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Women Workers Suffer 100% of All U.S. Job Losses in December

Laura Wilson

The Labor Department has reported that the U.S. economy lost a net 140,000 jobs in December.  According to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), women lost 156,000 jobs overall during December, while men gained 16,000 jobs.  That means that women accounted for 100% all of U.S. job losses in December.

Since the start of the COVID crisis, the U.S. has netted a loss of approximately 9.8 million jobs.  55% of the lost jobs belonged to women.  The pandemic has crippled the retail, restaurant, and other service sector industries, where women make up the majority of workers.

Women of color have been disproportionately impacted by the employment crisis.  In December, the unemployment rate was 6.7% overall, and 5.8% for white men.  But during the same period, 8.4% of Black women and 9.1% of Latina women were unemployed.

In addition, nearly 2.1 million women have dropped out of the labor force entirely since February.  Studies show that since the pandemic began, the burden of childcare and remote learning has fallen much more heavily on mothers than on fathers.   As a result, many women have either stopped working or stopped looking for work.

Many economists and analysts are worried about the long-term impact of this employment crisis on women’s economic health and future earnings. Almost 40% of unemployed women in December have been out of work for six months or more.  According to the NWLC, the longer a worker is out of a job, the lower the worker’s wages will be when they do become employed.

Of course, these issues are not entirely new.  Even before the pandemic, women working full-time in the U.S. were paid $.82 for each dollar paid to men, and the gap is even wider for women of color.  The employment crisis brought on by the pandemic may further widen pay gaps and damage the financial security of women and their families.

But this is not a foregone conclusion.  Some of these impacts can be avoided if the government offers robust pandemic relief.  Experts recommend that funding be directed to state and local governments (which employ many women), paid family and medical leave, and schools and childcare, so that women are not forced to choose between caring for their family and earning an income.

For more information see:

A year ago, women outnumbered men in the U.S. workforce, now they account for 100% of jobs lost in December

All of the Jobs Lost in December Were Women’s Jobs

Women accounted for 100% of the 140,000 jobs shed by the U.S. economy in December

US cut 140,000 jobs in December. All were held by women, while men gained employment

 

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In Win For LGBTQ Rights Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio Policy Blocking Transgender Residents From Changing Sex Marker On Their Birth Certificates To Match Their Gender Identity

Laura Wilson

Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2018 challenging Ohio’s refusal to allow transgender residents to correct the gender marker on their birth certificates. The lawsuit was brought by three transgender women and one transgender man who had sought unsuccessfully to change their birth certificates to reflect their identified gender.  Ohio and Tennessee are the last two states to change this discriminatory and outdated policy.
In an opinion issued on December 16, 2020, a federal judge struck down the Ohio policy, clearing the way for transgender individuals in Ohio to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity.  The court rejected the state’s arguments that they had this policy in place to maintain “accurate records” and that somehow preventing changes the gender marker on the birth certificates of transgender Ohioans would prevent criminals from “perpetrating fraud.” The court noted that prior to 2016, Ohio had allowed such changes to be made. But in 2018, the state reversed itself and put in place a policy to prevent transgender Ohioans from changing the gender marker on birth certificates even though the state allows gender changes for driver’s licenses and official state identification cards.
The court found that the current policy, “resembles the sort of discrimination-based legislation struck down under the equal protection clause… as nothing more than a policy ‘born of animosity toward the class of person affected’ that has ‘no rational relation to a legitimate government purpose.'” The judge concluded that, “The court finds defendants’ policy to be unconstitutional and hereby permanently enjoins defendants from enforcing their policy.”
As quoted in a Columbus Dispatch article, Kara Ingelhart, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal noted “Finally, transgender people from Ohio will be able to correct their birth certificates so that this necessary identity document is consistent with their gender identities. Accurate birth certificates are essential. They are foundational to our ability to access a variety of benefits such as employment and housing, and to navigate the world freely and safely, as who we truly are.”
For the plaintiffs who brought the case, the court’s decision tears down what they described in their complaint as a barrier to the full recognition, participation and inclusion of transgender people in society. Their legal victory means the state cannot enforce this discriminatory policy which the court found “treats transgendered people differently than similarly situated Ohioans.” The state’s policy on birth certificate gender marker changes can no longer be used to subject transgender Ohioans to discrimination, privacy invasions, harassment, humiliation, and stigma.
For more information on the court’s decision see:

Victory! Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio’s Anti-Transgender Birth Certificate Policy

Federal judge sides with transgender residents on changing Ohio birth certificates

Federal judge strikes down Ohio policy prohibiting transgender people from correcting their birth certificate

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Can Employees Be Required to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Laura Wilson

The arrival of the first two COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna (and news that a third vaccine from AstraZeneca may be close behind) is rare good news in the on-going fight against the global Coronavirus Pandemic.   As vaccine distribution has begun throughout the U.S., and shots are being given to certain high risk groups including healthcare workers and nursing home residents, employees have begun to ask the question: Can my employer require me to get the vaccine? The short answer is yes, with certain exceptions.  

While there is no law or regulation that directly addresses this issue, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency charged with enforcing the nation’s non-discrimination laws, recently issued guidance addressing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy issues.  The EEOC guidance suggests that employers may require their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine once they become available as a condition of remaining at or returning to work.  But there are exceptions for employees who do not to get the vaccine due to either a medical disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief.   

Because some employees may be unable to receive the vaccine due to medical conditions, before an employer can exclude that worker from the workplace, the employer must show that the unvaccinated employee presents a significant risk of substantial harm to health or safety that cannot be eliminated or reduced through reasonable accommodations. In other words, the employer must attempt to accommodate an employee who cannot receive the vaccine due to a disability unless there is no reasonable way to do so. Only after conducting a review and finding that the disabled employee cannot be reasonably accommodated can the employer exclude the employee from the workplace. But the decision to exclude the employee does not automatically mean that the employer can simply fire the unvaccinated worker.  Instead, the employer has to review and evaluate whether other there are other accommodations that can be made, such as permitting the employee to work, or continue to work, remotely, or having the employee work in another location on-site where the threat is reduced or eliminated.

Employers also must accommodate employees whose sincerely-held religious beliefs prevent them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, unless doing so would present an undue hardship to the employer. If that is the case, the employer can exclude the employee from the workplace.  But just like with a disabled employee who cannot get the vaccine, an employer cannot automatically terminate the employee.  Instead, the employer must decide if any other accommodations can be provided to permit the employee to continue working, such as remote work or work in an alternate location.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to raise unique questions and challenges for workers.  We are working hard to stay up to date on the latest changes to the law and regulations, and we are here to help with your employment questions and issues.

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“Super Six”: 6 FMR Attorneys Recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers 2021

Freking Myers & Reul

Congratulations to our “Super Six” Lawyers who were honored with recognition by Ohio Super Lawyers 2021: FMR Employment Law Attorneys Randy H. Freking, Kelly Mulloy Myers, Erin M. Heidrich and Elizabeth A. Newman, and FMR Personal Injury Attorneys Mark W. Napier and Austin LiPuma. These members of our firm have been recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers for 2021 as ranking among the top attorneys in Ohio.
Firm Partners Randy Freking and Kelly Myers have once again earned top honors with their inclusion on select lists of 2021 Ohio Super Lawyers. Randy has been named as a Top 50: 2021 Cincinnati Super Lawyer and Top 100: 2021 Ohio Super Lawyer. Kelly earned elite ranking as a member of the Top 25: 2021 Women Cincinnati Super Lawyers and as a Top 50: 2021 Women Ohio Super Lawyers. Mark Napier, a leader in our Personal Injury practice group, was likewise recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer 2021.
Super Lawyers is a rating service that recognizes outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their state. No more than 5% of the lawyers in Ohio are selected for this distinction. The annual selection process to be named among Ohio’s Super Lawyers includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.
Employment Law Attorneys Erin Heidrich, whose practice includes a focus on School Law and Education, and Liza Newman were both named as 2021 Ohio Rising Stars. Also named as a 2021 Ohio Rising Star is Austin LiPuma, a member of our Personal Injury team. This distinction, reserved for lawyers who have been practicing for less than ten years, indicates recognition of their outstanding work based on both peer evaluation and independent research. No more than 2.5 percent of all lawyers in the state are named to the Ohio Rising Stars list.
FMR is extremely proud of these attorneys for this notable achievement. Through their dedication and commitment to serving as Advocates for Working People, Randy, Kelly, Mark, Erin, Liza, and Austin have earned the respect of their peers and the honor and distinction of being among the select few designated as Ohio 2021 Super Lawyers and 2021 Ohio Rising Stars.

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SCAM ALERT: Ohioans Who Received Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Being Targeted

Laura Wilson

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced today that it has learned of a potential scam targeting current and past recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The notifications appear to be from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and contain the agency’s logo, but they are not legitimate. They instruct those targeted to click on a link to obtain a pandemic stimulus benefit. The link requests personal information. ODJFS WARNS –DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK OR PROVIDE PERSONAL INFORMATION IN RESPONSE TO THESE NOTIFICATIONS. ODJFS does not send these types of communications. ODJFS also warns all Ohioans to beware of scams using texting or emails to obtain your personal information.

Anyone who receives an email that they suspect may be a phishing attempt should not click on any links. Individuals who have received this notification are encouraged to report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s office at 1-800-282-0515 or ohioprotects.org.

For more information click HERE.

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