On July 12, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) yet again updated its COVID-19 FAQs, revising earlier guidance about worksite screening through viral testing for COVID-19, modifying some Q&As, and making various generally non-substantive editorial changes throughout. According to the EEOC, it revised the guidance in light of the evolving circumstances of the
CDC Shortens Recommended COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Periods
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.
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More Tests, Mandatory Masks, and Another Vaccine Mandate: The District of Columbia Steps Up Its Battle Plan
On Monday, December 20, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a “situational update,” declaring a state of emergency due to the “Winter 2022 Surge” in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta and Omicron variants. The District will combat the current rise in COVID-19 cases with a six-pronged approach outlined in an action plan (the “Plan”) published by the Mayor’s Office and implemented under Mayor’s Order 2021-147 (the “Order”). The Plan includes expanding free testing programs, a new indoor mask mandate, and a vaccine mandate for city employees and contractors.
The District has been operating a program called “Test Yourself DC,” which provides free PCR testing kits for use at home. On December 20, 2021, nine new pick-up/drop-off sites were added to the program, making a total of 36 locations available. The Test Yourself locations are in addition to the eight public testing sites staffed by health professionals administering free PCR COVID-19 tests. Further, the program will be expanded to include “Test Yourself Express,” which will offer free at-home rapid antigen COVID-19 testing kits at eight DC public libraries. District residents who provide proof of residency will be permitted to get two free rapid tests per day and must report their results via an online portal.…
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California Authorities Announce Changes to COVID-19-Related Requirements
On December 13, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) announced new Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings (“CDPH Guidance”), implementing a mandatory mask mandate for individuals (employees and patrons) in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccination status, beginning on December 15, 2021 through at least January 15, 2022. The CDPH Guidance requires that masks be worn by all individuals over the age of two, unless exempt for disability-related or medical condition-based reasons, and recommends the use of surgical masks or higher-level respirators.
FAQs issued by the CDPH specify that the CDPH Guidance applies to workplaces, and clarify that local public health regulations remain in effect for localities that have previously adopted face covering measures prior to issuance of the CDPH Guidance that apply regardless of vaccination status. That is, the CDPH Guidance only applies to local health jurisdictions that do not have existing indoor masking requirements. Notably, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (“SFDPH”) has taken the position, in its updated Order and FAQs, that its own masking rules remain in place—including exemptions for “stable cohorts” with 100% vaccination rates, among other criteria. Marin County and Contra Costa County have taken similar positions regarding the applicability of local health order mask exceptions. It remains unclear whether local mask exceptions apply given the CDPH Guidance masking rules.…
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New Guidance Clarifies Requirements for Onsite Workplace COVID-19 Testing
Important guidance regarding COVID-19 testing in the workplace was recently issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) in the form of Frequently Asked Questions regarding Over the Counter (“OTC”) Home Testing and CLIA Applicability.
CMS regulates clinical laboratory testing pursuant to the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (“CLIA”). Generally, a laboratory or clinical setting (such as a physician’s office) must obtain CLIA certification to perform laboratory testing. Some OTC tests, however, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for home use and the new FAQs address the use of OTC home tests in the workplace.…
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New Jersey Mandates COVID-19 Vaccination or Weekly Testing for Workers in Health Care and Congregate Settings
On August 6, 2021, New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy signed Executive Order 252 (“Order 252”) requiring health care and high-risk congregate settings to maintain a policy requiring workers to either provide adequate proof of vaccination or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Although Governor Murphy declared an end to the state’s Public Health Emergency in June,…
Rule 6: If You’re Sick, Stay Home – Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19
Part 6 of a series featuring our video Rules of the Road: Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19.
Simple in theory. Challenging in practice.
While we all intuitively know that we should stay home when we are feeling unwell, a fall 2019 survey suggests just the opposite—that approximately 90% of workers generally “push…
Rule 5: Yes, My Employer Can Do That: Balancing Employers’ Rights and Responsibilities with Employee Privacy – Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19
Part 5 of a series featuring our video Rules of the Road: Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19.
By now, those who have been following this series know the basics. You’ve formulated (or are in the process of formulating) a “return to work” plan, which includes, among other things, implementing policies and…
Global Re-Opening: Considerations When Employees Return to the Workplace
As we previously reported, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the global workplace and international employer-employee relations. Over the past several months, many countries have enacted nationwide orders requiring billions of people to stay at home in an effort to reduce transmission of COVID-19. While some countries remain locked down, others, have recently initiated…
Colorado Provides Further Guidance on Mandatory Paid Leave for COVID-19 Testing
As we explained in an earlier post, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (“DLE”) has issued new Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“HELP”) Rules in response to the coronavirus. Effective March 11, 2020, the HELP Rules mandate employers provide four (4) days of paid sick leave for employees in certain industries who have…