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

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

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its COVID-19 guidance with a new section pertaining to vaccinations. The updated release—“What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws”—discusses how employers who require vaccinations should respond to an employee who is unable or unwilling to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief. 
Continue Reading EEOC Provides Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted on November 19 to implement a stringent new standard for employers to follow when implementing COVID-19 protections in the state.  The state’s rulemaking agency for workplace safety voted unanimously to pass the “Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations,” which is expected to go into effect within 10 days (assuming the State’s Office of Administrative Law adopts Cal/OSHA’s regulation).
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Votes to Implement Strict COVID-19 Workplace Protections for California Workers