Start Your FREE Membership NOW
 Discover Proven Ways to Be a Better Law Office Manager
 Get Our Weekly eNewsletter, Law Office Manager Bulletin,
    and MUCH MORE
 Absolutely NO Risk or Obligation on Your Part -- It's FREE!
EMAIL ADDRESS



Upgrade to Premium Membership NOW for Just $90!
Get 3 Months of Full Premium Membership Access
Includes Our Monthly Newsletter, Office Toolbox, Policy Center, and Archives
And MUCH MORE!
EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Supreme court blocks OSHA vaccine mandate

By Mike O’Brien In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued its opinion blocking OSHA’s vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more employees. The majority ruled on Jan. 13 that OSHA had exceeded its authority when it issued the vaccine mandate, concluding that OSHA has authority only “to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures.” The court found that COVID presents a “universal risk” not limited to the workplace that is “no different from day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases. Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.” Note: This decision addresses only the stay decisions… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Supreme Court to hear challenges to OSHA & CMS vaccination mandates this week

By Mike O’Brien On Dec. 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved the stay of OSHA’s vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more employees in a split 2-1 decision. Wasting no time, OSHA published a compliance update to provide new deadlines. Covered employers have through Jan. 10, 2022, to adopt and publish a vaccination policy, to ascertain and record employee vaccination status, and to implement a masking requirement for all unvaccinated employees. Employers have through Feb. 9, 2022, to begin collection of negative weekly COVID tests from unvaccinated employees. You’ll find that compliance update, and compliance resources, on OSHA’s website. Opponents of the vaccination mandate filed immediate challenges with the United States Supreme Court. On Dec. 22, 2021, the Supreme Court issued an order that it would hear oral arguments… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

Are religious exemptions a way out for employees or a tricky challenge for employers?

By Lynne Curry Question: If I’m to believe the stack of religious exemptions on my desk, a miracle unfolded in our company last week. Within days of announcing our mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, 90 percent of our unvaccinated employees found religion. I’m holding a dozen exemption requests that use an identical phrase, “This mandate directly affects my religious beliefs. The Bible tells me my body is a temple.” I suspect the few unvaccinated employees who haven’t yet claimed a religious exemption didn’t see what one of our employees helpfully posted next to the breakroom coffeepot. It says employees can refuse vaccinations because vaccines interfere with divine providence. What can we do? My HR officer and I understand we’re obligated to “reasonably accommodate” sincerely held religious beliefs. Except—if we accommodate these… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

What to do if an employee defies your mandatory vaccination policy

Mandatory vaccination policies have become a touchstone issue for employers in just about every industry. And all of this begs a question of crucial importance: What should you do when employees defy your law office’s mandatory vaccination policy? Your choices: Terminate them immediately Accommodate them immediately None of the above The answer is C, none of the above. It’s not that termination and accommodation aren’t valid options; it’s the word “immediately” that makes them the wrong choice. The 2 things to do when employees refuse mandatory vaccination Here’s what you should do if one of your employees refuses to comply with your mandatory vaccination policy. Step 1: Find Out Why They Won’t Get Vaccinated Before the pandemic, mandatory vaccination policies were rare and limited to sensitive sectors like health care… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Who knew vaccine requirements could be so much fun?

By Mike O’Brien  As you might recall, in one of our previous updates we cautioned that implementing workplace-vaccination requirements could be a bit tricky. It turns out, we were right—just ask the federal government. On Nov. 5, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Interim Final Rule regulating healthcare facilities (“Vaccination IFR”). The Vaccination IFR—which applies to most (but not all) healthcare facilities subject to CMS’s health and safety requirements—obliges covered businesses to develop and implement policies to (1) ensure that all staff is fully vaccinated against COVID-19; (2) track employee vaccination status, including boosters; and (3) grant and track vaccination exemptions, including those based on applicable federal law (e.g., the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act), or recognized clinical contraindications to COVID-19 vaccines… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Will employees resign rather than get vaccinated?

By Lynne Curry Many anti-vax employees threaten to quit when their employers announce they’re considering a vaccination mandate. This shakes the confidence of employers considering vaccination mandates. What’s the truth? Many employees remain vaccine skeptics; more than a third of U.S. adults remain unvaccinated. But do they quit if told their job depends on it? It depends on the industry and it’s fewer than you think. You’ll find employees who refuse vaccines for a variety of heartfelt reasons. Some don’t want to have anyone mandate a personal health decision. Others have heard stories about individuals who’ve experienced vaccine complications, overlooking that many have died, become gravely ill, or continue experiencing long-term complications from COVID-19 because the disease caught them before they became vaccinated. Many hospital workers can tell real-life stories… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

New technical guidance on religious exemptions to vaccination

By Mike O’Brien EEOC Issues New Technical Guidance on Religious Exemptions to Vaccine Mandates On Oct. 25 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new updates to its Covid-19 technical guidance. Specifically, the EEOC seeks to clarify employer obligations and employee rights related to religious exemptions to vaccine mandates. The guidance addresses the following questions: Does the employee need to use “magic words” to request an accommodation? Like requests for accommodation of a disability under the ADA, requests for religious accommodation need not use particular words or phrases like “religious accommodation” or “reasonable accommodation.” Instead, they simply need to communicate that there is a conflict between a sincerely held religious belief and a work requirement (such as a vaccine mandate). The EEOC notes that an employee may also have a religious… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

“Long COVID” looms ahead as leading ADA claim

By Mike O’Brien Legal commentators are already predicting that the condition now known as “long COVID” may displace back conditions as the leading impairment asserted in charges brought under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). CNN recently reported, “A large study has revealed that one in three Covid-19 survivors have suffered symptoms three to six months after getting infected, with breathing problems, abdominal symptoms such as abdominal pain, change of bowel habit and diarrhea, fatigue, pain, anxiety, and depression among the most common issues reported.” To date, COVID-19 has infected some 43 million Americans. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) already has opined here that “long COVID can be a disability under” the ADA. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agrees, citing the HHS paper. Guidance issued for federal contractor vaccine mandate… . . . read more

TOOL

Model Law Office Workplace Vaccine Passport Policy

Although courts have yet to weigh in on the issue, guidelines from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other regulatory agencies indicate that employers may implement vaccine passports if they perform a workplace assessment and determine that limiting entry to the vaccinated is a necessary health and safety measure to prevent an imminent risk. Employers must also ensure that their passport policies comply with anti-discrimination and privacy protection requirements. Here’s a Model Policy that you can adapt for use at your own medical office, depending on the workplace-specific circumstances involved.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

All private-sector employers with 100 or more employees must mandate vaccination or a weekly negative COVID-19 test

By Mike O’Brien President Biden spoke from the White House Sept. 9 to announce his new Path Out of the Pandemic Plan. Among other things, President Biden has instructed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop rules that will require private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their employees be vaccinated or receive a weekly negative COVID test. Employers who fail to do so will face fines. Some media outlets report that such fines could be up to $14,000 per violation. Along with President Biden’s spoken remarks, the White House also issued this statement: The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated… . . . read more


(-0)