Archives: COVID-19/Novel coronavirus

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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

FAQs on US employee privacy issues related to the COVID-19 vaccine

In addition to the issue of mandated COVID-19 vaccine policies, employers must also manage the related privacy risks. Below are some of the frequently asked questions surrounding the issues of employee privacy as it relates to the COVID-19 vaccine. We also have a downloadable version of our privacy FAQs. Question: Does it matter what type … Continue Reading

BREAKING: New York HERO Act prevention plans must be implemented following the state’s designation of COVID-19 as an “airborne infectious disease”

As we have previously reported, several months ago, New York enacted the HERO Act, a sweeping overhaul of the state’s workplace health and safety laws.  On September 6, 2021, the New York State Commissioner of Health designated COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act. As such, all New York employers are now … Continue Reading

As of August 2021, 19 states enact COVID-19 related liability shields

On July 15, 2021, we released an article discussing the Texas liability shield for businesses against COVID-19 related claims.  Texas, however, is not the only state to enact such a shield. We have drafted a brief summary of the 19 states that have enacted COVID-19 liability shields to date.  For simplicity, we have summarized the … Continue Reading

To mandate or not? FAQs on mandatory vaccine programs for employers

Late last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) issued the first approvals for a COVID-19 vaccine. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) issued guidance on the interplay between federal anti-discrimination law and vaccine-related issues, including the permissibility of mandatory employer vaccination policies. The below FAQs address some of … Continue Reading

Dallas County issues new mask mandate to address increased transmission levels of COVID-19

On August 11, 2021, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued an order requiring masks in Dallas County businesses, schools, and county buildings. Judge Jenkins’ order comes on the heels of a Dallas County state court issuing a temporary restraining order of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s July 29, 2021 order barring mask mandates by local governmental … Continue Reading

ADA likely to protect COVID long-haulers, Biden says

On July 26, 2021, President Biden announced that individuals with long COVID (referred to as COVID long-haulers) could be protected under several federal civil rights laws, including the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). While some individuals fully recover from COVID, others experience debilitating symptoms that last long after first developing COVID-19 (long COVID), including extreme … Continue Reading

CDC releases new guidance for fully vaccinated individuals as COVID-19 rates continue to climb nationwide

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 guidance. The revised guidance, which has significant implications in the employment context, recommends that fully-vaccinated individuals wear masks in “public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.” The guidance further recommends that vaccinated persons be tested after a … Continue Reading

Texas employers now shielded from most COVID-19 liability

Texas recently enacted the Pandemic Liability Protection Act (PLPA) joining a number of other states that have passed statutory liability protections for businesses against claims arising during a pandemic including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The new law, which has been signed into effect by Governor Abbott, grants retroactive liability protections for both small and large … Continue Reading

Many NJ COVID-related Executive Orders set to expire July 4

On June 4, 2021, the New Jersey legislature passed legislation (A5820/S3866) enabling the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in place since March 9, 2020. Under the legislation, the majority of New Jersey’s COVID-19 related Executive Orders will lapse on July 4, 2021. The legislation specifically keeps fourteen Executive Orders in place until January 1, 2022 (which … Continue Reading

In first-of-its-kind decision, federal court rules that mandatory workplace COVID-19 vaccine policies are lawful

As states and localities lift COVID-19 restrictions, the business community continues to grapple with the interplay between the COVID-19 vaccine and workplace operations. To address this, some U.S. employers have elected to adopt mandatory vaccination policies. These policies, in essence, require that, subject to exceptions for sincerely-held religious beliefs and disabilities, all employees receive the … Continue Reading

Sonoma County passes emergency paid sick leave ordinance

Background Sonoma County (the County) initially enacted Ordinance No. 6320 on August 18, 2020 to provide COVID-19 related paid sick leave to employees not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) in the unincorporated areas of the County. Ordinance No. 6320 expired on December 31, 2020, however, because its expiration date was … Continue Reading

New York updates COVID-19 guidelines for office-based workplaces

Last summer, as New York began the process of non-essential business reopenings, the State issued a series of industry-specific workplace health and safety guidelines with which all businesses were and have continued to be required to adhere.  On the heels of recent CDC guidance loosening workplace-related restrictions for vaccinated employees, New York has updated these … Continue Reading

New York State Department of Labor confirms that New York State paid sick leave applies to COVID-19 vaccine recovery time

As we previously reported, over the past year, New York State has adopted a statewide sick leave law, paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination, and paid quarantine leave.  Last week, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) issued guidance on the use of New York State Sick Leave (NYSSL) as it pertains to employees receiving … Continue Reading

Is that a smile that I see? Pennsylvania businesses adjust reopening plans as the statewide mask mandate is scheduled to be lifted

On May 27, 2021, Pennsylvania Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam announced at a press conference that Pennsylvania’s statewide masking order is slated to be lifted in its entirety effective June 28, 2021. This announcement comes on the heels of the Wolf Administration’s May 4, 2021 announcement that all COVID mitigation orders in Pennsylvania would be … Continue Reading

New Jersey expands COVID changes to include employers not open to the public

As previously discussed, on May 24, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the lifting of COVID-19 mask requirements for certain employers, while continuing to require masks for others. In a point of frustration for many New Jersey employers, the requirements seemed to require masking and social distancing in an inconsistent manner, and imposed greater … Continue Reading

NJ employers ready to ditch the masks? Not so fast.

UPDATE: On May 26, 2021, Governor Murphy announced that he will be signing another Executive Order, effective Friday, June 4, 2021, that will: (1) Allow employers to implement policies for vaccinated employees to forego masking & social distancing; and (2) Rescind the requirement for mandatory remote work arrangements.  We will provide further guidance on these … Continue Reading

Reminder to New Jersey employers: NJ WARN changes on the horizon

Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, in January 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law sweeping changes to New Jersey’s mini-WARN act. The first-of-its-kind law in the nation required mandatory severance payments for employees who lost their jobs in a mass layoff. We discussed details of the changes here. The law was scheduled to take … Continue Reading

It pays to be vaccinated in Los Angeles County with new paid leave ordinance

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently enacted an urgency ordinance that requires employers to provide supplemental paid leave of up to four hours per injection for employees working in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. The Employee Paid Leave for Expanded Vaccine Access Ordinance (the Ordinance) is effective … Continue Reading

Cal-OSHA released proposed revisions to the COVID-19 prevention order

UPDATE on May 20, 2021: Since this article was published, Cal/OSHA has delayed the vote on the new proposed Emergency Temporary Standards. Please read details on the delayed vote on the Reed Smith EHS Law Insights Blog. As vaccination rates increase in California, the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) has released a … Continue Reading

BREAKING: New York adopts CDC’s loosened mask and social distancing guidance

As most of our readers likely know by now, on May 13, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that, “[i]f you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.” The CDC went on the state that “[f]ully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania businesses may need to finalize reopening plans

After more than a year of navigating the myriad orders impacting Pennsylvania businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wolf administration has announced that it will lift all mitigation orders, except masking, on May 31, 2021. Although the announcement was sparse on detail, its general nature suggests that the following mitigation mandates – which … Continue Reading
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