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.
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.”
On March 23, 2021, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Public Act 101-0656 into law, amending the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), the Business Corporation Act of 1983 and the Equal Pay Act of 2003 in ways that will significantly affect employers. Here’s an overview of what’s coming.
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.
Last week, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) firmed up its guidance to employers regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. Subject to certain restrictions and potential accommodation requests, the EEOC’s position is that employers may require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the workplace. Still, employers considering administering the vaccine, either directly or through a third party, should proceed with caution.
For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.
The work-from-home trend presents a host of employment law challenges, including unavoidable changes to how employers investigate and defend claims of hostile work environments. Non-traditional work settings may even give rise to new types of harassment and discrimination, challenging employers to rethink workplace policies and training to make sure they apply to all work environments, whether in the office or remote.