Federal Court Blocks New York From Eliminating Religious Exemptions to Health Care Worker Vaccine Mandate

Health care workers in New York successfully obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the New York State Department of Health (DOH) from "enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination." Further, "[t]he DOH is barred from interfering in any way with the granting of religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination going forward." Plaintiffs …

No, government employees cannot be fired for political protest

I recently came across a GBH news article wherein an attorney advised people to avoid political protest because their employer may fire them for such activity.  The First Amendment says otherwise. Political speech is at the heart of the First Amendment, which protects government employees.  Government employees cannot be fired for political speech unless the …

Is Brookline’s Face Mask Mandate Constitutional?

On April 14, 2020, the Brookline Department of Public Health issued the following advisory: “Effective April 17, 2020 every individual is required to wear a protective face covering at all times when in the public.”[1]  The mandate contains no expiry.  This article poses constitutional questions relevant to the town’s broad rule. In order to challenge …

Tipped Restaurant Employees May Be Entitled To at Least 75% of Their Tips From Before the Crisis.

As part of the federal response to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, restaurants are eligible for loans to cover their payroll costs through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which can include tips paid to wait staff.  Such loans are then forgiven if certain conditions are met, meaning the restaurant does not have to pay the money …

Parents Are Entitled to Paid Time Off to Take Care of Kids During the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Emergency

The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act signed by the President on March 18, 2020, requires non-healthcare provider employers with less than 500 employees to give up to 12-weeks of job-protected leave to parents to care for their children necessitated by school/daycare closures or loss of childcare due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) health …