On Thursday, November 4, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an emergency temporary standard (ETS) making good on President Biden’s pledge to require private employers with 100 or more employees to implement vaccination-or-testing mandates for their employees. Continue Reading OSHA Publishes Emergency Temporary Standard Requiring Vaccine-or-Testing for Employers With 100+ Employees

On Monday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID guidance, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” to address religious objections to employer vaccine mandates. The updated guidance provides employers with much-needed advice on navigating the religious accommodation process for employees claiming religious objections to the vaccine, including how to establish the accommodation process, how to assess an employee’s religious objections, and how to determine which accommodations, if any, are required to comply with Title VII. This update is useful for all employers with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and particularly so for those covered by the Biden Administration’s recently announced large employer and federal contractor vaccination rules. Continue Reading EEOC Updates COVID Guidance to Help Employers Address Religious Accommodations for Vaccine Requirements

On September 9, the White House announced Executive Order 14042, which requires covered federal contracts to include a clause mandating compliance with guidance that had yet to be issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force). On Friday, the Task Force released its much-anticipated guidance. Continue Reading Task Force Guidance Issued for Federal Contractor Vaccination Mandate

Yesterday, the White House announced numerous new measures to combat the pandemic and the contagious Delta variant that impact employers. One key change is a new regulation to be issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), that will require companies with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforces are either fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19 at least once a week. President Biden also announced two new Executive Orders creating vaccine mandates for federal employees and employees of federal government contractors. Continue Reading White House Announces Vaccination Mandate or Weekly Testing for Large Employers, and Vaccination Mandate for Federal Employees and Contractors

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a California provision requiring agricultural employers to allow unionizers onto their property violated the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments – a clear win for employers. The named plaintiff in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid is a strawberry grower that employs more than 400 seasonal and 100 full-time workers. In October 2015, the United Farm Workers entered Cedar Point’s property and, using bullhorns, encouraged workers to join the organizers in a protest. Continue Reading And Stay Out! Supreme Court Rules Golden State Regulation Giving Unions Access to Private Farmland Is Unconstitutional Taking

The Illinois General Assembly recently passed Senate Bill 672 (“SB 672” or the “Bill”), which codifies Illinois common law standards for enforceability for covenants not to compete or solicit and imposes several additional statutory limitations on employers’ ability to enter into and enforce post-employment restrictive covenants. The Bill, which is expected to be signed into law by the end of the year, follows a nationwide trend among Democratic state legislatures enacting laws designed to limit the use or utility of various restrictive covenants in the employment setting. Continue Reading Restricting the Restrictions: New Illinois Legislation Would Limit Employer Use of Non-Competition and Similar Restrictive Covenants

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (the Act) requires employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. Late last week, the agency responsible for administering the Act, the U. S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), issued a long-awaited emergency temporary standard (the Emergency Rule) effective for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. In what is being regarded as a victory for the business community, the Emergency Rule is limited in its scope and applies only to employers of workers who provide direct healthcare services or healthcare support services. In addition, retail pharmacies and non-hospital ambulatory care providers are excluded from coverage. Continue Reading OSHA Issues COVID-Related Emergency Rule and Recommendations

On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance on employer vaccination policies in the form of additional Q&As. Some of the Q&As relating to mandatory vaccination policies, accommodation, and confidentiality supplement and clarify EEOC guidance that was originally issued on these topics on December 16, 2020. Other Q&As are new as of May 28, 2021, including those relating to employer-provided incentives for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Guidance addresses COVID vaccine issues raised under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and Title VII (including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act). The EEOC expressly states that it is “beyond the EEOC’s jurisdiction” to discuss the legal implications of Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) by the FDA, and whether or how that may affect employer-mandated vaccine policies. The EEOC directs readers to the FDA’s EUA page for more information about the legal implications of the FDA’s EUA for vaccines.

Key provisions of the Guidance are summarized below. All reference to vaccines or vaccinations in this publication refer to the COVID-19 vaccine. Continue Reading EEOC Updates Vaccine Guidance: Accommodation, Confidentiality, Employer Incentives, and More

On May 5, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) withdrew a Trump-era final rule that would have made it easier for employers to designate workers as independent contractors rather than employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The rule, titled “Independent Contractor Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” was published on January 7, 2021, at the tail end of the Trump administration, and was scheduled to take effect on March 8.

Continue Reading What’s Old is New (For Now): DOL Rescinds Trump-Era Worker Classification Rulemaking, Eyes Adoption of ABC Standard

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) was signed into law on March 11, 2021. One of the significant COVID-19 relief provisions in the bill includes a 100 percent COBRA premium subsidy so eligible individuals can continue getting health insurance for up to six months. The subsidy is available beginning April 1, 2021, and ends September 30, 2021 (the “Free COBRA Period”). Continue Reading New COVID-19 Relief Package Provides Free COBRA Premiums Starting April 1: What Employers and Employees Need to Know