On Friday, November 12, 2021, in BST Holdings, L.L.C, et al. v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Case # 21-60845, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order affirming its November 6, 2021 order, staying the implementation and enforcement of OSHA’s November 5, 2021 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The ETS requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that their employees who report to a workplace are vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. The Fifth Circuit, which many consider to be the most politically conservative of all the circuit courts, issued its order following an expedited briefing schedule, prompted by an emergency motion to stay the ETS filed by various individuals, employers, religious groups and states. Pending further judicial review, the order barred OSHA from taking steps to implement or enforce the ETS. In response, OSHA has suspended all activities related to the ETS for the time being, stating: “While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.” Businesses now face an uncertain future with OSHA conceding that it will abide by the court’s order while pursuing its reversal. Because similar challenges to the ETS have been brought in all but one of the 12 federal circuit courts of appeals, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will conduct a lottery as required by statute, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. §2112 (a)(3), likely this week, to select which federal circuit will hear appeals in the numerous challenges, including with respect to the Fifth Circuit’s order. Any outcome from the circuit selected in the lottery process may and likely will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several laws in 2021 that are impacting or will impact how employers interact with and manage their employees. From confidentiality and nondisparagement provisions in settlement agreements to production quotas in warehouses, we examine the laws that have gone into effect and which laws employers need to begin preparing for over the next one to two years.
2021 continues the trend of increasing regulation of the workplace by state and local governments. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this update provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay compliant. (Please note that developments specifically related to minimum wage rates and COVID-19 are not included.)
On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced his six-pronged COVID-19 Action Plan, which will have a significant impact on employers across the country by mandating vaccinations for many employees. Many key details — including what exemptions may apply to mandatory vaccinations — remain unknown until additional federal guidance is provided in the upcoming weeks.”
On July 29, 2021, the Biden administration announced that federal employees and onsite contractors must attest to being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or they will be required to wear a mask on the job and physically distance, comply with at least a weekly screening testing requirement, and restrict official travel. Private employers are encouraged to adopt similar safety protocols; such protocols will likely be required for federal contractors. Specifically, President Biden noted in his remarks that he was “directing [his] administration to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors. If you want to do business with the federal government, get your workers vaccinated.”
The second quarter of 2021 continues the trend of increasing regulation of the workplace by state and local governments. Several new and revised state and local workplace regulations became effective or will soon be effective, including a trend towards a broader inclusiveness in leave laws. This update reviews these new requirements and recaps Q2 state and local employment law developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance.