Earlier today the United States Supreme Court released a unanimous opinion in Groff v. DeJoy, Postmaster General, No. 22-174, clarifying the “undue burden” standard under applicable to religious accommodations under Title VII after nearly 50 years. Specifically, the Court held that Title VII requires an employer who denies a religious accommodation to show that
On December 7, 2021, a federal court in Georgia issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting the federal government from enforcing Executive Order 14042 – the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors. The federal contractor mandate applies to roughly one-quarter of the U.S. workforce and affects companies that do business with the federal government.
The States of Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia, various state agencies and certain other employers brought the action alleging that President Biden’s Executive Order exceeded his authority and requesting a preliminary injunction.
Judge R. Stan Baker agreed, stating that he was “unconvinced” that the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act authorized President Biden to direct the type of broad and unprecedented administrative actions contained in Executive Order 14042, adding that such action likely requires Congressional authorization. The court found that the plaintiffs had a likelihood of proving that Executive Order 14042 went beyond mere administration and management of procurement and contracting, and did not fall within the authority actually granted to the President by Congress. Instead, the Court reasoned, Executive Order 14042 works as a “regulation of public health. Judge Baker also rejected the government’s argument that enjoining Executive Order 14042 would permit the continued spread of COVID-19, finding that it would merely maintain the status quo.
Continue Reading Federal contractor vaccine mandate temporarily halted nationwide
For more than a year, many American workers have been working from home. Now, as restrictions are lifting across the country, employers are beginning to call employees back to the office. Employers may see an uptick in requests to work remotely, particularly given the popularity of working from home. In responding to such requests, employers must be mindful of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar state laws.
Large portions of the American workforce report that they enjoy working from home, and the pandemic has shown telework is possible.
A recent study conducted by Harvard Business School Online reveals that some employees are not interested in returning to the office. The survey showed that 81 percent of respondents either don’t want to go back to the office, or would prefer a hybrid schedule (allowing them to work from home 2-3 days a week) going forward. One in three employees report that they felt that their overall performance and quality of their work had improved in the remote work environment, and the same percentage indicated that they are able to focus more at home than they are in the office.Continue Reading Navigating post-pandemic telework requests
As addressed in Part 1 of this article, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) issued new orders on November 17, 2020 targeted at mitigating the recent surge of COVID-19 cases within the Commonwealth in recent weeks. Part 1 focused on the new face covering requirements now imposed on all Pennsylvanians. This article focuses on new the requirements for testing and quarantine following out-of-state travel established by the DOH and the impact that the new travel requirements might have on Pennsylvania employers.
New out-of-state travel requirements
The Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health for Mitigation Relating to Travel, mandates that individuals traveling into the Commonwealth from any other state – regardless of whether the individual resides in another state and is travelling to Pennsylvania or the individual is a Pennsylvania resident returning from out-of-state travel – produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test from a specimen collected within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth. Individuals who do not have a negative COVID-19 test are required to quarantine for 14 days, and may only leave their homes to receive testing or other necessary medical services. Failure to comply with the order may result in the imposition of a fine ranging from $25.00 to $300.00. These newly instituted requirements take effect on Friday, November 20, 2020.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania employers and employees receive the gift of new post-travel testing/quarantine requirements for the holiday season (Part II)
Like many U.S. states, Pennsylvania has experienced a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. On November 17, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health took aggressive steps targeted at mitigating spread of the virus within the Commonwealth by issuing new orders that impose stricter face mask requirements and introduce new requirements for testing and quarantine following out-of-state travel. For more information on the newly implemented travel requirements and how employers may be impacted, see Part II of this article, available here.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania employers and employees receive the gift of new face covering requirements for the holiday season (Part I)
Last week, the Pittsburgh City Council and the Allegheny County Council unanimously voted to ban discrimination on the basis of race-based hairstyles by passing the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act (known as the CROWN Act).
The CROWN Acts amend provisions of the City and County Codes addressing employment, housing, real…
On July 20, 2019, Pennsylvania expanded its list of 17 “serious medical conditions” that qualify for medical marijuana usage under the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act (MMA) to now include anxiety and Tourette Syndrome. Previously, the MMA limited access to designated ailments like cancer, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and inflammatory bowel disease, and terminal illnesses …
Last week, the Pittsburgh City Council passed the Paid Sick Days Act (the Act), which Mayor Bill Peduto is projected to sign into law shortly. The Act is expected to become effective 90 days after the mayor signs it and the city has published all notices, regulations and other associated materials required by law.