Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) COVID vaccine or test mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees. Thereafter, the Biden Administration officially withdrew the mandate as an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) but left open the possibility of a permanent standard that would include some or all elements of the ETS. This now leaves many employers wondering what to do. Should they continue with their plans to implement mandatory vaccinations? Should they provide an option for weekly ... Read More
On Jan. 13, the U.S. Supreme Court issued rulings that impact two important aspects of the Biden Administration’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
OSHA ETS for Employers with 100 or More Employees:
Employers with 100 or more employees have been in limbo, trying to determine if they will be required to track vaccination and/or weekly testing for their employees since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on Nov. 5, 2021. Not long after the ETS was issued, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a stay on the ... Read More
On Dec. 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for employers with 100 or more employees.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had previously affirmed a stay on implementation or enforcement of the ETS. The legal challenges to the ETS were consolidated in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals through the multidistrict litigation process.
Now that the Sixth Circuit has lifted the stay, OSHA has indicated that it will give covered employers until ... Read More
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for employers with 100+ employees. The new standard focuses on protecting currently unvaccinated workers – those who have a higher risk of severe health outcomes from COVID-19 and are more likely to contract and transmit COVID-19 in the workplace than vaccinated workers.
Employers subject to the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS should review the new standard with their attorney and immediately begin ... Read More
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for the healthcare industry. The new standard focuses on protecting healthcare workers who face the greatest coronavirus risks – those working in healthcare settings where suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients are treated.
Employers subject to the ETS should review the new standard and immediately begin taking steps to comply.
Who Must Comply?
The healthcare ETS applies to settings where any employee provides healthcare ... Read More
Today, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for the healthcare industry. This ETS mandates the development and implementation of a COVID-19 plan in workplaces where employees provide healthcare services or healthcare support services. It also sets out detailed requirements in areas such as patient screening and management, personal protective equipment (PPE), physical distancing, physical barriers, cleaning and disinfection, ventilation, health screening ... Read More
There is no clear guidance on whether employers may treat vaccinated and unvaccinated employees differently. Employers considering changes to their policies that would treat employees differently based on vaccination status, should discuss their particular circumstances with legal counsel. Consulting legal counsel is also important because each work environment may have different factors and unique circumstances to consider when evaluating how to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for employees. Some of the issues to be considered in an employer’s analysis include ... Read More
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. The Act, which builds in part on certain COVID-19 relief measures enacted in 2020, contains several items that could impact employers’ COVID-related leave policies.
In particular, though employers are still not required to continue offering leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) or the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) passed in 2020, employers that elect to do so through September 2021 are eligible for tax credits to cover much of the cost.
The American ... Read More
The one constant in the COVID-19 pandemic is that the guidance keeps changing. We have highlighted it before and we’ll do it again: Part of every employer’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plan needs to include the designation of someone in the company who will periodically review the website for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other key organizations such as the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services for changes to their guidance on COVID-19 precautions.
On Monday, the CDC changed key elements in its recommendation for determining when a ... Read More
Many businesses are anxious to resume operations after closing or scaling back because of COVID-19. However, trends in North Carolina COVID-19 diagnoses and hospitalizations show that the pandemic is still very much an issue. The question becomes: what is the best way to balance these competing concerns?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued an updated “Guidance on Returning to Work” to assist employers and workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is a supplement to OSHA’s prior “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” ... Read More
As doors are re-opening and employees are returning to work, businesses should take measures to protect themselves—including their employees, customers, finances, and brand—as much as possible. Outlined below are a few measures businesses can take now to avoid pitfalls from COVID-19.
What steps should I be taking to protect my business going forward?
Measures to take may include:
- Familiarize yourself with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). If you employ 500 or fewer individuals, your employees are likely covered by the FFCRA. The FFCRA provides for ...
Three agencies have provided updated guidance for employers on essential COVID-19 issues:
- The Department of Labor (DOL) addressed how new leave laws apply to these situations:
- Domestic workers;
- Those working through temporary agencies;
- Employees who previously were working from home without the need for leave, but now need leave to care for children;
- Handling employees absent for symptoms of COVID-19; and
- Leave to care for children as schools close for the summer rather than due to COVID-19.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarified how to handle the return of ...
As shelter-in-place orders begin to lift around the country and here in North Carolina, it is time for companies to shift from disaster response—making it through the immediate needs of the COVID-19 crisis and related shutdown—to plans for long-term business operations in the new normal.
Although the details remain murky in many ways, there are steps that business can take now to ensure their best chances at viability in a changed social and economic environment. Business owners will need to keep close tabs on the latest legal requirements and analyze, with the help of counsel and ... Read More
Brooks Pierce has been honored to have so many North Carolina employers rely on us for up-to-date guidance on personnel matters stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to produce, update, and post alerts for employers on our COVID-19 Response Resource Center as promptly as possible. Employers can also expect timely webinars and roundtables from us in the coming weeks, as well as the ability to review past webinars by viewing the recordings on our website.
The following checklist is our latest tool offered to North Carolina employers. It condenses information from ... Read More
The crisis has not passed, but many employers are reaching out to us about returning their employees to work. In some cases, it’s because employers have received PPP funds and want to make sure they are appropriately managing employee payroll, including headcount, to take advantage of loan forgiveness. In others, employers are preparing for Governor Cooper’s phased approach to lifting restrictions, monitoring North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends.
Whatever the situation, we’ve identified several important things employers should be thinking about as they return ... Read More
- Discrimination Against Caregivers: New Guidance from the EEOC
- Pick Your Backlash: Deciding on a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Means Backlash for Employers, Regardless of the Policy They Implement
- Vaccine or Test For Large Employers on Hold Again, But Medicare and Medicaid Facilities Must Ensure Covered Staff Are Vaccinated
- Mandatory Vaccination or Testing Is Back: Updates on OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard for Private Employers with 100 or more Employees
- OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard for Private Employers with more than 100 Employees
- President Biden’s “Path out of the Pandemic” Imposes New Vaccination Requirements
- Updated CDC Masking Guidance; North Carolina Employers Strongly Encouraged to Implement COVID-19 Vaccination, Testing, and Mask Policies
- OSHA’s New Emergency Temporary Standard to Protect Healthcare Workers
- North Carolina Governor Extends Certain COVID-19 Measures
- New from OSHA on COVID-19: A COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare and Revised Guidance for All Other Employers