The Supreme Court has granted a temporary stay of the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), otherwise known as the OSHA vaccine mandate. The Court ruled that OSHA had exceeded the authority delegated to it by Congress under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. In making this finding, the Court held that OSHA only has the authority to issue workplace safety standards, not broad health measures. The concurring opinion focused upon the “major questions doctrine,” which requires Congress to speak clearly when delegating authority of “vast economic and political significance” to an administrative agency.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Weighs In On Vaccination Mandate

On December 27, 2021, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their isolation and quarantine recommendations for the general public, including more limited time periods for quarantine and isolation periods.  On December 30, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updated guidance to conform to the new CDC guidelines but added additional requirements, including testing to exit isolation or quarantine after the fifth day (which the CDC now acknowledges is the “best approach” but does not require as part of its formal guidance).  Notably, the new guidance also introduces a distinction between boosted and non-boosted individuals for the first time. 
Continue Reading California Adopts New CDC Guidance Regarding Quarantine and Isolation Periods With Its Own Twists

On August 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) updated its guidance for employers in an effort to further protect workers from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (“COVID”).  This update (the “Guidance”) reflects recent COVID developments, including the increased spread of the Delta variant and the July 27, 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (“CDC”) updated guidance, and is intended to help employers protect workers who are:  unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, otherwise at-risk, and/or fully vaccinated but located in areas of substantial or high community transmission.
Continue Reading The U.S. Department of Labor Updates its Workplace COVID-19 Guidance to Protect Unvaccinated and Other At-Risk Workers

The New York State Department of Labor released its anticipated airborne infectious disease standard and sample plan on July 6.  Employers have until August 5, 2021 to adopt or create a plan to comply with the standard.
Continue Reading New York Releases HERO Act Standard, Sample Plan: What Employers Need to Know

On June 10, 2021, fifteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has issued its first ‘emergency temporary standard’ (“ETS”) governing the impact of COVID-19 on health care workers.

The ETS broadly requires healthcare employers to conduct an internal safety assessment and develop a safety plan, which must be in writing for all employers with more than 10 employees. The ETS further delineates requirements relating to patient screening and management, health precautions, masks and PPE,  aerosol-generating procedures, physical distancing, physical barriers, cleaning and disinfection, ventilation, health screening, vaccination, employee training, anti-retaliation, record-keeping, reporting occurrences of COVID-19 transmission, and paying employees for periods of quarantine. Consistent with recent CDC guidance, the ETS also contains carve outs on employee mask-wearing requirements where employees are all vaccinated or where employees are given reasonable accommodations exempting them from mask-wearing and/or vaccination requirements.
Continue Reading OSHA’s New Safety Rule: Health Care Workers and Beyond

While California inches closer to the state’s June 15 target to lift restrictions and reopen the economy, California employers will have to wait for guidance from CalOSHA on the standards that will govern COVID-19 workplace safety.  For now, CalOSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards released in November 2020 will remain in place and employers will need to continue to be mindful of these more restrictive guidelines, despite loosening of other state restrictions.
Continue Reading CalOSHA Withdraws Recently Proposed Revisions to its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS)

On March 22, 2021, Marty Walsh, the two-term Boston mayor, was confirmed as the Labor Secretary by the United States Senate in a 68-29 vote.  He becomes the first union leader to run the Department of Labor in over four decades. Workplace safety will be one area that we can expect to undergo significant change under Walsh. 
Continue Reading DOL and OSHA: Agency Updates

With little forewarning to the regulated community, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health passed a sweeping new standard requiring employers in the state to implement prescribed COVID-19 protections. Now, employers’ groups are fighting back.
Continue Reading Employers’ Groups Bring Fight Against Cal/OSHA COVID-19 ETS to Court