Archives: Employment & Labor (U.S.)

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Federal contractor vaccine mandate temporarily halted nationwide

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 … Continue Reading

BREAKING: NYC to mandate vaccinations for all private-sector workers

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 … Continue Reading

OSHA COVID-19 rule: Sixth Circuit case status update

On November 16, 2021, the Sixth Circuit was selected via a lottery to hear the consolidated challenges made against the recent OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (the ETS). As background, on November 5, 2021, OSHA published the ETS that would require most private employers with 100 or more employees to establish either (1) a mandatory vaccination … Continue Reading

Illinois limits conscience-based vaccine objections, while other states allow them

On November 8, 2021, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law an amendment to the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act (the Act) that will prevent employees from relying on the Act to avoid employer COVID-19 vaccine or testing mandates. The amendment goes into effect on June 1, 2022. Overview of the Illinois Health Care … Continue Reading

New York becomes latest state to legislate workplace privacy protections

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, … Continue Reading

Real Time Video Chat: The nitty, gritty details of the OSHA ETS (Part 2)

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 … Continue Reading

Real Time Video Chat: The basics of the OSHA ETS on vaccination and testing requirements (Part 1)

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 … Continue Reading

Complying with OSHA’s ETS? Don’t forget about your duty to bargain, says NLRB

Since its publication on November 5, 2021, employers have been reviewing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) 490-page Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and taking steps to create and update their employment policies to comply with it. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) has added another item to the to-do lists of … Continue Reading

Employers subject to OSHA ETS must be mindful of OSH Act whistleblower protections

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act or the Act), employees who raise concerns regarding safety or health in the workplace are protected against retaliation from their employer. With the publication of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) emergency temporary standard (ETS), employers should be mindful that the Act’s whistleblower protections extend … Continue Reading

New York enacts sweeping expansion of state’s whistleblower law

Although New York has had an employment-related whistleblower statute for decades, many employers may not have been aware of it. That is because the statute itself – N.Y. Labor Law section 740 – has been fairly limited in its scope and application. Indeed, it has only protected employees who disclose employer activity that violates laws … Continue Reading

New York confirms that paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination may be used for booster shots

As we previously reported, earlier this year New York lawmakers passed a law requiring that all Empire State employers provide their employees with up to four hours of paid time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Shortly thereafter, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) published guidance on the measure, clarifying that: (i) the … Continue Reading

OSHA issues COVID-19 ETS for large private employers

Update – On November 6, 2021 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay of the ETS. On November 4, 2021, OSHA issued an unpublished version of its long-awaited Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) as to COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements covering most private employers with 100 or more employees. The ETS is scheduled … Continue Reading

California expands restrictions on non-disclosure provisions

On October 10, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom approved Senate Bill 331 which, effective January 1, 2022, significantly expands restrictions relating to non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in many settlement and separation agreements. First, Senate Bill 331 expands the existing prohibitions on non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in settlement agreements. Existing law, under section 1001 of the … Continue Reading

EEOC issues guidance on religious objections to COVID-19 vaccine mandates

As we discussed here, employers who have implemented mandatory vaccine policies – either by choice or by government mandate – have seen a significant uptick in religious accommodation requests. As a result, on October 25, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance regarding employers’ obligations under federal anti-discrimination law when an employee objects … Continue Reading

Texas executive order restricts mandatory vaccination policies for employers

Most Texas employers are likely already familiar with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-39 that prohibits state and local governments from requiring (1) individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, or (2) documentation proving vaccine status (that is, “vaccine passports”) as a condition to receive any service or enter any place. Building upon Executive Order … Continue Reading

California employment law legislative updates: What’s new in the Golden State

It’s that time of the year again! The deadline for California Governor Gavin Newsom to sign, approve without signing, or veto bills on his desk was October 10, 2021. Now that the dust has settled, we have compiled a comprehensive list of bills signed by the governor that will impact employers. We also highlight bills that … Continue Reading

New Jersey expands protections for older workers

On October 5, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (A681) amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to expand protections for the state’s older workers. While the NJLAD already prohibited age discrimination, it contained an exception permitting employers to decide not to hire or promote workers over 70 based on their age. The new … Continue Reading

Federal contractors and subcontractors receive guidance on President Biden’s vaccine mandate, including December 8, 2021 compliance date

On September 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued guidance for federal contractors and subcontractors concerning various safety protocols (the Guidance) as required by President Biden’s Path Out of the Pandemic and Executive Order 14042 (the Order). The stated purpose of the safeguards set forth in the Guidance are to decrease the spread … Continue Reading

Help! We have had a major influx in religious accommodation requests from our mandatory vaccine policy

Mandatory vaccine policies became even more of a scorching hot topic after the Biden Administration announced its Path Out of the Pandemic initiative (which we previously wrote about here). Some employees may have a legitimate medical reason for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., an allergy to vaccine components). But what about an employee claiming to … Continue Reading

Vaccination requirements have arrived for all federal and many state employees and health care workers

Recently, we posted about President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan, “Path out of the Pandemic” (the Memo). To recap: the Memo instructs OSHA to develop and issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to require all employers with 100+ employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 or to require them to submit to weekly testing … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit rules to lift preliminary injunction on California’s ban on mandatory employee arbitration agreements

A split Ninth Circuit panel vacated a 2020 preliminary injunction that blocked the enforcement of California’s A.B. 51, which prohibits mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts. If the majority decision stands, it will mean that California employers can no longer require their employees or new hires to sign arbitration agreements (among other types of waivers) … Continue Reading

Overview of several new workplace laws Texas employers should know about following the recent legislative sessions

The Texas Legislature has been quite busy over the most recent regular and two specially-called legislative sessions. It adjourned its second specially-called legislative session on September 2, 2021. Additional bills may be enacted into law if and when Governor Greg Abbott calls a third special session. So far, Governor Abbott has signed into law several … Continue Reading

It continues: Virginia updates its permanent COVID-19 workplace safety standard

On August 26, 2021, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI’s) Safety and Health Codes Board (Board) voted 8 to 5 to update and continue its COVID-19 permanent workplace safety standard. That vote came despite the fact that the bulk of COVID-19 business requirements issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ended on May 31 … Continue Reading

Biden announces major COVID-19 vaccine requirements for employers

On Thursday, September 9, 2021, President Biden issued a memorandum, “Path Out of the Pandemic” (the Memo), announcing a six-pronged national strategy to combat COVID-19. Among other things, President Biden has ordered the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop and issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to require all employers … Continue Reading
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