Category Archives: Workplace Safety & OSHA

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Weed and the Workplace: Recent Developments in New York, Virginia, and Colorado

Employers take note: recently New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use through Senate Bill 854A, and Virginia is not far behind. These and other developments related to marijuana continue to impact the workplace.… Continue Reading

Mandatory Versus Voluntary Vaccinations: An Employer Guide

With COVID-19 vaccines now available to every adult in the United States, employers are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel after a year of uncertainty. But for employers whose workforces spent a year away from the office, a safe return to normalcy presents new legal, practical, and ethical questions.… Continue Reading

Considering Incentives for Employee COVID-19 Vaccines – Tips and Traps

Despite this week’s well-publicized hiccups with concerns having been raised about the safety of certain COVID-19 vaccines, our country’s march toward widespread community vaccination continues. American employers are eying society’s increasing vaccination rates with interest and optimism, as a critical component of their safe and secure workplace strategies and physical return-to-work operational plans.

Certain large employers are going so far … Continue Reading

Facing Exposure: Dealing with Mask Refusers in the Workplace

As various states (Texas, Mississippi, Montana, Iowa, and many more) have done away with mask mandates and as vaccinations become more widely disseminated amongst the general population, many individuals may be emboldened to throw their face coverings in the trash and never look back. However, employers may be hesitant to lift mask requirements and other COVID-19 protocol in their workplaces … Continue Reading

Be Prepared For Increase In COVID-19 Inspections Under OSHA’s New National Emphasis Program

On March 12, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) designed to significantly reduce worker exposure to COVID-19 by targeting industries and worksites where employees may have a high frequency of close-contact exposures. The new NEP on COVID-19 has two main components:… Continue Reading

Do the Business Liability Shield Laws Give Employers Immunity From COVID-19 Lawsuits

Not really. Like the COVID-19 vaccines, these “business liability shields” may provide a layer of protection for some employers, but they in no way guarantee immunity from lawsuits. Since early last year, business leaders expressed concerns about continuing with operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—mainly because they feared exposing their businesses to lawsuits arising from the transmission of the virus. Indeed, … Continue Reading

COVID Infections May Be Down But COVID Lawsuits Are Up: What Employers Should Consider

It comes as no surprise that employee claims against employers are on the rise. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a drastic decline in newly filed employment-related lawsuits. The decline was likely the result of shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions on working in the workplace. However, the months of November 2020 and December 2020 saw a … Continue Reading

Employees Starting to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine – Now What?

Despite some employees receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, employers should still require workers to wear face coverings and remain physically distant to help prevent the spread of the virus, according to updated guidance by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, as of February 14, … Continue Reading

What Employers Can Expect From a Biden Presidency: Part III, the Winds of Change are Upon Us

With the certification of the Electoral College votes complete, Joe Biden will become President on January 20 and no doubt usher in sweeping changes. If you want to know what to expect, join us for a webinar on Tuesday, January 19 at noon Eastern. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview:… Continue Reading

Employers May Compel COVID-19 Vaccinations, But…

Employers may require employees in the workplace to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to newly issued guidelines from the EEOC. But employers may not necessarily terminate an employee who refuses.

While the vaccine may still be months away for most Americans, employers should prepare now for the issues that will arise, including those relating to pre-vaccination screening, administering the vaccine, … Continue Reading

What California Employers Need to Know About The Emergency Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Regulations

Nearly all California employers must take steps now to comply with the requirements imposed by the new slate of emergency regulations intended to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in California workplaces. These regulations, adopted by CAL/OSHA on November 30, 2020 are immediately effective. Here is what employers need to know now to protect their businesses and their employees.… Continue Reading

California’s Sweeping Expansion of Employment Laws

California has enacted a host of new laws impacting family and medical leave, coronavirus reporting obligations, workers compensation, pay gap data, worker classifications, and more. Here are the highlights, including when employers must abide by the new laws.… Continue Reading

Screening for COVID-19? Update Your Protocol!

Employers screening for COVID-19 should consider updating their screening and other protocols following new guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and a new study on how long the coronavirus can live on surfaces.

The new definition greatly expands persons who will be considered close contacts, and is just the latest change prompted by what scientists have … Continue Reading

Can Employers Require that Employees Get the Flu Shot?

Flu season is upon us. Can employers require a flu shot? More importantly, should they?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that getting a flu vaccine this year is “more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Related Litigation Surges: What Employers Can Do To Minimize Exposure

The much-anticipated surge of COVID-19 pandemic-related litigation has begun. As the pandemic continues to lay siege to the United States economy, claimants’ lawyers and government agencies have begun setting their sights on employers.… Continue Reading

Screening Employees for Symptoms: Perils and Pointers

Screening employees for symptoms of COVID-19 is critical to limiting both the spread of the virus and a company’s exposure to claims that it did not do enough to protect its employees. But screening itself can create other liabilities, so you will want to be sure your process follows recommended federal, state and local regulations and guidance. Both the U.S. … Continue Reading

Time to Update (or Implement!) Your COVID-19 Safety Plan

Do you have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place? If not, you had best get started.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have recommended having such a plan since the beginning of the pandemic, and have recently updated their guidance to spell out exactly what such plans should address. In some … Continue Reading

Avoiding Potential Workplace Claims Arising from Reopening of Businesses

As employers contemplate or commence reopening, they should be cognizant of potential workplace claims which are likely to escalate in the COVID-19 era. Such claims can arise out of a wide range of situations, including: deciding which employees should be brought back to the worksite first, which should be allowed to continue to telework and where there isn’t sufficient work, … Continue Reading

Re-Opening For Business: Is Your Workplace Ready?

Employers face a myriad of issues in thinking through whether and how to re-open for business after mandatory closures, or how to thoughtfully phase out teleworking models currently in place for ongoing enterprises. While federal, state, and local authorities haggle over who will decide which businesses can re-open and under what circumstances, employers should start preparing now. In particular for … Continue Reading

Buyer Beware – FBI Warns of Fraud Involving Procurement of PPE and Other COVID-19 Supplies

Many employers are now making plans to have their employees return to the workplace. Based on recent alerts from the FBI, part of preparing to protect workers from COVID-19 at work should include protecting the company from falling prey to fraudsters. To do that, employers should put in place procedures to carefully screen vendors from whom they will purchase COVID-19 … Continue Reading

About-Face on Face Masks

On Sunday, April 12, 2020, New York became the latest jurisdiction to require employers to supply cloth or surgical masks to employees who are essential workers interacting with the public. The development is the latest reflecting how rapidly guidance on face masks has changed with the COVID-19 pandemic.… Continue Reading

Paid Sick Leave and Other Relief Coming for Employees Affected by COVID-19

Employers with fewer than 500 employees will be required to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for certain employees impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and will receive a tax credit in return under an emergency bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this weekend. The Senate is expected to consider the bill this week and President … Continue Reading

Declaration of COVID-19 as a Pandemic Changes Rules for Employers

The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020 finally acknowledged that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a pandemic. That designation changes the rules for employers.

The standard for justifying disability-related inquiries and medical examinations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is now easier to meet, based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Guidance for Pandemic Preparedness from … Continue Reading

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