Recreational marijuana could cause chaos in New Jersey if lawmakers don’t work together, three companies face some serious fines for demanding extra documents from foreign workers, and a lesson from the NFL after COVID-19 causes huge problems. It’s all in today’s EBI Screening News Update.
If you are a football fan, you know what a toll COVID-19 is taking on the season. Some teams, like the Baltimore Ravens, have faced huge outbreaks. As of this writing, 12 players and 8 staffers, have tested positive for the virus.
The Denver Broncos lost their quarterback, Jeff Driskel, after he tested positive. Then, the league banned the team’s three remaining quarterbacks because they had close contact with Driskel.
According to an article in the Athletic, the quarterbacks spent extensive time together, they didn’t wear their masks, or their tracking devices. But it seems the last straw was the fact that the players were less than forthcoming when the NFL tried to conduct its contact tracing. Because of that, they played the Saints without a single quarterback on the field, and it didn’t turn out well for the Broncos.
There are several COVID-19 lessons here, but the one that stands out the most is that contact tracing is only as good as the people involved are willing to make it. When you refuse to wear employer supplied tracking devices or hold back information during contact tracing interviews, it sets your entire team back – whether you are on the field or in the office.
If you would like information about creating your own contact tracing program visit EBI Workplace Health and Safety.
Last month, voters in New Jersey decided they wanted to amend their state constitution to legalize recreational marijuana for everyone over the age of 21. That amendment is supposed to take effect on January 1st, but the actual details of how things are going to work have not been hammered out yet.
Before the January start date, state lawmakers still need to figure out everything from how many growers and distributors will be allowed, how they will be licensed, and how to distribute the tax revenue. And the process has not been easy. With less than a month to go, the state Assembly and Senate are still very far apart on many of these issues.
There is also a standoff when it comes to decriminalizing the drug. The Senate added an amendment to the current bill that also downgrades penalties for other drugs, like psychedelic mushrooms. The Assembly is refusing to vote on it because of the controversial provision. Both chambers must pass identical bills and get them to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk. If they don’t, there is concern there will be chaos when the amendment takes effect on New Year’s Day.
The Department of Justice has settled three cases against employers for discriminating against foreign workers while filling out their Form I-9s. A Texas logistics firm, the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, and a San Diego-based car rental company were all accused of demanding non-U.S. citizens produce documents above and beyond what is required by the Form I-9.
All of the employees involved produced documents that are listed as acceptable proof that they are authorized to work in the country, but the employers demanded more. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits any employer from making such requests.
In each case, the DOJ levied hefty fines and required the employers to pay those who lost work. The companies must also retrain their HR teams, so this doesn’t happen again.
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.