Can California Employers Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine?

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has updated its COVID-19 FAQs and has issued its long-awaited guidance regarding employers mandating COVID-19 vaccines.

As a preliminary matter, the DFEH explained that it is not providing guidance on whether or to what extent an employer should mandate vaccination within its workforce. Rather, the DFEH stated that its guidance/FAQs are to address how employers comply with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) if employers require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an FDA-approved vaccine.

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Minnesota Employers Are Given the Green Light to Return to the Office, Subject to Continued Limitations

On March 12, 2021, nearly one year to the day after Minnesota declared a peacetime emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 21-11, which rolls back certain restrictive measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief among the changes is a relaxation of the mandate that all employees who are able to work remotely must do so. Commencing on March 25, 2020, pursuant to Executive Order 20-20, Minnesota employees have been required to work remotely whenever they are able. This requirement will cease on April 14, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Employers are now strongly encouraged to allow Minnesota-based employees to work from home when they are able to do so. Employers are also strongly encouraged to implement reasonable accommodations for those employees who are at-risk for infection or who reside with a household member with an underlying medical condition that has not yet become eligible for vaccination. This softens obligations previously set forth in Executive Orders 20-54 and 20-55 in light of the expanded access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Getting Into the Weeds: What the Legalization of Recreational Cannabis Means for New Jersey Employers

New Jersey recently joined a growing number of states and territories — including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, California, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington — legalizing recreational marijuana or cannabis. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy enacted the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) on February 22, 2021 — legalizing the recreational use of cannabis for adults ages 21 and older — after New Jersey voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative last November. The law comes with new employment protections for off-duty cannabis users that will significantly change how employers screen and conduct drug testing of job applicants and employees.

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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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OFCCP Updates FY 2020 Supply & Service Pre-audit Scheduling List

Today, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced updates to its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Supply and Service Scheduling List by removing establishments previously selected for a focused review or compliance check. The amendment will have no impact on contractors with open or unscheduled audits. Remaining selected contractors should start reviewing their compliance efforts to reduce the risk of noncompliance findings.

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New York City Council Imposes Stricter Discipline Requirements on Fast Food Employers

In an expansion of the Fair Workweek Law, the New York City Council has passed legislation permitting quick-service restaurant employers to terminate employees only for just cause or a bona fide economic reason. These heightened requirements effectively eliminate the at-will status of industry employees and create a discipline structure similar to that bargained for by unionized workforces. With the new protections set to take effect in July, employers should begin drafting and implementing policies to comply with the new laws as soon as practicable.

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