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OSHA issued its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in early November. A series of challenges quickly ensued, resulting in a stay of the ETS and a consolidation of the cases before the Sixth Circuit. On December 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit lifted the stay. OSHA has indicated that it will delay enforcement of the ETS deadlines

On December 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved the stay previously placed on OSHA’s so-called “vaccinate or test” Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Consequently, covered employers with 100 or more employees will now be required to comply with the ETS under the newly announced deadlines of January 10, 2022 for all non-testing requirements

In conjunction with New York City’s recent employer vaccine mandate, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) issued enforcement guidance on the equitable implementation of COVID-19 vaccine requirements for employees, independent contractors, and interns.

Non-discriminatory application of vaccine policies

In its guidance, the NYCCHR underscored that employers must ensure their policies and practices treat all employees evenly, regardless of protected class status, when implementing vaccine requirements. Specifically, the guidance advises that employers should not (i) scrutinize proof of vaccination more closely when it is provided by employees of a particular race, national origin, or religion based on the perception that people in those groups are less likely to be vaccinated; (ii) require proof of vaccination only for older employees or employees with disabilities based on the belief that COVID-19 is more dangerous for them; or (iii) refuse to accept certain types of valid proof of vaccination, such as official immunization records from other countries or photographs of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination cards.

The guidance reiterates that employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees because they requested an accommodation, opposed discrimination, or filed or assisted with a claim under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

Continue Reading NYC guidance addresses intersection of vaccine policies and workplace laws

As we previously reported, effective December 27, 2021, all private sector employers in New York City will be required to implement a mandatory vaccination policy for their workers. Today, guidance was issued clarifying this new mandate and related employer obligations. We have summarized what you need to know about this guidance below.

Clarification on the vaccination requirement

By December 27, employers must require all workers to provide proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (For the purposes of this mandate, a “worker” is a full- or part-time staff member, employer, employee, intern, volunteer, or contractor of a covered entity.) Employers will be required to verify and maintain a record of each worker’s proof of vaccination. In addition, by December 27, employers must complete an affirmation of compliance with this requirement and post it in a public place.

By February 10, 2022, employers must require that all workers provide proof that they have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (for Pfizer or Moderna vaccines). If such proof is not provided, the worker must be excluded from the workplace until they can provide such proof, unless an exception applies (as detailed below).

In addition, the guidance confirms the following critical points:

  • The mandate pertains to New York City workplaces and a worker’s residence is not relevant to its applicability.
  • Employers are not required to fire or discipline workers who refuse to comply with this mandate. Rather, the guidance indicates that “[a]s long as you keep the worker out of the workplace, it is your decision whether to discipline or fire such worker, or if the worker can contribute to your business while working remotely.”
  • Employers with multiple business locations must post the affirmation of compliance in a conspicuous location in each business location. However, vaccination and reasonable accommodation records may be stored in one central location, provided that each business location has contact information available to offer to City inspectors to put them in touch with the business representative who is centrally storing such records for the business.
  • Employers may adopt a vaccination policy that is stricter than the requirements of the New York City order, as long as it is not discriminatory or otherwise unlawful.
  • Coworking spaces must comply with this mandate vis-à-vis their renters.


Continue Reading Everything you need to know about NYC’s employer vaccine mandate

As we previously reported, effective today, masks must be worn in New York State in “all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.” On Friday, December 10, 2021, the State issued guidance on the measure, clarifying the following key points:

  • Definition of indoor public placeAn indoor public place

Just a short while ago, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced that, effective December 13, 2021, masks will be required to be worn in “all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.” This means that, for any business that does not have a proof of vaccination requirement in place, all

Earlier today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, effective December 27, 2021 and as part of an expansion of the city’s “Key to NYC” program, all private-sector employers in the Big Apple will be required to adopt a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for their employees. The expanded program will also include additional

Monitoring employee communications – particularly electronic communications – is standard practice for most U.S. employers. Beginning in May 2022, however, employers in New York state who engage in electronic monitoring of employee communications will be required to make certain disclosures to their workers.

Pre-employment written notice for new hires

More particularly, on November 8, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law state Senate Bill S2628 requiring that all Empire State employers – regardless of size or location within the state – provide prior written notice to newly hired employees if they intend to monitor or otherwise intercept employee emails, text messages, telephone conversations, Internet access, or usage of an electronic device or system. The notice must be provided in writing, in an electronic record, or in another electronic form, and must be acknowledged by each employee either in writing or electronically.

Notably, notice only needs to be provided “upon hiring.” This means that notices only need to be given to employees hired on or after May 7, 2022 – the law’s effective date – but not to existing employees. In addition to this notice, employers must post a notice of electronic monitoring in a conspicuous location within the workplace that is readily available for viewing by all employees who will be subject to the monitoring.
Continue Reading New York becomes latest state to legislate workplace privacy protections

Next up in the series, Reed Smith lawyers continue the discussion regarding the OSHA ETS that requires companies in the U.S. with 100 or more employees to implement either a mandatory vaccination policy or a policy that allows employees to choose between vaccination or COVID-19 testing. Specifically, the chat focuses on the current status of

Reed Smith’s Labor & Employment group is proud to announce the launch of our video chat series, Employment Law Watch: Real Time. The series will focus on new developments and hot topics that employers around the world need to know about. Tune in for regular 10 to 15 minute chats led by the firm’s labor