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Emily Schifter works with clients on a wide variety of labor and employment-related matters, including employment discrimination, leave, disability accommodation, and wage and hour litigation. Additionally, she counsels employers on many aspects of employment law and human resources issues.

Q: Did the U.S. Supreme Court issue a ruling in the challenge to OSHA’s vaccine and testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) and CMS interim final rule (IFR)?

A: Yes. On January 13, the Court granted the applications for stays of the OSHA ETS. Conversely, the Court granted the federal government’s request to overturn the injunctions that had halted the IFR.
Continue Reading US Supreme Court Issues Rulings in Challenge to OSHA Vaccine and Testing ETS and CMS Interim Final Rule

Q. What is the status of the Sixth Circuit’s consideration of the challenges to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), and how does it impact the upcoming deadlines set by the ETS?

A. As discussed in our previous alert, on November 5, OSHA published an ETS that would require private employers with 100 or more employees to establish, by January 4, 2022 either (1) a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy; or (2) a vaccination policy that requires employees to either be fully vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work. The ETS would also require covered employers, by December 6, to: (1) determine the vaccination status of all employees; (2) provide leave for them to get vaccinated and recover from side effects of vaccination; and (3) ensure unvaccinated employees wear face coverings at work. Multiple challenges were filed over the ETS after OSHA’s issuance of the ETS, and, on November 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was selected by lottery to hear the consolidated challenges to OSHA’s recent ETS, including the Fifth Circuit’s extension of a nationwide stay of the ETS on November 12.


Continue Reading Final Sixth Circuit’s Briefing Schedule Likely Delays the December 6 Deadline Set by OSHA’s ETS

Q: What do employers need to know about recent state and local laws providing for protections for gig workers?

A: Employers and businesses are likely familiar with recent changes to rescind more employer-friendly, Trump-era FLSA regulations governing independent contractor classification and joint employment status, which we previously covered. However, employers may be less familiar with various new laws being passed or considered by cities and states that provide additional protections specific to “gig” workers — i.e., those independent contractors who perform “on-demand” services.
Continue Reading State and Local Laws Require Greater Protections for Gig Workers: What Employers Need to Know

Q: Now that DOL-OSHA announced its COVID-19 vaccine ETS for private-sector workers, what does my company need to do to adhere to the guidelines?

A: On November 4, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an emergency temporary standard (ETS), containing the anticipated COVID-19 vaccination rule covering private companies with 100 or more employees. The ETS became effective immediately on November 5 upon its publication in the Federal Register. On November 6, the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals granted an emergency motion to stay enforcement of the ETS effectively nationwide, pending further action by the court, which could come as early as November 9 at 6 p.m. ET. Other challenges to the ETS’s enforcement have been filed in the Eighth, Sixth, and Eleventh circuits thus far.


Continue Reading DOL-OSHA Announces New COVID-19 Vaccine ETS for Private-Sector Workers

Q: What do employers need to know about the Biden administration’s new vaccine mandate?

A: Following the Biden administration’s September 9 announcement, employers are brimming with questions about the forthcoming White House COVID-19 vaccination mandate plan. Must all employers mandate the vaccine? Which employees are covered? When will the requirements take effect? What steps should employers take now to prepare? These and many other questions are yet to have complete answers. With the new rules expected to impact as many as 100 million workers (and with them, a significant number of businesses), employers should begin to prepare as soon as possible. Here’s what we know and what employers need to consider.


Continue Reading Biden Administration Announces Vaccination Mandate Rules

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Thursday, July 15 • 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET

Please join members of the Troutman Pepper Labor and Employment and Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Teams, along with guest Steve Kapper, Associate Client Partner at Korn Ferry, as they discuss the “new” workplace and how to prepare for the next pandemic/economic recession.

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Q: Are there any state laws employers should think about when implementing COVID-19 vaccine policies?

A: Yes, multiple states have passed or are considering laws related to COVID-19 vaccine policies.

Savvy employers tracking the latest guidance likely know the many sources of federal guidance pertaining to COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made headlines with its May 13 guidance loosening face mask and distancing restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, as did the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with its updated COVID-19 vaccine Q&As. Just recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an emergency temporary standard for health care employers and updated guidance for employers in other sectors. As if that wasn’t enough, multiple states also have passed laws impacting employers looking to implement a COVID-19 vaccination program.
Continue Reading Move Over, CDC: State Laws May Impact Employers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Plans

Q: What Does the $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Mean for Employers?

A: On March 11, nearly a year after the enactment of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and CARES Act, and three months after the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, President Biden signed a sweeping $1.9 trillion stimulus package called the American Rescue Plan. The headline-grabbing elements of the American Rescue Plan include $1,400 direct payments to individuals earning below a certain income threshold, $160 billion for COVID-19 vaccine and testing programs, and $360 billion for aid to state, local, and territorial governments. Critical to employers, the American Rescue Plan once again extends federal unemployment insurance benefits and modifies employee entitlement to COVID-19-related leave under the FFCRA.


Continue Reading The $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan

Q: Are employers immune from liability for issues related to COVID-19?

A: As the pandemic continues and COVID-19 vaccines slowly but surely begin to reach more widespread distribution across the country, many employers continue to worry about potential liability in their workplaces for claims involving COVID-19 infections, along with a host of other claims related to employment.


Continue Reading More States Consider COVID-19 Immunity Laws as Employment Lawsuit Filings Trend Upward

Q: What do I need to know about conducting workplace diversity and racial sensitivity training in light of Executive Order 13950?

Conscientious employers understand the importance of offering training to their workforces on diversity, equal employment opportunity, and unlawful discrimination and harassment prevention. Many employers are reviewing and refreshing their training programs considering recent social justice activities and the Black Lives Matter movement, and still more have issued related public statements regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. But some of these employers (federal contractors) were thrown for a loop when President Trump issued Executive Order 13950 on September 22, titled “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.”

The executive order, which seeks to “combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” and end so-called “divisive concepts” promulgated in workplace employee trainings, prohibits certain covered government contractors from conducting diversity and inclusion trainings that cover topics suggesting people of a certain race or gender are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

The order applies to all contractors and subcontractors covered by Executive Order 11246 and over whom Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has jurisdiction. It does not define or limit the term “contractor.” Thus, it appears that the new training requirements apply to all employees of a covered contractor, not only those in the division that transacts business with the federal government.

Many questions remain about the executive order’s implications, including whether it will survive legal challenges or the upcoming presidential election.  For the time being, however, Executive Order 13950 is in effect, and the OFCCP has confirmed that its requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors will apply to contracts entered into on or after November 21, 2020.
Continue Reading Diversity, Equity, and Racial Sensitivity Training After Executive Order 13950