compliance with the ETS.  At every step there will be questions and unforeseen complications all of which will occur under the specter of non-compliance which can result in costly penalties, potential criminal liability and the threat of litigation.  Given the complexity of the ETS and the near-guarantee that the ETS will change multiple times before the compliance dates, working with employment counsel is the best course of action for employers.


HLS’s employment practice group routinely advises employers on complying with all COVID-related regulations while preserving business operations and performance.

Please feel free to contact Megan Knowlton Balne Hyland Levin Shapiro’s employment practice group to answer any questions you may have.