Wyatt Employment Law Report

The Supreme Court of Kentucky Issues Guidance Regarding Upcoming Trials

By Marianna J. Michael

Shortly after releasing its guidelines for reopening courts in the Commonwealth, the Supreme Court of Kentucky provided further guidance in regards to upcoming trials. The Order builds in time for courts to prioritize criminal proceedings that have been delayed as a result of COVID-19. As such, the Order makes the following provisions: Continue reading

A Practical Guide to Employee Temperature Screening

Michelle D. Wyrick and Lilian Williams

As businesses begin the first stages of reopening or increasing employee capacity, many have implemented or intend to implement temperature screening procedures. Some businesses are required to screen employee temperatures as a precondition to open under state or local law, as seen in Kentucky, while other businesses look to screen employee temperatures as a precautionary measure. Continue reading

Judicial Branch Task Forces Reveal Re-Opening Guidelines

By Marianna Michael

After convening three task forces to determine what measures to take to gradually resume in-person court services, the Supreme Court released its reopening plan on May 15, 2020. The Court’s goal is to implement a limited, phased reopening to allow access to the courts while keeping court personnel and the public safe through social distancing and other precautions.

Starting June 1, 2020, the Court will implement the following measures:
Continue reading

Employees Injured while Working Remotely may be Entitled to Workers’ Compensation

By Jacob N. Eldemire Smith

As a result of social distancing in the midst of COVID-19, employees are working remotely now more than ever. One of the many unique challenges facing employers as a result of the increased number of employees working from the confines of their homes is the ever-present risk that an employee could be injured while conducting work-related tasks. Employers and their insurers must be aware that, under certain circumstances, injuries suffered by employees in their domiciliary “workplaces” could be compensable under workers’ compensation laws—even if any personal, non-work related components of the employee’s work-from-home arrangement contribute to the injury. Continue reading

Kentucky Supreme Court issues Amended Order extending filing deadlines for the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Kentucky.

By Daniel Reed

On April 28, 2020, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued Amended Order 2020-29 extending certain filing deadlines for the Supreme Court of Kentucky and Kentucky Court of Appeals by thirty days as a result of COVID-19. The deadline extension applies only to specified notices, motions, and briefs that would have been due between May 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020. Continue reading

Considerations When Severing Employment Relationships With Furloughed Employees

By Marianna J. Michael

As a result of COVID-19, employers have been forced to take a hard look at employment levels. Many employers have furloughed employees. Furloughing an employee is distinguishable from terminating an employee. A furloughed worker is still considered an employee, but they have been forced to take a temporary break from work without pay or had their work hours significantly reduced. This permits employers to cut costs without ending the employment relationship, and in most cases permits the employee to receive unemployment benefits.

However, as COVID-19 continues to cause problems and the speed of recovery remains uncertain, many employers will be forced to make the more difficult decision of formally ending employment relationships with some employees. Many employers will terminate individuals already on furlough. Employers need to be aware that the same rules that govern the “normal” termination of an employee apply to terminating an employee on furlough. Considerations employers should take into account include the following:

  • WARN Act: While furloughing employees did not trigger notice requirements under the WARN Act, employers who are permanently laying off employees now need to consider whether these employment losses trigger any obligations under WARN. Generally, an employer may have a duty to provide advance notice under WARN if 50 or more full-time employees will be laid off at a single site of employment in a 90-day rolling period. For more detail on the WARN Act, click here.
  • Health Benefits: Since the end of employment corresponds with the end of employer provided insurance, employers should see that terminated employees receive COBRA notices with regard to participation in any group health plan, as well as notices of the termination of coverage and conversion rights, if any, with regard to other benefits.
  • PTO Benefits: If employees do not exhaust PTO Benefits prior to termination, employers must determine whether applicable law or policy requires payout of those remaining benefits.
  • Severance Pay: Employers may have an obligation to pay severance under an employment agreement or severance plan or policy. A severance agreement, including a full release, should also be contemplated to minimize future litigation risk in appropriate cases.
  • Notice of Termination: Employers should follow their state laws and internal policies regarding notices of termination and whether they need to be in writing.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs Labor & Employment attorney.

Kentucky Releases Unemployment Insurance Employer Handbook for COVID-19

By Michelle D. Wyrick

The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet has published an employer handbook to answer employers’ questions about unemployment insurance and how it has been impacted by COVID-19 and the new federal programs enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The handbook can be found here. Continue reading