On June 15, 2021, New York State celebrated reaching 70 percent of its adult population having received at least one vaccination dose. As a result, the State lifted most of its New York Forward industry-specific COVID-19 guidelines—including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and gathering contact information for tracing—making them optional for most employers. The State has archived its industry-specific reopening guidance, which employers may, but are not required to, continue to follow[1].

What Obligations Remain for NY Employers?

Employers remain subject to guidance requiring them to prepare and maintain written business safety plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their workplaces. In addition, as we most recently explained here, all employers will still have to comply with the HERO Act’s mandates, including the requirement that employers create and implement airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans in accordance with forthcoming standards.

Recent guidance regarding workplace safety protocols for office settings remains recommended, though no longer required. Some business and sectors (including public transportation, public schools (K-12), and large-scale venues/events, such as professional sports arenas and entertainment sites), however, remain obligated to follow the guidelines.

The state continues to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), which currently states that while fully vaccinated individuals may refrain from masking and social distancing in most settings (exceptions include correctional facilities and homeless shelters), unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks and maintaining social distance, even in settings where New York Forward guidance has been lifted. This means that employers can still impose safety requirements, such as requiring masks, or creating a segregated area where only fully vaccinated individuals may congregate without social distancing or masks, but most are not required to do so.

Governor Cuomo’s announcement states that unvaccinated individuals remain “responsible for wearing masks” and notes that CDC guidance still requires masks for unvaccinated persons.

What Is No Longer Required?

Although employers may keep safety protocols in place at their discretion, provided they are consistent with applicable law, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, most workplaces in New York are now no longer required to maintain any of the following:

  • Point-of-Entry Health Screenings: Businesses no longer need to ask employees or visitors to their facilities whether they’ve experienced symptoms, been exposed, or have recently tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Physical Barriers at Workstations: Items such as Plexiglas shields, strip curtains, cubicle walls, or other impermeable dividers or partitions are no longer mandatory for work sites, although they remain advisable for workspaces that are within six feet of each other.
  • Measures to Reduce Bidirectional Foot Traffic: Previously recommended markers, such as arrows in narrow aisles and corridors, distance markers, and other such signage may be removed.
  • Rigorous Sanitization: While near-constant disinfection may no longer be necessary, frequent cleaning and sanitation, particularly in enclosed areas with high-touch surfaces and/or high traffic, remains advisable, especially in locations where the vaccination status of those present is unknown. Good handwashing and other personal sanitary measures should always be encouraged.

 The increased numbers of vaccinated New Yorkers and lifting of COVID-19 restrictions is a welcome development. Employers, however, must remain vigilant regarding their continued obligations to maintain a safe and compliant workplace.

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[1] However, employers should be aware that, as of this writing, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office had not given any indication that Executive Order 202 (“E.O. 202”), which declared a state of emergency on March 7, 2020, would be lifted before July 5, 2021, which is the date to which the most recent continuation of E.O. 202 extends. The continuation of the state of emergency furthers the governor’s authority to issue directives related to the pandemic.

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at the ways in which states are relaxing COVID-19 restrictions and discuss the much-anticipated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) emergency temporary standard.

States Adjust COVID-19 Regulations to Align with CDC Guidance

States are relaxing or lifting COVID-19 regulations in different ways to align with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), causing confusion for many employers. The CDC’s guidance does not provide a recommended mechanism for confirming vaccine status, which is also leading to different regulations in different states. Read more about changes in CaliforniaIllinois, and New York.

OSHA Releases COVID-19 ETS for Health Care

OSHA has released its much anticipated COVID-19 emergency temporary standard for health care workers. The standard requires health care employers to maintain social distancing policies as well as offer time off for employee vaccination and recovery. The agency also released guidance for other industries, outside of health care, to help maintain safety for unvaccinated workers.

See below for the video. For Other Highlights and more news, visit http://www.ebglaw.com/eltw214.

Video: YouTubeVimeo.

On June 11, 2021, Illinois and the City of Chicago entered Phase 5 of its five-stage reopening plans. As part of the transition, Illinois released Executive Order 2021-12 (the “Phase 5 Reopening Order”) and new Phase 5 Guidance. Chicago also issued Phase 5 Recommendations and provided a helpful graphic that provides additional recommendations, which apply to all businesses. For Illinois and Chicago businesses, Phase 5 means a lifting of many COVID-19 restrictions across industries. Although businesses can start operating closer to normal, Phase 5 is a new normal that still includes social distancing and masking recommendations that should be on your Company’s radar.

The Illinois Phase 5 Reopening Order sets forth public health measures that Illinois businesses are urged to adopt to protect their employees, including:

  • Ensuring that employees who are not fully vaccinated practice social distancing and wear face coverings when social distancing is not always possible.
  • Ensuring that all spaces where employees may gather, including locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing.
  • Ensuring that all visitors (including vendors) to the workplace who are not fully vaccinated can practice social distancing, but if maintaining social distancing at all times is not possible, businesses should encourage those visitors to wear face coverings.
  • Make hand sanitizer and sanitizing products available.
  • Maintain accommodations for vulnerable populations.
  • Continue to take all necessary steps to protect employees and customers by ensuring that any return to work plans adhere to all applicable public health guidance.

The Illinois Phase 5 Guidance further sets forth recommended prevention strategies applicable to all Illinois businesses, as follows:

  • Illinois Phase 5 Guidance replaces the previously issued industry-specific guidance by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The Phase 5 Guidance no longer includes many components in the now-superseded guidance for offices, such as capacity limitations, health screenings, or providing COVID-19 related notifications to the local health department.
  • For indoor businesses where everyone present is not fully vaccinated, unvaccinated persons should wear a face covering and maintain six feet of social distance. However, fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to wear masks or socially distance, except in those circumstances specified in CDC guidance, including on public transportation, in “congregate facilities” (e.g., homeless shelters or correctional facilities) and in health care settings. For outdoor businesses, unvaccinated persons may choose not to wear a face covering when able to maintain a six-foot social distance while outdoors.
  • For indoor businesses where everyone present is fully vaccinated, face coverings and social distancing are not required for anyone (except, again, in those circumstances specified in CDC guidance, including on public transportation, in homeless shelters or correctional facilities and in health care settings).
  • Unvaccinated persons should wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor crowded settings.
  • Businesses are still advised to support social distancing to the extent possible (especially in indoor settings) and can require additional precautions. Businesses should also be supportive of employees and customers who choose to wear a face covering.

Chicago’s Phase 5 Recommendations track the language of the Illinois Phase 5 Guidance and similarly replace the City’s previously issued industry-specific guidance. Chicago’s Phase 5 Recommendations also advise businesses to ensure hygienic interactions (e.g., hand washing), post hygiene resources and guidance in spaces, adhere to cleaning standards to disinfect spaces, provide flexibility with sick leave and remote working and facilitate testing and tracking.

In addition, Mayor Lori Lightfoot went a step further when discussing the City’s masking requirements in Phase 5. In Mayor Lightfoot’s June 11 Press Release related to the Phase 5 reopening she states, “[i]f you are not fully vaccinated, you need to continue to wear your mask in all indoor settings.” So, unvaccinated persons in Chicago will need to keep their masks on for now indoors.

Although Illinois and Chicago are in Phase 5, the guidelines identify the cautious approach to reopening that businesses should carefully review. As Illinois and Chicago continue to progress through Phase 5, the applicable guidance and recommendations will evolve as well.

It has been an active week in California with the release of new statewide face covering guidance, the alignment of Los Angeles County and San Francisco with this guidance, and the withdrawal of the revised Cal/OSHA Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (the “Board”).

Of most importance, covered employers and workplaces must continue to comply with the more restrictive original Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that have been in place since November 2020, not the revised version approved by the Board on June 3, 2021 (we wrote about the original standards here).  In short, the workplace exceptions for fully vaccinated employees have been withdrawn, at least for the time being.

California Department of Public Health Face Covering Guidance

On June 9, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) released new Guidance on Face Coverings (“June 9 CDPH Guidance”) intended to align with the CDC Guidance for vaccinated individuals. Of importance, the June 9 CDPH mask wearing guidance does not apply to employees, who must continue to wear face coverings in compliance with the ETS.

Under the June 9 CDPH Guidance:

  • For fully vaccinated individuals, masks are not required except in the certain settings (e.g., public transit, K-12 schools, healthcare settings, emergency shelters).
  • For unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses, masks are required.

What this means for Businesses:

  • In settings where masks are required only for unvaccinated individuals, businesses, venue operators or hosts may choose to:
    • Allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest prior to entry;
    • Verify Vaccination Status to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask; or
    • Require all patrons to wear masks.

Los Angeles County and San Francisco Follow Suit

Los Angeles County and the City of San Francisco revised their local guidelines to align with the June 9 CDPH Guidance and the State’s Beyond the Blueprint for Industry and Business Sectors (which we wrote about here). Both of these guidelines become effective June 15, 2021, and both contain reminders that Cal/OSHA regulations will continue to apply to employers

Cal/OSHA Standards Board Special Meeting

In light of the June 9 Guidance release, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board held a special meeting at which it voted to withdraw the revisions to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention ETS that, on June 3, it had voted to approve and send to the Office of Administrative Law for review. As a result, the ETS adopted in November of 2020 will remain in effect.  Cal/OSHA indicated it would review the new mask guidance and bring any recommended revisions to the Board.  The Board could consider new revisions at its next meeting on June 17.

What this Means for Employers

Until Cal/OSHA revises the ETS, employers must continue to comply with the November 2020 version (which can be found here).  These rules do not contain any exceptions for fully vaccinated employees.  All workers subject to the ETS must continue to wear masks and follow physical distancing rules, among other requirements, until further notice. We will advise as soon as anything changes.

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) COVID-19 vaccine guidance as well as vaccination protocols for multinational workforces.

Employers Adjust to New EEOC Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccines

The EEOC recently updated and expanded its guidance on COVID-19 vaccines and the workplace to cover incentives, accommodations, and mandatory vaccination policies. Attorneys Avi Bernstein and Lauri F. Rasnick explain how the new EEOC guidance impacts employers’ vaccination policies. Read more.

Vaccines Roll Out Across the Globe

With COVID-19 vaccination rolling out around the globe, especially throughout Europe and the United States, multinational employers need to evaluate several aspects of how vaccination impacts their workforce. In an upcoming Deloitte Legal webinar, multinational employers will hear perspectives on whether they can make vaccination mandatory, how to encourage their workforce to get vaccinated, if they can request employees’ vaccination status, and more. Register here.

Federal and State Cannabis Rules Are Moving in Different Directions

As federal cannabis regulations and state laws continue moving in different directions, employers are struggling with identifying the best strategy for their drug testing and drug-free workplace policies. For more, listen to our podcast.

For Other Highlights and more news, visit http://www.ebglaw.com/eltw213.

In a flurry of activity into the wee hours of June 2, 2021, Illinois legislators concluded a spring session that saw the passage of numerous measures that will affect employers in the state across the span of the employment relationship. Among the most significant of the many bills heading to Governor Pritzker for signature are acts amending the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (“VESSA”), and the Freedom to Work Act. It is expected that Governor Pritzker will sign all of the above-mentioned bills.

Changes Affecting the Hiring Process

As we have previously explained, the State’s Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act (“AIVIA”) requires employers using artificial intelligence (“AI”) enabled video interview technology during the hiring process to make certain disclosures to and obtain consent from applicants, and also includes privacy protection measures. Upon the Governor’s signature, the AIVIA will be amended to include new provisions that require some employers using AI-analysis during the screening process to collect and report demographic data. Specifically, if an employer relies solely on AI to make a threshold determination about whether an applicant will progress to an in-person interview, then that employer will be required to keep track of the race and ethnicity of (i) applicants who do not proceed to an in-person interview after screening and (ii) those applicants who are ultimately hired. Covered employers will need to prepare an annual report of demographic data collected during the twelve month period ending on November 30 of each year, to be submitted by December 31 to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (“DCEO”), which must then analyze the data and report by July 1 each year whether it revealed a racial bias in the use of AI. It is important to note that this change affects only those employers who rely solely upon an AI-enabled analysis of a video interview to screen potential candidates for in-person interviews. If enacted, the new provisions would take effect January 1, 2022.

Changes Affecting Equal Pay Act Compliance

Illinois employers should also take note of the upcoming changes to the state’s Equal Pay Act (the “Act”). These include new language that, notwithstanding the Act’s prohibitions on inquiries into a candidate’s salary history,  affirmatively permits employers to ,  request confirmation of information about an applicant’s unvested equity or deferred compensation, if the applicant has voluntarily and spontaneously given such information.

In addition, the legislature approved substantive amendments to the Act’s filing and certification requirements, some of which benefit employers. For example, the implementation of requirements for “covered employers” (described below) to certify their compliance with the Equal Pay Act has been delayed, and safeguards against bureaucratic error and zealous enforcement were added.

New Timelines and Procedures for Obtaining Equal Pay Registration

Under the Act’s revised Equal Pay Registration Certificate requirements, private employers with more than 100 employees in the State of Illinois that are required to file an Annual Employer Information report (EEO-1) with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) are considered “covered” and must comply with registration provisions of the Act. Here are key points to note:

  • Covered employers (i.e., those with 100 or more Illinois employees as of March 23, 2021 that must file EEO-1 reports) must obtain an equal pay registration certificate (“EPRC”) from the Illinois Department of Labor (“IDOL”) by submitting an application for certification. The application period for those employers will be between March 24, 2022 and March 23, 2024. Thereafter, those employers must recertify every two years.
  • Employers that obtained authorization to do business in Illinois after March 23, 2021 that are “covered” must submit an application for an EPRC within three years of commencing operations, but not sooner than January 1, 2024, and then must recertify every two years thereafter.

Safeguards for Covered Employers

Significantly, the amended legislation imposes duties upon the IDOL, including an obligation to collect contact information from each covered business and to assign businesses deadlines for their EPRC applications. The amendments expressly provide that the State’s failure to do so may be a mitigating factor in any determination that an employer violated the Act’s certification requirements. The amendment also gives employers an opportunity to cure the deficiencies and re-submit a deficient EPRC application, or to appeal the rejection of an application. The amendments also simplify the EPRC application and add important privacy protections to any individually identifiable information.

Changes to Penalties that May Be Imposed

Beneficially to employers, the amendments eliminate the potential civil penalty of 1% of a business’s gross profits, if an employer fails to comply. On the other hand, the amendments raises fines to up to $10,000 for any violation of the Act, including for inquiries into prior salary history, discriminatory wage practices, and retaliation.

Changes Affecting Victims’ Leave Rights

The Legislature approved amendments to the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (“VESSA”), which provides an entitlement to victims of sexual or gender violence and domestic violence to job-protected leave. The amendments expand the definitions of relevant “crimes of violence” and persons qualifying as a “family or household member;” provide that an employee has the right to choose which form of documentation (if available) shall be submitted; and provide that an employer may not require or even request more than one document during the 12-month period during which VESSA leave is requested, if the requested leave is related to the same incident(s) or perpetrator(s). Further, the amendments add a new section to the law mandating the confidentiality of any information obtained by an employer pursuant to VESSA and prohibiting disclosure of any such information or documentation absent a written request or consent by the employee, unless otherwise required by law. Finally, the amendments provide that victims may not be barred from collecting voluntary leave benefits.

Changes Affecting Noncompetes and Nonsolicits

As we have reported in detail previously, the legislature also passed a comprehensive reform of Illinois law regarding non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. The law, which imposes certain due process protections for employees while also clarifying certain ambiguities in Illinois common law, will apply only to agreements entered into after January 1, 2022.  Please see our prior report information about what Illinois employers should do now to comply.

Additional “Heads-Up”

Despite the significant amount of legislation passed in the session, unfinished business remains. The legislature is expected to return in coming weeks to vote upon outstanding measures, including amendments to the Identity Protection Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act.

As always, we will keep you apprised of changes that affect employers, and welcome your questions.

As we previously reported, on May 5, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Health and Essential Rights Act (the “HERO Act” or “Act”) into law, permanently codifying COVID-19-related health and safety protocols. In a memorandum issued with the signing, Governor Cuomo announced that he had secured an agreement with the Legislature for amendments to the Act to address certain ambiguities and technicalities.

On May 14, 2021, State legislators introduced bills (S6768/A7477) (“Bills” or the “Amendments”) to address some of the Governor’s concerns. The Bills recently passed in both legislative houses. Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the Amendments into law shortly.

If signed into law by Governor Cuomo, the Amendments would give the New York Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) until July 5, 2021 to create industry-specific model safety standards and to provide a clearer timeline as to when employers must implement the airborne infectious disease prevention plans required by the Act. The Amendments also would address an ambiguity we previously reported concerning the Act’s scope by expressly limiting the types of employer policies that workplace safety committees will be entitled to review to only those that concern occupational safety and health (and not all policies relating to any matter addressed by the New York State Labor Law).

Below is a summary of the Amendments to the Act contained in the Bills.

Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan

The Amendments establish a clearer (and longer) timeline regarding when employers must implement their prevention plans, and when the NYSDOL must publish the model standard.

Specifically, under the Act, the NYSDOL is required to publish the model standard by June 4, 2021; however, it has yet to do so. The Amendments set a new deadline of July 5 2021 for the agency to publish the model standard. In addition, the Amendments require the NYSDOL to establish both a general model standard applicable to all worksites and industry-specific standards. The Amendments provide that the industry-specific standards will cover industries representing a significant portion of the workforce, or those with unique characteristics requiring distinct standards.

The Act did not provide a specific deadline for employers to implement their plans; the Amendments would clarify that employers must establish their plans within 30 days after the model standards are published and provide their plans to employees within 60 days after the model standards are published.

Workplace Safety Committees

The Act provides that workplace safety committees can review “any policy put in place in the workplace required by any provision of this chapter….” This broad language raised concerns over the potential breadth of the workplace safety committee’s purview. The Amendments, clarify that each such committee’s scope of review is limited to “any provision of this chapter relating to occupational safety and health,” explicitly precluding a reading that the committee would be empowered to review all policies related to any provision of the New York Labor Law.

The Amendments also make clear that there need be no more than one workplace safety committee per worksite, and that if an employer already has a workplace safety committee with responsibilities consistent with the requirements of the Act, the employer need not create an additional committee. How this will work with respect to worksites with multiple unions is not addressed in the Amendments and will likely await further guidance through rule-making or further amendment.

Private Causes of Action

The Amendments limit the instances in which employees can bring private causes of action against employers for alleged violations of the Act.

Of note, the Amendments include a provision requiring notice and opportunity to cure before suit can be filed.  Specifically, under the Amendments, before bringing suit an employee must (i) provide the employer with notice of the alleged violation, and (ii) wait at least 30 days after notice (except where the employee alleges with particularity that the employer is acting in bad faith in failing to cure the violation). The Amendments further provide that the employee may not bring the civil action if the employer corrects the alleged violation.

The Amendments establish a six-month statute of limitations from the date an employee has knowledge of an alleged violation for bringing a civil action. If a court finds that the action is frivolous, the Amendments would allow the court to award the employer costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees, which could be assessed against the plaintiff-employee, the employee’s attorney, or both.

Lastly, the Amendments repeal the provision in the Act that allows for the recovery of liquidated damages in a private cause of action.

We will provide an update as soon as further action occurs. In the meantime and inasmuch as enactment of the Amendments is anticipated shortly, New York employers may wish begin taking the steps suggested in our prior advisory to comply with the Act.

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For more information about this blog, please contact:

Susan Gross Sholinsky
New York
212-351-4789
sgross@ebglaw.com

Steven M. Swirsky
New York
212-351-4640
sswirsky@ebglaw.com
Robert J. O’Hara
New York
212-351-3708
rohara@ebglaw.com

 *Christopher Shura Law Clerk – Admission Pending (not admitted to the practice of law) in the firm’s New York office, contributed to the preparation of this blog.

Beginning June 26, 2021, Pennsylvania’s Living Donor Protection Act (the “LDPA”) will provide time off to organ and tissue donors to cover time off for donation surgery, including necessary preparation and recovery.

Pennsylvania employees will be eligible for leave under the LDPA if they meet the following FMLA eligibility criteria: the employee must (1) work for a covered employer, (2) work 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave, (3) work at a location where 50 or more employees work or within 75 miles of it, and (4) have worked for the employer for 12 months. Under the FMLA, an eligible employee may take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave a year, and is entitled to return to their same (or equivalent) job at the end of their leave.

Leave under the LDPA applies to an employee’s own donation or to care for a spouse, child or parent who is making or receiving an organ or tissue donation. Under the LDPA, FMLA-covered employers must provide FMLA-eligible employees with leave that is the same as if the employee were taking it for other eligible reasons. Employers may ask for written documentation regarding the preparation and recovery necessary for surgery.

LDPA leave will run concurrently with FMLA leave. The Department of Health has been tasked with providing informational materials relating to living donors and the benefits of live organ and tissue donation. Additionally, the LDPA also ensures that insurers may not discriminate against living donors through policy conditions, acceptance or pricing, based solely on that person’s status as a living donor.

Pennsylvania joined the growing list of states providing statutory leave to employees who donate all or part of an organ and/or tissue.

On May 21, 2021, consistent with Governor Newsom’s intention to fully reopen California by June 15, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) released “Beyond the Blueprint for Industry and Business Sectors” (“Beyond the Blueprint”), outlining the state’s latest reopening guidelines and restrictions.  Importantly, as reflected in the CDPH’s announcement, most employers (as discussed below) must still follow the more restrictive Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) (“ETS Standards”) (which we wrote about here), and therefore as a practical matter, most employers will be unable to lift masking and social distancing requirements for vaccinated employees absent revised regulations from Cal/OSHA.

Effective June 15 (or after the issuance of revised ETS standards, if applicable), all sectors listed in the current Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart may return to usual pre-pandemic operations with the following public health recommendations:

For “Indoor Mega Events” (those with crowds of greater than 5,000 attendees in indoor venues), verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result is required for all attendees. Indoor Mega Event venues must prominently display information on all communications, including the reservation and ticketing systems, which ensures attendees are aware of testing and vaccination requirements (including acceptable modes of verification). Attendees must also follow the CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings.

For “Outdoor Mega Events” (those with crowds of greater than 10,000 attendees in outdoor venues), verification of fully vaccinated status or a pre-entry negative test result is strongly recommended. Attendees who do not verify vaccination status should be instructed to wear face coverings. Attendees must also follow the CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings, and venues are required to make masks available for all attendees. Outdoor Mega Event venues must prominently display information on all communications, including the reservation and ticketing systems, which ensures guests are aware that the state of California strongly recommends that they be fully vaccinated, obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending the event, or wear a face covering.

These guidelines governing Indoor and Outdoor Mega Events will be in place from June 15, 2021 through October 1, 2021. The state will reassess conditions by September 1, 2021 to determine whether updated requirements or recommendations are needed beyond October 1, 2021.

What this means for employers

As noted above, covered employers remain subject to current ETS Standards. The ETS Standards apply to all employers except for those with (1) workplaces with only one employee who does not have contact with others; (2) employees working from home; and (3) employees covered by the aerosol transmissible diseases (ATD) regulation. Accordingly, while, by itself, the Beyond the Blueprint guidance and mandates would significantly loosen restrictions, most employers must await revised regulations from Cal/OSHA prior to lifting masking and social distancing requirements for vaccinated employees.

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at the fallout from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) change in guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.

CDC Guidance Causes Uncertainty

In the wake of the CDC guidance removing mask and distancing recommendations for fully vaccinated people, agencies, states, and employers have adjusted in different ways. Many states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Illinois, have updated their guidance to reflect the CDC’s recent pronouncement. But restrictions and mandates still differ widely between states and local jurisdictions. Employers are unsure of how to proceed amid the vague and frequently changing guidance.

Congress Focuses on Employment Protections

On May 14, the House passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. If the Senate approves the bill, all employees would be entitled to reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Congress also recently passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to address the increase of violence against Asian Americans in the workplace and beyond.

See below for the video and podcast links. For Other Highlights and more news, visit http://www.ebglaw.com/eltw212.

Video: YouTubeVimeo.
Podcast: Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsOvercastSpotifyStitcher.