On March 17, 2020, the City of Austin issued an order concerning community gatherings, effectively limiting the number of people that can be in any one room at a given time in an effort to combat the COVID-19 virus. The restrictions on community gatherings take effect at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, and will continue until at least May 1, 2020.
As of March 4th, 2020, the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) first detected in China has now been detected in almost 70 locations internationally, including the United States. Many of these locations have subsequently reported community spread of the illness by person-to-person contact, as opposed to earlier infections involving animal-to-person spread. While the severity of the illness remains unclear, current data indicates that nearly 3000 have died worldwide, while in the United States, 9 deaths have been confirmed.
As an employment lawyer, I often see provisions in employee handbooks that say something along the lines of: “Discussing pay and other confidential terms of employment with your co-workers is prohibited.” This type of clause — or anything that prohibits your employees from discussing the terms and conditions of their employment — is prohibited under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
On February 16, 2018, the Austin City Council passed a long-anticipated ordinance that requires private companies with employees in Austin to provide paid sick leave. The ordinance goes into effect on October 1, 2018 for all employers with six or more employees within the City and on October 1, 2020 for all employers with five or fewer employees. The law only applies to W-2 employees and does not apply to Independent Contractors.