Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The  New York State Acting Commissioner of Health has extended the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health under the NY HERO Act until February 15, 2022. Accordingly, the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans required under Section 1 of the Act must be kept in place through that date, at which point the Commissioner will review whether the designation should be continued.

Continue Reading Keep Your Safety Plans in Place: New York HERO Act COVID-19 Designation Extended Until February 15, 2022

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we’re breaking down what last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on two of the federal vaccine mandate rules will mean for employers.

Continue Reading Video: SCOTUS Decides on Vaccine Rules, Companies Can Still Require Vaccination, Restrictive Covenants in CO – Employment Law This Week

As explained in greater detail by our colleague Stuart M. Gerson, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two major, and quickly decided, rulings on January 13, 2022. After hearing oral arguments only six days earlier, the Court issued two unsigned decisions per curiam. A 5-4 decision in Biden v. Missouri dissolved a preliminary injunction against enforcement of an interim final rule (“Rule”) promulgated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), requiring recipients of federal Medicare and Medicaid funding to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Continue Reading SCOTUS Permits CMS Health Care Vax Rule but Rejects OSHA Vax-or-Test ETS for Large Employers

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at the latest federal rules and guidance on vaccination policies, quarantine periods, and masking.

Continue Reading Video: SCOTUS Considers Federal Vaccine Mandates, CDC Shortens Quarantine Periods, Definition of “Fully Vaccinated” – Employment Law This Week

Ready for the “new normal”? Starting January 15, 2022, Boston’s “B-Together” Vaccine Mandate (“the mandate”) will require certain indoor establishments to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry from employees, contractors, and customers.

  1. The mandate applies only to indoor portions of certain commercial food services, gym and fitness settings, and entertainment/recreation facilities in Boston

“Indoor food services” means indoor portions of food service establishments offering food and drink including restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Fully enclosed “outdoor” areas are considered “indoor” under the policy. The mandate does not apply to open-air, outdoor areas, food service establishments offering food and/or drink exclusively for off-premises or outdoor consumption, or to food service establishments providing charitable food services, such as soup kitchens.


Continue Reading Five Fast Facts on Boston’s Indoor Vaccine Mandate

As we previously reported, in December New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued a mandate requiring that masks be worn in all indoor public places, unless the business or venue requires proof of vaccination for entry.  As part of the state’s “Winter Surge Plan 2.0”, the mandate, which was initially set to expire on January 15, has now been extended for an additional two weeks, through February 1, 2022.

Continue Reading Keep on Masking: NY Governor Extends Mask Mandate Through February 1, 2022

On December 22, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (NY DOL) issued the long-awaited proposed rule (Proposed Rule) regarding the workplace safety committees that are required by the New York HERO Act (HERO Act). While there is no current effective date for the Proposed Rule (which is first subject to a public comment period and a February 9, 2022 hearing), employers should become familiar with, and consider taking actions to timely comply with the Proposed Rule should it be adopted as currently drafted.

The HERO Act

In May of 2021, New York responded to workplace safety and health issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic by enacting the HERO Act.  Since that time, the State has amended the HERO Act to allow the NY DOL additional time to create model safety standards for infectious disease exposure plans (“safety plans”) mandated by the HERO Act and to allow employers additional time for compliance.


Continue Reading DOL Issues New York HERO Act Workplace Safety Proposed Rule, Including Workplace Safety Committee Requirements

On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an update to its isolation and quarantine guidance. Although the CDC’s update shortens both the isolation and quarantine periods, as described more fully below, the changes largely affect only asymptomatic individuals. Moreover, because local guidance may differ from the CDC’s recommendations, employers should keep in mind all applicable state and local requirements when deciding whether to amend their own rules.

Continue Reading CDC Shortens Recommended COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Periods

On the evening of Wednesday, December 22, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will hold a special session on January 7, 2022, to hear oral argument in cases concerning whether two Biden administration vaccine mandates should be stayed. One is an interim final rule promulgated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”); the other is an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”).  The CMS interim final rule, presently stayed in 24 states, would require COVID-19 vaccination for staff employed at Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers. The OSHA ETS, which requires businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure that workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or otherwise to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, was allowed to take effect when a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, to which the consolidated challenges had been assigned by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, issued a ruling on December 17, 2021, lifting a stay that had been previously entered by the Fifth Circuit. Multiple private sector litigants and states immediately challenged the decision.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Grants Rare Hearing on Stays in Vaccine Mandate Cases

New York City’s private employer vaccine mandate became effective Monday. December 27, 2021 and, the City has updated its FAQs document and the Accommodations Guidance document (“Guidance”).

Guidance Updates: The Guidance was amended to reflect that the New York City Human Rights Law provides for accommodations for pregnancy and for victims of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking in addition to medical and religious reasons. The Guidance also clarifies that the examples for medical exemptions for vaccination were those that had been found worthy by the CDC and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Further, the Guidance modifies some language on the religious accommodation checklist around the types of information needed to support religious accommodation requests. As we previously shared, the checklist the City recommends that employers maintain and complete in connection with each religious accommodation request does not alleviate an employer’s need to analyze such requests on a case-by-case basis.


Continue Reading NYC Employers Take Note: NYC Updates Private Employer Vaccine Guidance