The 2020 election saw the highest voter turnout in the U.S in over a century, breaking records nationwide despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Yet since then, many states have either proposed or enacted legislation to make it more difficult for voters to vote.
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On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced a six-pronged national strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.1 Several of these initiatives will significantly impact employers, the most notable being that all companies with 100 or more employees (including private employers) must require their employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.2 Large employers must also provide paid time off to employees for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or recover post-vaccination.3 While many large employers, including Google, Facebook, McDonald’s, Walmart, and Microsoft, had already announced some form of vaccine mandates, many other employers are still grappling with the decision. For better or worse, President Biden has taken the decision away from those employers subject to his action plan.
Only months after issuing guidance excusing most employers (outside of the healthcare and transportation industries) from taking steps to protect their workforce from COVID-19 exposure, the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”) seemingly backtracked. Based on increased risks associated with the Delta variant of the virus and updated direction from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), OSHA updated its prior COVID-19 safety guidelines on August 13, 2021 (“OSHA’s Update”). We address what OSHA’s Update provides; its legal/regulatory impact; and its impact on employers generally.
Lawrence & Bundy LLC is pleased to congratulate seven of its attorneys who were selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America® and Ones to Watch 2022. Leslie J. Bryan, Thomas R. Bundy III, Celeste Coco-Ewing, Maia Cogen, Kathy Glennon, Allegra J. Lawrence-Hardy, and Michelle L. McClafferty* received the distinction after undergoing Best Lawyers® extensive peer-review process.
Department of Labor Issues Updated COVID-19 Workplace Guidelines and Required Safety Standards for Healthcare Employers
On June 10, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued updated COVID-19 safety guidelines for all employers1 and a long-awaited Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”)2 containing safety requirements to protect workers who face the highest COVID-19 hazards – workers in healthcare settings treating suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. The updated guidelines were anticipated in light of the CDC’s updated guidance regarding safety protocols for fully vaccinated individuals. Employers in healthcare in particular should take note of the new standards.
On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued updated guidance, greatly expanding mask-free activities and limiting social distancing restrictions for fully vaccinated1 individuals (“Updated Guidance”).2 This guidance is based on the CDC’s findings that (1) studies demonstrate that currently authorized vaccines are highly effective at protecting fully vaccinated people against symptomatic and severe COVID-19, and (2) a growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have an asymptomatic infection or transmit COVID-19 to others.
Lawrence & Bundy LLC is pleased to once again be included in Chambers USA’s ranking of the leading law firms and lawyers in the country. Two of the firm’s attorneys, Allegra Lawrence-Hardy and Lisa Haldar, were also recognized for their exceptional experience and client service.
As COVID-19 inoculations in the U.S. slowly push back the immediate threat of the coronavirus, experts say employers should be aware that some workers will be dealing with mental health issues brought on or exacerbated by the pandemic.
The pace of employment law change continues to accelerate. We are often told the only constant is change. But can anything top the amount of unanticipated change employers experienced in 2020? We may discover in 2021. To succeed in this chaotic environment, employers need to be prepared to quickly recognize and adapt to new paradigms in the workplace. Click here for the issues and potential changes employers should consider as 2021 kicks off.
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