As employers across the country have begun to implement COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently updated its guidance regarding religious accommodations. As a reminder, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act states that an employee may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation from a workplace requirement if the employee has a sincerely-held religious belief, practice or observance that prevents the employee from adhering to the requirement. Continue Reading EEOC revises guidance regarding religious accommodations for COVID-19 requirements
The Biden administration recently announced the deadline for employees of federal contractors covered by Executive Order 14042 to be vaccinated for COVID-19 will be extended to Jan. 4, 2022. Previously, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force set a deadline of Dec. 8, 2021, for federal contracts entered into or modified after Oct.15, 2021. Continue Reading Biden administration extends federal contractor vaccination deadline to Jan. 4 to align with OSHA and CMS deadlines
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) mandating certain COVID-19 safety protocols. The ETS answers some of the questions employers have had while waiting for the standard. Continue Reading OSHA issues emergency temporary standard: Mandates COVID-19 vaccination or testing for companies with over 100 employees company-wide
On Oct. 19, 2021, the Department of Justice, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) announced a settlement agreement with Facebook to resolve issues regarding Facebook’s practices to recruit for PERM applications. The settlement agreement requires Facebook to pay a significant fine, provide a fund for the settlement of individual claims and modify recruiting practices for PERM cases. Continue Reading Lessons from the IER settlement with Facebook
At the outset of the COVID pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) responded quickly to employer concerns about how to comply with the requirement to personally review supporting documentation for Form I-9. Because this form must be completed within three days of the first day of employment, compliance was not possible when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended social distancing and work from home protocols were established. Continue Reading USCIS seeks public input on remote preparation of I-9 forms
On Sept. 27, 2021, we posted about Ohio House Bill 401 and the potential for employers to lose workers’ compensation immunity for injuries incurred as a result of a mandatory vaccination. The bill would create a separate cause of action under Ohio law for persons allegedly injured as a result of an employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccine.
On Oct. 7, 2021, the Ohio House Labor and Commerce Committee held its second informal hearing on a separate but related piece of legislation, House Bill 435. The bill expressly provides that an injury covered under the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Act includes an injury or disability caused by an employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccine. Continue Reading The Ohio Legislature and dueling bills: Vaccinations and Ohio workers’ compensation
As we previously reported, on Sept. 9, 2021, President Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing as part of a new COVID-19 action plan. The president also directed OSHA to mandate paid time off for employees to get vaccinated. OSHA will implement these directives by issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS). Continue Reading OSHA sends emergency temporary standard mandating COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing for companies with 100+ employees to White House for final approval
On Sept. 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) issued the COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors. The Guidance, which is part of President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan, Path Out of the Pandemic, requires that covered employees become fully vaccinated as early as Dec. 8, 2021, unless an accommodation is required or an exception applies. The specific deadline for full vaccination varies based on when the covered contract is entered into, modified or renewed.
The Eastern District of Kentucky, which falls within the purview of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, recently denied injunctive relief to a group of plaintiffs who challenged their employer’s mandatory vaccination requirement in Beckerich, et al., v. St. Elizabeth Medical Center Inc., et al.
In this case, plaintiffs are a group of healthcare workers who are employees or former employees of defendants St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Summit Medical Group (St. Elizabeth). St. Elizabeth recently enacted a mandatory vaccination policy, whereby an employee must receive a COVID-19 vaccination unless he or she requests a medical or religious exemption. Any employee who fails to comply with the policy may be terminated. Continue Reading Federal Court holds that private employer’s mandatory vaccination policy is lawful
Keeping an eye on Ohio House Bill 401
Even as the federal government has moved toward mandating COVID vaccination by many employers, a bill introduced in the Ohio legislature, if passed, would eliminate workers’ compensation immunity and expose employers to potential liability for injuries incurred as a result of a mandatory vaccination. Continue Reading Will we say goodbye to workers’ compensation immunity for mandatory COVID vaccination-related damages?