The pandemic is causing healthcare workers to leave the profession, the New York Times reports. According to the NYT report, many doctors and nurses are retiring early or seeking other work because of conditions created by the pandemic. Some are concerned for their own health, while others are emotionally drained from administering care during the heights of the pandemic. One survey found that 1 in 5 primary care physicians knows a medical professional who has, or plans to, retire early because of Covid-19. Many doctors have even had to close their practices entirely. One doctor reported closing her practice because of PPE shortages and a decline in patients because of fears of Covid-19-exposure. According to one study, as many as 16,000 doctors have closed their practices, and another 8,000 are preparing to close within the year.
A lawsuit filed against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles claims the company unlawfully tried to dissuade former employees from exercising their right to post-termination health coverage. Under, the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), companies with 20 or more employees must allow terminated employees to continue their health coverage for a period after termination. According to the suit, Fiat Chrysler tried to skirt the requirement by scaring employees into opting out of coverage. The company allegedly issued notices threatening criminal penalties for submitting incomplete information when electing for continued coverage. However, COBRA only provides for a $110 fine per day for employers for any missing information. As Bloomberg reports, over two dozen proposed class actions have been filed in 2020 against companies allegedly misusing COBRA notices.
Ohio Instacart workers are suing the company for misclassification, one of at least three suits against the company nationwide. The complaint alleges that the grocery delivery company classifies its Ohio driver-shoppers as independent contractors. However, similar to charges against other gig companies, Instacart treats its driver-shoppers as employees, say the plaintiffs. In Ohio, Instacart reportedly determines wages, shift lengths, work assignments, and other employment conditions. Furthermore, the company dictates how Ohio driver-shoppers act while working and requires them to wear Instacart gear on the job. Instacart is fielding similar suits in California and Illinois.
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is trying to ensure compliance with a Trump executive order aimed at limiting the number of visa workers used for federal contracts. The executive order, issued in August, requires agencies to give preference to US citizens and green card holders over temporary visa holders in all hiring. OMB is now following up by requiring all federal agencies to submit reports by end of year detailing their use of visa workers for service contracts. Time will tell if President-elect Biden shifts from this Trump era policy.