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Overall, West Virginia’s mid-term election easily can be described as a Red Wave rising, with historic GOP wins in legislative races. At the same time, voters remained cautious when it came to policy decisions, soundly rejecting all four constitutional amendments on the ballot in spite of strong support from the Republican Party and business community. That dichotomy likely will puzzle election watchers for a while ...

Does your contract contain a dispute resolution section that refers to the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) rules, mediation and/or arbitration proceedings?  If so, then you need to be aware of some changes that took effect last month. The AAA revised its Commercial Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures (“AAA Rules”) to update some existing rules and to add new rules ...

as published in West Virginia Banker magazine, Fall 2022 A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”) revealed that U.S. executives now consider cyberattacks the number one risk their companies face. Concerns about cybersecurity have moved beyond the Chief Information Security Officer (“CISO”) to the entire C-suite and corporate boards ...

On September 6, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking ("NPRM") regarding the standard for determining joint employer status under the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"). The rule as proposed would effectively overturn a rule on the same subject issued just over two years ago during the Trump administration ...

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland) held that gender dysphoria, a condition experienced by some transgender individuals, is a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. See Williams v. Kincaid, No. 21-2030 (4th Cir. Aug. 16, 2022) ...

Most employers know their employee handbooks need to be living documents that are reviewed and updated when conditions change. If any employer doubted the need for doing this, the past two years should have convinced them otherwise – with the need to incorporate policies to address statutorily mandated COVID-19 sick leave and/or vaccinations. While many of the mandatory COVID-19 sick leave policies are sunsetting, the sun is just rising for remote work issues ...

Most employers know that they have a legal obligation to protect employees from harassment at work and to prevent it from recurring. Many employers assume that this obligation relates to harassment by employees and managers; however, it actually extends to harassment by third parties, including customers or vendors. Several recent cases brought by the U.S ...

In late June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overruling Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had previously recognized a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability. After Dobbs, many states sought to protect a woman’s choice to terminate her pregnancy ...

In the beginning of the 2000s, as a result of the advance in technology, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) looked to Congress to pass legislation that would ensure protection of citizens' privacy rights. However, Congress thus far has been unable to pass comprehensive privacy protection legislation, leaving it instead to the states to pass their own such legislation in a piecemeal fashion ...

In the last edition of The Site Report, we discussed the legal issues surrounding the damage caused by Skanska's construction barges to the new Pensacola Bay Bridge ("Bridge") between Pensacola, Florida and Gulf Breeze, Florida during Hurricane Sally ...

The COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic era saw an increase in the number of employees working from home. For employers, this raises questions of liability for injuries that occur while employees are working from home. Specifically, when does workers’ compensation coverage or deliberate intent coverage apply? A New York appellate court recently discussed the applicability of workers’ compensation coverage in a work-from-home scenario. Matter of Capraro v. Matrix Absence Mgt ...

Recently, leading officials in the Biden administration have taken steps to prevent employers from sharing their lawful views on collective bargaining in order to aid union efforts to organize more employees. These actions range from encouraging employers to refrain from discussing unions with employees, to seeking to prohibit any discussion about unions with employees while they are working ...

On March 18, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act ("CROWN Act") of 2022. The purpose of this bill is to address the routine deprivation of educational and employment opportunities that people of color face for wearing their natural hair ...

Shortly after his administration began, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985, "Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government." In April 2022, in accordance with this Executive Order, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") released its "Equity Action Plan," which contains several items that may impact employers ...

The pandemic generated a migration of employees from metro-based offices to smaller, more affordable communities where they could work from home. New complexities – mostly centered around pay scale – have arisen with this shift to remote work. Many companies have struggled to find equitable ways to compensate employees, and some employers have decided to pay them less ...

How should an employer respond if an employee is experiencing relationship violence? What if the partner has threatened the employee at work? Employers must consider these situations because relationship violence in the workplace is more prevalent than it may seem ...

INTRODUCTION In a previous issue of Decoded, we discussed the alarming fact that many medical devices, including those implanted in patients' bodies, are leaving the manufacturers with known cybersecurity flaws. Due to these known flaws, these devices are vulnerable to being hacked, and patients’ personal/protected health information ("PHI") stolen; or worse, the device being held hostage in a ransomware attack ...

What follows is a cautionary tale for anyone involved who fails to follow a natural disaster preparedness plan. Taking short cuts and failing to follow agreed upon emergency preparedness plans are a recipe for disaster. While the litigation we analyze in this article stems from bridge construction in Florida, the lessons learned from this real situation are applicable all across the country ...

Companies may purchase third party technology from time to time. When acquiring patents from outside the company, or from related entities, there are important factors to be considered. Here are certain issues for buyers when preparing a patent acquisition agreement.    The buyer should first determine that all the record owners of the purchased Intellectual Property are party to the patent acquisition agreement. A particular patent may be assigned to a subsidiary of the seller ...

Businesses are increasingly relying upon the cloud computing infrastructure for hosting their websites, storing their data, and deploying artificial intelligence. Using a cloud computing service saves businesses the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining their own IT infrastructure, allowing them instead to purchase the services and storage that they need ...

With COVID-19, employers are receiving and processing an ever-increasing amount of their employees' confidential health information. From COVID-19 test results to vaccination status, many employers are routinely collecting medical information on their employees for compliance with internal or external rules and regulations ...

A patent has the attributes of intangible personal property - it can be sold or mortgaged; it may be bequeathed by a will; and it may pass to the heirs of a deceased patentee. The patent law provides for the transfer or sale of a patent, or of an application for patent, by an instrument in writing. An assignment is such an instrument and may transfer the entire interest or a partial interest in the patent ...

OSHA’s long-anticipated (as we have previously discussed) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard ("ETS") is out and, as promised, it will require companies with at least 100 employees – across all facilities – to either institute a vaccine mandate or compel unvaccinated employees to submit to weekly testing and workplace masking for at least the next six months ...

Some West Virginia businesses have implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees. While the West Virginia COVID-19 Jobs Protection Act (W. Va. Code § 55-19-1 through § 55-19-9) protects people, businesses, and entities from some COVID-19 related claims, the Act does not address whether employees who suffer an injury from a COVID-19 vaccine mandated by their employers may bring a workers' compensation claim ...

Over the last 18 months, nearly everyone has experienced increased stress as once simple decisions about day-to-day routines became more complicated, going to work and school became a potential health risk, and many families experienced financial hardship. Stress associated with the pandemic has exacerbated mental health impairments and other conditions triggered by stress and led people to seek professional help for their struggles ...

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