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Home > Employment Law Update July 2021

Employment Law Update July 2021

A pair of announcements from the White House and a major Pennsylvania wage-and-hour decision lead the employment law headlines for the month of July, 2021.  Get the details below:

  1. President unveils measures to encourage more vaccinations through directive to federal employees. Under newly announced protocols from the White House, every federal employee (who number approximately 4 million) as well as onsite federal contractors will be required to prove that they are fully vaccinated. Anyone who cannot demonstrate they are vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job, no matter their location or physical distance from other employees and visitors.  Unvaccinated workers will also be tested once or twice a week and be subject to travel restrictions, according to the announcement of the White House.  The President also instructed the Department of Defense to consider adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for members of the military.  The White House’s announcement follows similar vaccine announcements from the states of California and New York.
  2. President’s order aims to promote worker mobility by restricting non-compete agreements. Earlier this month, President Biden issued an expansive executive order aimed at boosting competition across the U.S. economy.  Among the specific directives, the President’s order aims to promote worker mobility by restricting non-compete agreements.  Time will tell how this issue plays out. Commentators are questioning whether the President will direct the FTC to make non-compete agreements illegal entirely or merely unenforceable moving forward (banning them in the future).  Moreover, the question remains whether the FTC could create a carveout of some kind for non-competes that protect legitimate trade secrets. Ultimately, there will likely be legal challenges to the action at the federal and state level regardless of the approach that is taken. Read more.
  1. PA Supreme Court takes expansive approach on Minimum Wage Act that could have far-reaching effects for Pennsylvania employers. A decision this month by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court – Neal Heimbach et al. v. Amazon.com Inc. et al. – could have far-reaching effects for Pennsylvania employers.  In Heimbach, the Court held the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”) required that Amazon workers be paid for time spent undergoing mandatory security screening at Amazon warehouses at the conclusion of employee shifts.  The decision essentially holds that any activity “mandated” by an employer for the employer’s benefit is compensable under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, expanding the PA wage-and-hour law beyond the scope of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and Portal to Portal Act. Read my full analysis on this issue here.


Jeff Burke is an attorney at MacElree Harvey, Ltd., working in the firm’s Employment and Litigation practice groups. Jeff counsels businesses and individuals on employment practices and policies, employee hiring and separation issues, non-competition and other restrictive covenants, wage and hour disputes, and other employment-related matters. Jeff also represents businesses and individuals in employment litigation such as employment contract disputes, workforce classification audits, and discrimination claims based upon age, sex, race, religion, disability, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment.