As we previously reported, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on mandatory COVID-19 vaccines on Nov. 4, 2021. Since then, a number of lawsuits have been filed challenging OSHA’s ability to enforce this ETS. Following a stay of those lawsuits by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the cases will be consolidated, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will rule on the fate of the ETS. Regardless of how the Sixth Circuit rules, the case is likely to be ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Continue Reading OSHA calls off enforcement of vaccine requirement – for now

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 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

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

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses across the country, employers are faced with the difficult question of how to keep their workplaces safe. Some employers are attempting to restrict off-duty employee conduct to limit high-risk behavior.

The National Football League (NFL) is one employer taking steps to regulate off-duty conduct to reduce risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL has apparently reached an agreement with the players’ association that restricts the players’ off-duty conduct in some surprising ways. Players are prohibited from attending indoor night clubs, concerts, and even indoor religious services that allow attendance above 25 percent capacity. If a player violates these rules and then tests positive for COVID-19, he will reportedly not be paid for any games he misses and future guarantees in his contract will be voided. The NFL and the players’ association have presumably entered into this agreement for two chief reasons: to minimize COVID-19 outbreaks among teams and, in turn, to increase the likelihood that NFL football can be played this season. Commentators have thrown some challenge flags at the agreement, however, due to its potential for punishing employees for engaging in lawful off-duty activities.
Continue Reading NFL is tackling off-duty conduct to reduce COVID-19 spread. Can your business, too?

Conventional understanding of unemployment benefits leads to the logical conclusion that when employees are capable of working and offered suitable employment, they are not entitled to collect unemployment benefits. But like many other things in the post-COVID-19 world, conventional thinking no longer rules the day.

Last week, on June 16, 2020, Gov. DeWine issued an Executive Order addressing unemployment benefits eligibility during the COVID-19 epidemic. It provides that when an employee is called back to work in the same position as before the Director of Health’s special orders, there is a presumption that the position is considered “suitable work” under the Ohio unemployment insurance program. However, an employee may refuse to return to work and still be eligible for unemployment compensation if “good cause” exists for the refusal.
Continue Reading When can an employee in Ohio refuse to return to work and still get unemployment?

On June 11, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released additional guidance covering topics like the well-intended exclusion of workers over the age of 65 who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are deemed to be at greater risk for severe cases of COVID-19. The guidance also covers issues related to  pregnancy, remote harassment and employees living with family members who are high risk due to underlying health conditions.
Continue Reading You know what they say about good intentions…Can an employer exclude employees 65+ from the workplace to prevent COVID-19 risk?