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.

Continue Reading Be prepared: Federal contractor vaccine and mask requirements are here

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.

Facts

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?

On Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, President Biden announced a new COVID-19 Action Plan. As part of the plan, the President has directed OSHA to issue a new temporary emergency standard that will require companies with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests. The OSHA standard will also require paid time off for employees to get the vaccine. The plan will also require healthcare employers to mandate that employees be vaccinated for COVID-19. Finally, the President’s Action Plan requires federal employees and employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Continue Reading President Biden directs OSHA to issue new temporary emergency standard to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or regular testing for companies with 100+ employees

Most employers are equipped to respond to employee allegations of harassment by co-workers or managers. However, there are added levels of difficulty when employees complain of harassment by a customer, contractor or other visitor to the business. In Sansone v. Jazz Casino Company, LLC (Sept. 1, 2021), a federal court of appeals recently ruled that an employee of Harrah’s Casino can go to trial on her claims that she was sexually harassed by a customer and that Harrah’s did not take sufficient steps to address her concerns. Continue Reading ‘But they don’t work for us!’ Best practices for handling employee claims of harassment by a customer

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently provided employers a useful reminder of how important it is to promptly investigate allegations of harassment, or other types of discrimination, even when it appears that such investigation may be fruitless.

In Jane Doe v City of Detroit, the court upheld summary judgment for Detroit on a transgender employee’s complaint of harassment. Specifically, the employee complained that an unknown person had defaced her nameplate by scratching the word “Mr.” on it, and she had received anonymous notes citing Bible verses, commenting on her transgender identity and stating that people like her should be put to death. Continue Reading Prompt investigation can be critical to avoiding liability for harassment