Archives: COVID-19/Novel coronavirus

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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

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 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

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

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

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
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