Time to Hit Reset on Remote Worker Expectations?

Many employers, reflecting on the challenging circumstances created by COVID-19, have temporarily bypassed traditional performance scoring for 2020 in favor of more flexible rating schemes. But as organizations increasingly settle into a new paradigm with expanded remote work, managers and human resources leaders face the challenge of recalibrating expectations for how such work will be managed and evaluated moving forward.

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EEOC Issues New COVID-19 Guidance Addressing Vaccinations in the Workplace

Today, after much anticipation and just in time for the Memorial Day holiday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released updated guidance on COVID-19 vaccination issues raised under federal equal employment laws. We outline five things you need to know about the new guidance.

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Another Lawsuit Challenging Employer COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates

Faegre Drinker previously reported on one of the first lawsuits challenging a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. As employers continue to evaluate employee vaccination, another lawsuit has been filed in the Central District of California, California educators for Medical Freedom et al v. The Los Angeles Unified School District et al., 21-cv-02388 (C.D. Cal. filed 3/17/2021).

The California Educators for Medical Freedom, along with seven employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District, are seeking injunctive relief and potential damages due to a vaccine mandate instituted in March of 2021. Plaintiffs were allegedly told that if they were not vaccinated by April of 2021, they could face a “job detriment, up to and including termination from employment.”

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COVID-19 Vaccination Planning for Employers: Questions to Consider for Policy and Practice

As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely accessible, and certain localities relax COVID-19 restrictions, employers hoping to ramp up on-site operations or reduce absenteeism face a new challenge: navigating employee vaccination. Employers are evaluating whether to mandate, strongly suggest or simply remain neutral regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and on-site work.

The considerations surrounding workplace vaccination programs are complex. Business justifications and accommodation issues, potential public relations and employee relations pitfalls, the impact of vaccination on workforce safety procedures, litigation risks on multiple fronts — these are just the beginning. To help piece together this business and regulatory puzzle, we have compiled a list of issues organizations should consider as they set policy and communication plans regarding on-site work and COVID-19 vaccines. We have also identified issues to consider with regard to the practical application of any such policy and the development of related communications to employees or others.

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Now What? COVID-19 + Flu Season

Many workplaces are likely to see a rise in flu activity at the same time as an increased rate of COVID-19 infections. The paramount concern for all employers should be keeping sick workers out of the workplace. Now is the time to get ahead of the questions that are likely to arise. The CDC’s and other guidance will certainly continue to evolve, and it is important to continue to monitor developments and adjust policies accordingly. However, having a plan in place will bode well for employers and employees alike and will provide a solid starting place to incorporate new guidance as it is issued.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Revised DOL FFCRA Rules Narrow Health Care Provider Exemption, Ease Advance Notice Requirements

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued revisions to its Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid leave rules on Friday, in response to a New York federal court ruling that struck down portions of the original rule issued in April. FFCRA, enacted by Congress in March as a stimulus measure, provides eligible workers for up to two weeks of paid leave, subject to caps, for certain coronavirus-related absences, and up to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave to care for children who are at home due to school or day care closures. The rule updates are scheduled to go into effect September 16.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.