Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC has provided guidance to employers on how the federal anti-discrimination laws interact with COVID-19. This guidance, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and Other EEO Laws, was revised multiple times to account for changing circumstances and, now with the declared end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the EEOC has updated it once more. The revisions remind employers that, although the declared emergency may be over, COVID-19 still has a workplace impact that lingers on.Continue Reading Employers Beware: The End of the COVID-19 Emergency Does Not Mean The End of the EEOC’s COVID-19 Guidance
On May 1, 2023, President Biden issued a statement announcing the end of the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including those impacting federal contractors and CMS-covered healthcare employers, among others. But what impact does this have on employer vaccine mandates?Continue Reading Biden Administration Ends Federal Vaccine Mandates – What This Means for Employers
Well, Super Bowl Sunday is almost here. Unlike March Madness or the World Cup, which extends over weeks, it’s a single event. However, there’s a high level of interest in the game – last year, the NFL estimated that approximately two-thirds (!!!) of the U.S. population watched the Rams defeat the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. (And those of us on the East Coast stayed up late to do so). So, we can still expect the Super Bowl to have an impact in the workplace. And as we did for March Madness and the World Cup, we offer employers a little guidance on the Super Bowl at work. Continue Reading An Employer’s Guide to the Super Bowl
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has once again issued new guidance on August 11, 2022.
The CDC has revised its guidance several times since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. However, this time, some commentators see the latest revisions to the CDC’s updated guidance as signaling a strategic shift in the pandemic. Many also see it as reaching the new normal given the existence of vaccines, immunity, and treatments. As Greta Massetti, PhD, MPH, MMWR author stated, “[t]his guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.”Continue Reading Have we reached the new normal? The CDC’s Revised COVID-19 Rules
I know we’re all tired of COVID-19, and many of us are just pretending that life has returned to normal. But, just as the darned variants continue to evolve, so does the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s What You Should Know About COVID and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws guidance. This week, the EEOC updated a number of its Q&As, with some more targeted guidance for employers. Of particular interest (at least to this management-side attorney) are the newly-identified factors that employers should consider to establish a business-necessity for viral testing and those that are relevant to the direct threat assessment. Here’s our summary of most of the updated questions:
Continue Reading The EEOC Updates Its COVID Guidance for Employers – Testing, Accommodations, Direct Threat and More
In last month’s Top Tip, we noted that, even though the Vax-or-Test Emergency Temporary Standard is no more, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration can still hold employers liable for failing to protect workers from COVID-19 under existing safety standards. And now we remind you that state OSH agencies may also get involved, as the State of Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries (WDL&I) demonstrated this month when it imposed more than $285,000 in fines in connection with a COVID-19 outbreak at a multi-employer warehouse.
Continue Reading TOP TIP: Employers – State Safety and Health Departments Can Find COVID Violations Too!
Although COVID-19 is still very much present, we see improvement in the COVID-19 numbers, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now significantly eased their mask recommendations– although not entirely. Employers may wish to review their workplace masking requirements and other COVID-19 protocols in light of the new guidance, as well as the diminishing restrictions at the state and local level.
Continue Reading What the CDC’s Latest Mask Guidance Means for Employers
Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s attempt to issue a general workplace COVID standard was unsuccessful, employers should not assume that they are off the hook with regard to COVID preventative measures, as one company recently learned.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a press release to announce its citation of an auto-parts supplier for failing to protect its workers against COVID-19 in the workplace. This press release effectively warns other employers to comply with CDC and OSHA workplace guidance on COVID-19 prevention and remediation. Although there is no current COVID-specific standard, OSHA is making good on its commitment to use existing standards, including the General Duty clause, which requires employers to provide a work environment “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”Continue Reading Employers, Don’t Ignore COVID Just Because the Vax-or-Test ETS Is Gone
On January 25, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it was withdrawing its beleaguered Emergency Temporary Standard that required employers with 100+ employees to mandate employees to be vaccinated or subject to weekly COVID-19 testing. With this action, the vax-or-test mandate is no more – for now. However, healthcare employers should be aware that, in addition to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ vaccine mandate that was recently allowed to take effect by the Supreme Court, they will soon be subject to a permanent standard replacing the healthcare ETS that OSHA previously withdrew in December 2021.
Continue Reading OSHA Withdraws Vax-or-Test ETS, Plans to Issue Permanent Healthcare Standard
[UPDATE – The DOL seems to have removed the fact sheet from its website – but we captured a printout. We also note that the fact sheet referenced the Vax-or-Test ETS as if it were still in existence; perhaps that’s why it was pulled. Be warned that the printout is NOT official and, according to the DOL, should NOT be relied upon! In other words, you won’t be able to cite to the guidance, but we believe the general FLSA principles will likely not change in any future guidance.]
For much of the past year or so, employers have struggled with the question of whether they must pay employees for the time spent getting vaccinated against or tested for COVID-19, particularly during off-duty hours. The U.S. Department of Labor has finally issued guidance on this issue under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Continue Reading The DOL (Finally!) Provides Guidance on Compensability of COVID Testing/Vaccination Time!