10 things for which this employment lawyer is thankful -- COVID edition

Ten things? This will be a challenge.

Thanks to COVID-19, it's been a turkey of a year.

But I am determined to find something good about it! Here is what I'm thankful for as we reach the end of 2020:

No. 1: Remote work has finally become respectable. I was a pioneer remote worker in the 1990s, with a dedicated land line for my dial-up internet, a snazzy Compaq laptop that weighed about 17 pounds, and AOL for email.

Yeah. I used to be cool.

Remember this sound? 

Back then, when I worked from home, everybody thought I was just trying to grab some time off. (Those briefs apparently wrote themselves.)

Well, finally, telecommuting is accepted, and not a moment too soon. Thanks, COVID-19!

No. 2: Employment lawyers got to learn a bunch of new stuff. I'm not sure this is good news for the rest of you, but it's always fun for me to learn new laws or apply old laws to new and different situations. We got plenty of that this year, what with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on dealing with COVID-19, and how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to employer screening and (in the near future) employee vaccinations. Not to mention the new state laws, such as Virginia's Emergency Temporary Standard, which comprehensively addresses COVID-19.

No. 3: We got to learn a bunch of new technology. Zoom, Teams, how to do mediations and hearings by Zoom and Teams, which headsets work the best, how to look fabulous! on video, behaviors to avoid while on Zoom calls, etc. I think it's fun to learn new technology. And Jeffrey Toobin is the gift to bloggers that (who?) keeps on giving.  

No. 4: When your dog barks or your child whines during a work-related call, everyone chuckles sympathetically. This kind of thing used to be a career-killer, but now it's cute. 

"Spot, if I have to stay awake for this meeting, then so do you."

No. 5: Clorox.
I was going to use my old "not a product endorsement" disclaimer here, but that would be a lie. Since the COVID-related shortage of all Clorox products, which I think is finally over, I have learned that I love Clorox so much that I want to marry it. Especially the lemon-scented wipes. I never ran out (another thing to be thankful for), but for a while there I was worried. I now have four containers of Clorox wipes in my kitchen cabinet. 

Actual photo of my kitchen cupboard. (Go ahead and laugh. I don't care.)

No. 6: Uh-oh . . . I can't think of anything else. To better times in 2021!

Oh, wait -- here are three more things I'm thankful for, even though they have nothing to do with COVID:

No. 6: Our new podcast, Work & Play. If you haven't subscribed or tuned in to Work & Play, hosted by Susan Bassford Wilson and Cherie Silberman, please do so. Their latest show is on workplace holiday parties. (Are we allowed to have those this year? If so, may I please crash one?)

No. 7: My firm. I am very thankful for my firm, and for its longstanding support of this blog. I'd like to give special thanks to Neil Wasser and Don Propheteand to my office head, Kristine Sims; to our excellent Marketing team led by Tori Whitaker, along with Kian ChengStephanie Hendricks, Christine Johnakin, and Rebecca Pugh; and to my awesome assistant, Tina Tucker. I'd also like to thank all of the attorneys who have contributed posts to this blog in 2020 (in alphabetical order): Tommy Eden, Sarah Phaff, Bill Principe, David Smith, Stephen Stecker, and Susan Bassford Wilson. And even though not blog-related, a huge thank-you to Leigh Tyson, the lovely and talented host of ConstangyTV's Close-Up on Workplace Law, who has singlehandedly put out two great shows as writer-producer-director-technical "crew" while sheltering in place this year. I'm also grateful for the attorneys who've committed their time and expertise to being Executive Editors of our legal bulletins -- Will Krasnow (immigration), David Phippen (labor) -- and to Susan Bassford Wilson for agreeing this year to become co-Editor in Chief with me. I'm also thankful for my fellow Constangy blog editors Cara Crotty (Affirmative Action Alert) and Carolyn Sieve (California Snapshot).

No. 8: My family (that grandson of mine is even better than Clorox!), my friends, my clients, and you, dear readers! Thank you all for your support, and I hope you have a very safe and happy Thanksgiving!


Still Image Credits: From flickr, Creative Commons license, man and his computer and dog by Andrew Bardwell, coronavirus "bullets" by Yuri Samoilov, cornucopia "bullets" by morano.vincent. Photo of kitchen Clorox stash by me.

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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