OSHA Issues COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Certain Health Care Settings and Updates its Guidance for All Industries

On Thursday, June 10, 2021, OSHA issued its first Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in 38 years, providing long-awaited guidance for health care settings that deal directly with patients suspected or confirmed to be COVID-19 positive. This ETS will remain in effect until a permanent standard is in place or OSHA determines there is no longer a grave danger to the covered workforce.

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Summary of Revisions to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

UPDATE: Cal/OSHA Withdraws June 3, 2021 revised ETS. In a special meeting held on the evening of June 9, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Board met to consider the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and California Department of Public Health regarding masking. The Board voted unanimously to withdraw the revisions to Cal/OSHA’s revised ETS that they had voted to approve on June 3, 2021, and that were set to go into effect on June 15, 2021 (pending approval from the Office of Administrative Law).  In a press release, Cal/OSHA stated that it will review the new mask guidance, bring any recommended revisions to the Board and that the Board could consider new revisions at a future meeting, perhaps as early as the regular meeting on June 17, 2021. In the meantime, the Cal/OSHA’s ETS adopted in November of 2020 will continue to remain in effect. Faegre Drinker will continue to monitor and provide insights with respect to Cal/OSHA’s revised ETS as well as other COVID-19-related topics. Insights will be updated on the firm’s COVID-19 Resource Center.

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Ontario Extends Temporary Relief from the ESA’s Termination and Severance Provisions

On May 29, 2020, the Province of Ontario enacted Ontario Regulation 228/20, Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (the “IDEL Regulation”), under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). The IDEL Regulation retroactively reclassified any temporary layoff that occurred during the COVID-19 Period as an infectious disease emergency leave (“IDEL”). On June 4, 2021, the Ontario government amended the IDEL Regulation to define the “COVID-19 Period” as the period between March 1, 2020 and September 25, 2021. As a result of this extension, non-union employees with reduced or eliminated work hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic are considered not to be on layoff under the ESA, but instead continue on deemed IDEL.
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Amendments to the Illinois Freedom to Work Act: Significant Changes Coming to Illinois Noncompete and Nonsolicitation Agreements

While restrictive covenants abound in the employment landscape, the Illinois legislature is shoring up efforts to rein in the use of such agreements. The latest push? A bill to amend the Illinois Freedom to Work Act to expand the ban on noncompetes to a larger population of workers and provide certain rights to employees who are asked to sign noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements as a condition of employment. With Gov. J.B. Pritzker poised to sign that bill, employers should begin evaluating how those amendments will impact their use of noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements and what changes will be necessary to comply with the new law.

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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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