For more than two and a half years, employers across the country have navigated a nuanced web of legal requirements and guidance to safely operate during the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Recent updates to the legal landscape at the federal, state, and local level, however, have left many employers asking: is the COVID-19 pandemic finally over? For now, the answer remains “no.” This post discusses three key reasons why employers should continue to operate with the pandemic in mind.

Continue Reading Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Over? For Employers, Not Yet

On September 20, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers is ending.  The City’s mandate for municipal employees, however, will remain in effect.

Continue Reading No Vax? No Problem. NYC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Private Employers Will End as of November 1st, 2022

After two and a half years of promoting protocols aimed at reducing transmission of coronavirus, on August 11, 2022, the CDC eliminated its recommendation that people quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 and updated other recommendations. In recognition of how vaccination, boosters, and improved treatments have the reduced risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death, the CDC has “streamlined”  its guidance regarding what actions people should take to protect themselves and others if they are exposed to COVID-19, become sick, or test positive for the virus.  The CDC now recommends that instead of needing to quarantine, someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 only needs to wear a high-quality mask for 10 days.  During the 10-day masking period, individuals (regardless of vaccination status) should monitor their symptoms and get tested after five days, regardless of symptoms.

Continue Reading CDC Eliminates Quarantine Requirements for COVID-19 Exposure

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we update you on new COVID-19 guidance and union organizing and non-compete trends at the federal and local levels.

Continue Reading Video: New COVID-19 Testing Guidance, NLRB Increases Use of Injunctive Relief, D.C. Amends Near-Universal Ban on Non-Competes – Employment Law This Week

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

On June 15, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that COVID-19 does not qualify as a “natural disaster” under the federal Workers’ Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act, effectively foreclosing one important argument used by employers in defense of COVID-19-related WARN lawsuits.  As this is the only appellate court to affirmatively interpret WARN’s “natural disaster” exception, barring a split by other circuits, this case sets an important precedent in ongoing COVID-19-related WARN litigation, as well as WARN suits related to future pandemics.

Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Holds COVID Is Not a “Natural Disaster” Under the WARN Act

On March 14, 2022, the EEOC issued a technical assistance document, The COVID-19 Pandemic and Caregiver Discrimination Under Federal Employment Discrimination Laws, which provides guidance as to ways equal employment opportunity laws enforced by the EEOC (“EEO laws”) may apply to caregivers. In conjunction with this, the EEOC added a Section I (“Caregivers/Family Responsibilities”)  to “What You Should Know About COVID-19,” its primary COVID-19 related guidance document. Enforcement guidance issued by the EEOC in 2007, previously addressed circumstances in which discrimination against caregivers might constitute unlawful disparate treatment. The EEOC has issued this new guidance in response to how the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly affected employees with caregiver responsibilities.

Continue Reading A New Protected Class? Not Quite, but the EEOC Is Looking Out for Workers with Caregiving Obligations

The New York HERO Act website was quietly updated on the afternoon of March 18, 2022 to confirm that the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health has ended. This means the “activation” of HERO Act safety plans is over.

On March 17, 2022, the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under the HERO Act ended. Private sector employers are no longer required to implement their workforce safety plans.

Continue Reading New York HERO Act Designation Over, Six Months Later

While the fate of two COVID-19 vaccination rules by federal agencies were decided in January by the Supreme Court of the United States, millions of employees working for the federal government, whether directly or as a contractor, have been waiting for clarity in the wake of court orders halting Presidential efforts to promote vaccination.  Here is a brief update on the status of litigation challenging the extent of the President’s authority to command the Executive Branch.

Continue Reading President Biden’s Vaccination Mandates for Federal Employees and Contractors Remain in Limbo

The first state to implement workplace health and safety standards for COVID-19 is poised to roll back those requirements. Virginia’s Permanent COVID-19 Employee Health and Safety Requirements (the “Permanent Standard”) established requirements for employers to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  However, with the Omicron wave receding, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin says the Permanent Standard presents “a significant burden on businesses” and should be reconsidered.

Pursuant to Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order issued on January 15, 2022, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board (the “Board”) convened on February 16, 2022, to determine whether the Permanent Standard is still necessary.  Adopting the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (“DOLI”) recommendation, the Board agreed that there is no continued need for the Permanent Standard because the virus, “based on emerging scientific and medical evidence, . . . no longer constitute[s] a grave danger to employees in the workplace.”

Continue Reading The Not So Permanent Standard: Virginia Moves to Withdraw COVID-19 Rule