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 12, 2021, a federal judge sitting in the Southern District of Texas held that Houston Methodist Hospital could require its employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, dismissing the lawsuit brought by 117 plaintiffs who protested the requirement.  See Bridges v. Houston Methodist Hospital, No. 4:21-cv-01774 (S.D. Tex. June 12, 2021).  This opinion marks the first federal ruling on the topic of vaccine mandates, serving as an early indication of how courts may respond to the legal considerations involved in employers’ attempts to have their employees return safely to the office amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Mandatory Vaccination Requirement

Beginning June 15, 2021, Governor Newsom moved forward with his plan to lift public health restrictions on businesses, including capacity limitations, physical distancing, and face coverings.  In response, Cal/OSHA also has issued new workplace standards for COVID-19 prevention
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Standards Board Votes to Adopt Revisions to COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS)

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

In response to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 685.  In short, AB 685 imposes uniform notice requirements on California employers dealing with a potential COVID-19 exposure or outbreak, requires employers to maintain records of COVID-19 notices, and empowers the Division of Occupational Health and Safety to close down worksites where the risk of exposure to COVID-19 constitutes an imminent hazard to employees.
Continue Reading California’s New COVID-19 Notice And Record-Keeping Requirements

Virginia became the first state in the country to pass a workplace safety standard specific to COVID-19 on July 15.  It includes hazard assessment, communication and training requirements, depending on the types of tasks employees perform at work.
Continue Reading Virginia Passes First-in-the-Nation COVID-19 Safety Standard – What it Means for Your Workplace