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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

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

OSHA updates guidance to track the latest CDC mask recommendations

By Mike O’Brien The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its COVID workplace safety guidance entitled, Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. OSHA’s latest update on Aug. 13 “reflect[s] the July 27, 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mask and testing recommendations for fully vaccinated people.” Prior to this update, OSHA had stated that fully vaccinated employees did not need to wear masks and that COVID safety precautions really were focused on protecting only unvaccinated workers. However, that guidance has now changed in response to the highly contagious Delta variant. OSHA’s guidance includes “recommendations,” that do not carry the force of law and “creates no new legal obligations.” Still, OSHA’s counsel likely becomes a standard of reasonableness… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

COVID-19 delta variant: What managers need to do

By Lynne Curry You’ve heard. Now you need to act. If you had hoped the pandemic had faded away, you need to buckle down once more. The highly contagious Delta variant has caused illness and hospitalizations to rise. While it spreads primarily among the unvaccinated, no one is immune. Further, new variants could prove even more threatening. What does that mean to you as an manager? To you as an employee? What do offices need to do to provide their employees and clients with safe workplaces? Keep infections out of the workplace If you’ve let yourself relax your safety precautions, you need to tighten them again to keep infections out of your workplace. Encourage vaccination. Vaccination remains your and your employees’ best method for staying COVID-free. If you’re an employer,… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Masks making a comeback and vaccine mandates are on

By Mike O’Brien Masks make a comeback On July 27, 2021, the CDC issued new guidance for people that have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Previously, the CDC had said that fully vaccinated individuals did not need to wear masks in public. However, largely in response to the spread of the Delta variant, the CDC now recommends wearing a mask indoors in public if you are in “an area of substantial or high transmission.” The CDC has provided a “county tracker” tool for determining what areas have “substantial or high transmission.” A large portion of the State of Utah appears to be in the high transmission range. So far, OSHA hasn’t weighed in on the CDC’s updated guidance, but when the CDC has issued mask guidance in the past, OSHA… . . . read more

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

What about guns in cars in the parking lot?

By Lynne Curry Question: Our office takes threats of violence seriously. We prohibit any act or threat of violence by or against any client, staffer, supplier, or visitor. Our policy applies to all employees, whether on or off company property. We specifically state that we prohibit any use or possession, whether legal or illegal, of weapons on company property or while on business for our practice. In our rural practice some of our employees use their personal vehicles for office business. We pay them $200 a month to compensate them. Can we enforce the no firearms policy for their vehicle while travelling for our office? Answer: According to Perkins Coie Senior Counsel Michael O’Brien, “Your company can enforce a no firearms policy while your employees are on company time. Because your… . . . read more

HIRING

An employee cyberstalks potential hires, looking for dirt

By Lynne Curry  According to rumor, one of my co-workers conducts unauthorized criminal background investigations on prospective employees without their knowledge or permission. This cyber-snoop doesn’t work in human resources but collects information and passes it along to the hiring managers. She’s also been known to interrogate employees after they’re hired about information she’s learned. We’ve also been told that, despite being married, this employee masquerades as a single woman on dating sites and essentially cyberstalks her targets. My co-workers and I don’t know what to do about this employee, as our members of our senior leadership team have indicated they support this woman one hundred percent. What can those of us who find this repugnant do about it? Answer:  According to employment and labor attorney Paul Wilcox, “It’s not surprising… . . . read more

QUIZ

Who has OSHA responsibility for the health & safety of a temp?

What are your OSHA duties to temporary workers (“temps”) whom you hire from a temp agency to work at your firm? Stated differently, are you or the temp agency responsible for the temp’s health and safety? Here’s a set of scenario quizzes that illustrate how the rules work. SCENARIO 1: RESPONSIBILITY FOR HAZCOM TRAINING The Temps R’Us Agency (Agency) assigns an employee to temporary work at XYZ Company (Company). Agency is perfectly aware that knows that Company’s workers handle and use hazardous chemicals. But the temp has no Hazcom training whatsoever. As a result, he suffers an injury as a result of exposure to a toxic chemical while working for Company. QUESTION Who’s responsible for providing the temp the required Hazcom training? Agency Company Both Neither ANSWER Both the Agency… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

Dare we ask our coworkers: Are you safe?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: We have a small eight-person office. We don’t interact with the public. Although we’ve worked remotely for the past year, we’ll be moving back into the office in the next few weeks. We’re generally looking forward to it, Most of my coworkers have been vaccinated. We talk on Zoom about how happy we are to have gotten vaccinated and compare side-effect stories. Two of our coworkers don’t participate in these discussions. I suspect they haven’t been vaccinated and don’t intend to get vaccinated. Am I allowed to ask? Is it necessary or appropriate to have different rules regarding masks for different employees; for example, “masks aren’t required unless a meeting includes person “x”? Can we forgo masks all the time and figure any unvaccinated employees… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Most of your law office employees are vaccinated. Now what?

By Lynne Curry bio Most of your office staff have received vaccines. Those who remain unvaccinated either haven’t decided whether they will or have refused to get vaccinated. What’s next? Can you relax your workplace protocols? New CDC guidance In recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided new COVID-19 guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.1 Fully vaccinated individuals may interact indoors with other vaccinated individuals without wearing masks or physical distancing. Fully vaccinated individuals, except for those who live in a group setting or themselves experience COVID-19 symptoms, no longer need to quarantine and test if they’ve been around someone who has COVID-19.2 Fully vaccinated individuals do need to wear a well-fitted mask, physically distance and practice other prevention protocols when interacting with unvaccinated individuals from multiple… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

How to create an enhanced cleaning and disinfection policy for your office

In the age of COVID-19, complying with the rigorous hygiene requirements of OSHA and other standards may not be enough. That’s because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health guidelines mandate that work facilities still in operation undertake special enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures. Here are the rules and how to comply. There’s also a Model Policy you can adapt for use at your own facility. What’s at Stake SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus, spreads by human-to-human contact and can live on a surface or object for up to seven days. The virus can be killed but it takes the right products and procedures. That’s why public health agencies are requiring employers to implement special cleaning and disinfection procedures as part of their workplace… . . . read more


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