Businesses in Georgia now have protection from civil lawsuits arising out of alleged COVID-19 exposure, transmission, infection or potential exposure. The Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act (GCPBSA), which is now in effect, protects businesses and individuals in many circumstances from COVID-19 exposure claims (and other types of claims) that accrue before July 14, 2021. You must take some specific proactive steps to receive this protection, however – so you need to make sure you understand the details of this new law.
Articles About Georgia Labor And Employment Law.
On July 17, 2020, the Georgia Department of Labor issued updated emergency Rules concerning unemployment benefits in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The new Rules went into effect on July 19 and continue through November 16, 2020, or until the Department proposes and enacts subsequent rules or guidance.
On June 26, 2020, the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill (SB) 359 to limit liability for COVID-19-related claims. The bill, which is titled “Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act,” has not yet been signed by Governor Brian Kemp. Several states have enacted similar legislation, including Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky,
On April 23, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp signed an Executive Order (Order) relaxing the statewide Shelter in Place Order issued on April 2, 2020, and providing additional guidance related to the performance of work for Critical Infrastructure businesses and non-Critical Infrastructure businesses, including businesses recently permitted to reopen. The Order also requires individuals at higher risk of severe illness to continue sheltering in place and some businesses to remain closed to the public. The Order is in effect from Friday May 1, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. until May 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
On April 2, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp signed an Executive Order requiring Georgia residents and visitors to shelter in place within their homes or places of residence, except to engage in limited essential activities, to perform work for Critical Infrastructure businesses or to perform work activities required for “Minimum Basic Operations” of non-critical infrastructure businesses. The Order expressly closes the public operations and in-person services of some businesses and professionals, and is in effect from Friday, April 3, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. until Monday, April 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
On the heels of a limited “shelter in place” order by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a Stay at Home Order requiring all individuals living in the City of Atlanta to stay at home, except to engage in limited activities, to work for Essential Businesses or to engage in other permitted work activities. The City’s Order also provides that all non-essential businesses must cease operations at physical locations within the City, except for “Minimum Basic Operations.”
The Georgia Department of Labor has passed an emergency rule requiring employers to file claims for partial unemployment benefits online on behalf of employees who have been temporarily laid off or have had their hours reduced due to the lack of work as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On March 23, 2020, the State of Georgia and City of Atlanta issued two separate orders aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 across the state over the next 14 days. First, Governor Brian Kemp issued a “shelter-in-place” order (“State Order”) requiring certain individuals with an “increased risk of complications” from COVID-19 to shelter in place in their homes. This group includes individuals who are living in long-term care facilities, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a positive COVID-19 test, are suspected of having COVID-19 because of their symptoms and exposure, or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19. The State Order also closes bars and nightclubs across Georgia, and bans all gatherings of 10 or more people, unless six feet can be maintained between individuals at all times. The State Order is effective from 12:00 PM on March 24, 2020 through 12:00 PM on April 6, 2020.
The Georgia Department of Labor (“Department”), in response to COVID-19, issued an emergency rule1 on March 16, 2020 related to filing partial unemployment claims. The rule will remain in effect for 120 days or until the Department adopts a subsequent rule.
In late 2019, the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta federal court) addressed the duties owed when an independent contractor leaves one trucking company to work for another. In Wind Logistics Prof’l v. Universal Truckload, Inc., Universal Truckload (“Universal”) was in the business of transporting industrial wind equipment. In 2012, Mr. Parson, who previously had been employed by Universal to coordinate the transportation and delivery of wind equipment, entered into an independent contractor agency agreement with Universal.
Georgia’s Restrictive Covenants Act (O.C.G.A. § 13-8-50 et seq.) (“RCA”) governs Georgia non-compete agreements entered into after May 2011. Very few courts have interpreted the RCA since its inception. In Bearoff v. Craton, decided a few months ago, the Georgia Court of Appeals authored its very first decision in the “sale of business” context (i.e., a seller of a business agreeing to a non-compete for some period after the sale). Specifically, the Bearoff court confirmed that, in such circumstances, a non-compete may be enforced for the longer of five years or the time period during which the buyer pays the seller for the business.
The Georgia Supreme Court may weigh in on the hot issue plaguing data breach class action litigation across the nation, must a data breach victim suffer actual financial loss to recover damages, or is the threat of future harm enough? On August 20, the Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments in a class action suit stemming from a data breach in September 2017 at Athens Orthopedic, exposing 200,000 of its current and former patients’ personal information including names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth and telephone numbers. Upon discovery of the breach, Athens Orthopedic advised patients to place fraud alerts on their credit accounts and seek other advice.
The Georgia Restrictive Covenants Act (O.C.G.A. § 13-8-50 et seq.) governs non-compete agreements in Georgia entered into after May 2011 and sets forth that such agreements can be used only with respect to certain employees. One context in which non-compete agreements are permitted is where an employee “customarily and regularly” solicits customers or makes sales. Non-compete agreements are also permissible where an employee “perform[s] the duties of a key employee or of a professional.”
Georgia’s Restrictive Covenants Act (the “RCA”) became effective in May 2011, but it took nearly six years before a court published a decision interpreting the statute in the context of a non-competition provision (See our previous legal alert regarding the first published decision). Therefore, companies deciding whether to use or enforce a non-compete agreement have little guidance regarding how courts will interpret such agreements under the law.
Executive Summary: Effective May 2011, Georgia’s Restrictive Covenants Act (RCA) represented a significant change to pre-existing Georgia law. Since then, however, very few courts have interpreted the RCA, leaving employers and practitioners alike with questions over how, and under what circumstances, restrictive covenants agreements may be used to protect an employer’s legitimate business interests. One of the few decisions interpreting the statute, CSM Bakery Solutions, LLC v. Debus (N.D. Ga. 2017) underscores the reality that some employees in Georgia simply are immune from post-employment non-compete provisions – even where the covenants are reasonably tailored in duration, geographic proximity, and scope of precluded activity.