The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has released an opinion (originally prepared on July 6, 2021 for the Deputy Counsel to the President) definitively stating that the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) statute, under which current COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “does not prohibit entities from imposing vaccination requirements” including “to return to work or be hired into a new job.” Although good news for employers wishing to impose such mandates (particularly in light of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s approval of such mandates under federal anti-discrimination laws, as discussed in our May 28, 2021 E-lert), they should keep in mind that such guidance is not necessarily determinative. And they should also consider any state vaccine restrictions.

Continue Reading U.S. DOJ States that Emergency Use Authorization Does Not Preclude Vaccine Mandates

On July 9, 2021, President Biden signed a wide-ranging Executive Order intended to promote competition in the American economy. The E.O. contains 72 initiatives across the whole of government, several of which have a direct employment impact – specifically on non-compete agreements, occupational licensing requirements, and wage-sharing activities between employers.

Continue Reading President Biden Issues Challenging Executive Order Seeking to Ban or Limit Non-Competes, Occupational Licensing Requirements, and Wage-Sharing

As healthcare employers should know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) (extensively discussed in our June 15, 2021 blog post), which became effective on June 21, 2021 . The ETS imposes significant responsibilities and obligations on those employers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it also teased that OSHA was providing significant resources (including a model plan) to assist with compliance, although most of those resources were nowhere to be found on the OSHA website – until now!

Continue Reading Healthcare Employers Rejoice! OSHA Provides New Compliance Resources (Model Plan!) for Its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

Coining a new acronym (which we are not sure how to pronounce), the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced new resources regarding LGBTQ+ workplace rights on June 14, 2021 – the anniversary of the landmark Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga. decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII’s prohibition on “sex discrimination” in employment encompasses sexual orientation and transgender status.

Continue Reading SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) Discrimination? The EEOC Offers Guidance

In conjunction with updating its COVID-19 guidance for employers generally (discussed in a prior E-lert), on June 10, 2021, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a long-awaited COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) – but limited its coverage only to employers providing healthcare services or healthcare support services. The ETS imposes significant responsibilities and obligations on those employers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic – much of which healthcare entities are already doing. But there are a few surprises as well.

Continue Reading OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare Employers Contains Some (Unpleasant) Surprises

On June 10, 2021, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued updated guidance for businesses on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation – taking into account the impact of vaccinations – along with a long-awaited Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) applicable only to healthcare (which is not discussed in this E-lert).

Continue Reading OSHA’s COVID-19 Updated Workplace Guidance – What Employers Need to Know

NOTE: This post has been updated for guidance from the Maryland DOL on paid leave under the Essential Workers Protection Act.

Workplace guidance on COVID-19 keeps shifting at the federal and state level, which poses a challenge for all employers. For Maryland businesses, we thought it might be helpful to summarize where we stand as of early June 2021.

Although Maryland remains in a state of emergency, at this time, the Governor has lifted many of the restrictions that impact the private workplace, such as shutdown orders, most masking requirements, group limitations, travel, etc. This does not mean a return to normal, however, as federal guidance still applies, and more state guidance should be forthcoming shortly. In addition, local jurisdictions, such as Baltimore City, may still have restrictions – like masking while indoors – with which employers must comply.


Continue Reading UPDATED: Maryland Employers and Current COVID-19 Considerations: Workplace Safety Standards, Vaccinations, Masking, Paid Leave, and More

As the COVID-19 vaccine has become freely available, employers have struggled with workplace vaccination protocols in the context of compliance with anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and other EEO Laws resource to include guidance that answers many employer questions on this topic – including the use of incentives to encourage vaccination.

Continue Reading EEOC Provides Eagerly-Awaited Guidance to Employers on COVID-19 Vaccines (Including Incentives)

Well, we’re always playing catch-up with the changing agency guidance on COVID-19 – and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration just juked on its recording requirements for adverse effects to the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, employers will not be required to record such adverse reactions – at least through May 2022.

Continue Reading OSHA Changes Its Recording Requirements for Adverse Reactions to the COVID-19 Vaccine

Just over two weeks after it relaxed its protocols for fully-vaccinated individuals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now issued revised guidance essentially permitting those individuals to resume their pre-pandemic lifestyle, subject to any applicable and differing state and local mandates. Consistent with prior iterations of this guidance, the CDC asserts that “You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.” So what can employers do now? Well, we’ve now updated our last blog post on this topic (and then further updated to account for OSHA’s latest pronouncement).

Continue Reading UPDATED: Back to Normal for the Fully Vaccinated? What the CDC’s Latest Guidance Means for Employers