In honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released a number of resources to educate employers, employees and applicants about the right to be free from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment. Although these resources simply restate existing law and policy, they are a great refresher for employers that want to ensure they are complying with federal employment discrimination law.
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the Ohio Industrial Commission (IC) has conducted all hearings remotely. In mid-April 2021, the IC switched from a telephone bridge to the WebEx platform which has video capability. We wrote about this change in this blog post.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard that is effective today. In the face of pressure from the White House and some interest groups to develop an emergency OSHA standard targeted specifically at COVID-19 workplace safety, OSHA has issued a standard targeted only at health care employers. The standard sets out extensive workplace safety requirements that employers in the healthcare sector must follow through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) revised its general COVID-19 guidance applicable to all employers. At the same time, OSHA issued a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard setting out extensive requirements for employers in the health care sector. For more details on the health care emergency temporary standard, see this blog post.
On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance on COVID-19 vaccination and discrimination law. Specifically, EEOC stated that employers can offer employees incentives, economic or otherwise, to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination.
As we previously reported, the American Rescue Plan Act provides for a temporary 100 percent subsidy of the cost of premiums for COBRA continuation coverage for an employee or dependent who is a COBRA qualified beneficiary due to an involuntary termination of employment or reduction in hours. The law requires employers to send a notice to eligible individuals who incurred an involuntary termination of employment or reduction in hours before April 1, 2021. This notice must be sent by May 31, 2021.
Working through issues related to a separation of employment can be challenging. Negotiating a separation of employment agreement can be even more difficult if the departure is contentious. Employers are often confronted with the question of whether a non-disparagement clause should become part of the agreement.
On May 5, 2021, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act) into law. Under the new law, employers are required to implement several workplace safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, the CDC updated its guidance regarding masks for individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the latest CDC recommendations, persons who are fully vaccinated can resume their indoor and outdoor activities without the need to wear a mask or engage in social distancing, unless there is a federal, state or local law that requires those measures. This includes being able to engage in domestic travel without the need to test for COVID-19 before or after travel or the need to quarantine after returning.
Over the past few months, the increased availability of the COVID-19 vaccine has created a host of questions for employers. Can employers require employees to get vaccinated only during non-work hours? Do they have to compensate employees who take time off work to get vaccinated? The city of Chicago recently enacted an ordinance that answers both questions (and a few more).