On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety. The order directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to take action to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace. On June 10, 2021, OSHA announced a highly-anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) setting forth steps that employers in the healthcare industry must take to protect workers from COVID-19 risks while the pandemic is ongoing. The ETS will become effective 14 days after it is formally published in the Federal Register.
Continue Reading OSHA Announces COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare Industry

The CDC has recently recommended that employers appoint “vaccination ambassadors” to encourage employees to get vaccinated.  The EEOC has not commented on the CDC’s recommendation, but based on other pandemic-related guidance issued by the EEOC, employers should consider the employment risks associated with a vaccination ambassador.  These risks include the following:
Continue Reading Is a “Vaccination Ambassador” a Good Idea?

On January 29, 2021, OSHA posted new guidance intended to inform employers and workers in identifying risks of exposure to COVID-19.  The new guidance applies to industries outside of healthcare.  OSHA previously issued separate guidance applicable to healthcare and emergency response.  The guidance does not create any new legal requirements or obligations, but is advisory only.  OSHA intends for the guidance to assist employers with planning.
Continue Reading OSHA Issues New Guidance on COVID-19

We have seen a significant number of OSHA investigations in recent weeks in response to reports of employee deaths and illnesses due to COVID-19.  In the height of the pandemic, employers, including nursing homes, were unclear regarding their obligations to report employee incidents of COVID-19 to OSHA due to the difficulty in determining whether such cases were “work-related.”  Below we have outlined OSHA’s reporting requirements and expectations regarding investigations into whether COVID cases are work-related, as well as some practices in responding to OSHA investigations.  Going forward, we encourage employers to ensure they are meeting OSHA requirements and are prepared to timely respond to requests for information as penalties for such violations can be significant.
Continue Reading OSHA Investigations and Employee Deaths and Cases of COVID-19

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued new guidance stating that employers cannot require employees to undergo antibody or serology testing to determine whether employees were previously infected with Covid-19 or are otherwise immune to the virus.  Employers cannot require antibody testing before allowing an employee to return to work or in assigning job duties.  The EEOC’s previous guidance allowing employers to test employees for current Covid-19 infection remains in effect.
Continue Reading EEOC Prohibits Covid-19 Antibody Testing

On Friday, April 17, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance on COVID-19 issues and equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws.  The easy to read Q&A format is necessary reading for essential employers whose physical workspaces remain open, and for employers contemplating re-opening plans or personnel changes.  The EEOC’s guidance clarifies that EEO laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), continue to apply during the pandemic, while recognizing that these laws should not interfere with applicable safety guidelines issued by the CDC and other agencies.  Recent guidance addresses the following issues:

Continue Reading EEOC Releases Updated COVID-19 Guidance (Updated as of April 23, 2020)

For the last several weeks, the Department of Labor has periodically updated its Families First Coronavirus Response Act: (FFCRA) “Questions and Answers” page by illustrating real-world applications of the FFCRA.  We covered previous updates on March 31, 2020 and March 25, 2020.  The most recent updates – questions 80-88 – illustrate common issues in computing employee hour and pay entitlements under the FFCRA, among others.

Continue Reading Department of Labor Updates Families First Coronavirus Response Act Q&A Guidance on Calculating Leave Entitlements

Effective April 20, 2020 at 8:00 p.m., employees in the workplace are required to wear a face mask or cloth face covering. Governor Lamont issued this directive as part of Executive Order No. 7BB, which also requires individuals in public to “cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering” when a “safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person” cannot be maintained. Connecticut follows New York’s lead once again, as New York previously implemented a substantively identical order.

Continue Reading Connecticut Updates Safe Workplace Rules to Require Masks In the Workplace

On Friday, April 17, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance on COVID-19 issues and equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws.  The easy to read Q&A format is necessary reading for essential employers whose physical workspaces remain open, and for employers contemplating re-opening plans or personnel changes.  The EEOC’s guidance clarifies that EEO laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), continue to apply during the pandemic while recognizing that these laws should not interfere with applicable safety guidelines issued by the CDC and other agencies.  Recent guidance addresses the following issues:

Continue Reading EEOC Releases Updated COVID-19 Guidance