On December 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dissolved the stay order that prohibited enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The rule paves the way for OSHA to begin implementing its vaccine-or-testing standard. OSHA announced Friday evening that it will begin enforcing the majority of the ETS starting January 10, 2022, and begin enforcing the testing requirement that applies to unvaccinated workers starting February 9.

The ETS, which requires employers with 100 or more employees to implement a policy requiring employees be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or be subject to weekly testing and mask wearing standards, was originally issued on November 5, 2021, but was rendered unenforceable on November 6 pursuant to a nationwide stay order. Many business groups, unions, and others filed challenges to the ETS across most federal circuit courts, and a multi-circuit “lottery” was held to determine which court would hear the combined challenges. The Sixth Circuit “won” the multi-circuit lottery and a three-judge panel decided the case.
Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Re-Activates OSHA’s Private Employer Vaccinate-or-Test Rule; New Enforcement Deadlines Set

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 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 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

In one of the latest developments in the Biden administration’s recent initiatives to strengthen environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts in the United States, the U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced last week that it would not enforce a final rule requiring fiduciaries subject to ERISA to evaluate investment opportunities based upon financial performance factors, rather than ESG metrics. The DOL stated that the final rule “created a perception that fiduciaries are at risk if they include any environmental, social and governance factors in the financial evaluation of plan investments.”
Continue Reading DOL Will Not Enforce ESG-Related Final Rule