Summary of Cal/OSHA’s Non-Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations

On December 31, 2022, the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), as previously summarized, expire after being in place since November 2020. On December 15, 2022, the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards (Cal/OSHA) Board voted to adopt non-emergency COVID-19 regulations to replace the ETS.

The new regulations are set to take effect in January 2023 after the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) completes its review. Once finalized, the new regulations will remain in effect for two years (but the recordkeeping requirements will remain in effect for three years).

The non-emergency regulations contain some of the same requirements as the ETS, but they also include new provisions. According to Cal/OSHA’s updated Fact Sheet, the new provisions are intended to be easier for employers to follow and allow for greater flexibility if changes are made pursuant to California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance.

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U.K. Employment Law Update: Whistleblower Dismissal, Belief Discrimination and Long COVID

U.K. courts have faced novel employment questions regarding whistleblowers, discrimination over personal beliefs and whether long COVID can be a disability. Employers in the United Kingdom should keep a note of these recent rulings to inform their own policies.

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Eleventh Circuit Concludes That President Biden Likely Exceeded Authority by Issuing Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate

On August 26, 2022, the Eleventh Circuit held that President Biden likely exceeded his authority by issuing the federal contractor vaccine mandate and affirmed the district court’s injunction prohibiting the federal government’s enforcement of the mandate against the plaintiffs. But the court also determined that the nationwide injunction — which applied to any contractor anywhere in the United States, plaintiff or not — was a “drastic form of relief.” Accordingly, the court vacated the district court’s injunction to the extent that it bars enforcement of the vaccine mandate against contractors who are not parties to the lawsuit.

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U.K. Employment Law Update: Worker Status, Non-Compete Restrictions and COVID-19 Dismissal

Clarification on Worker Status

In Nursing and Midwifery Council v Somerville [2022] EWCA Civ 229, the Court of Appeal (CoA) considered whether an obligation on the part of a worker to perform a minimum amount of work was a prerequisite for worker status.

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Minnesota Frontline Worker Pay Program Application Period Opens

In April 2022, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed Frontline Worker Payments into law to aid Minnesotans who worked in one of 15 frontline sectors identified in the legislation. The public purpose of the law is to “provide payments to frontline workers whose work put them at risk of contracting COVID-19 during the peacetime emergency declared by the governor in Executive Order 20-01.” After the bill was signed into law, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) was tasked with developing an application process and guidance for employers and employees to facilitate the frontline worker pay program. DOLI opened the application period for the program on June 8, 2022, announcing the period will remain open through July 22, 2022.

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Summary of Cal/OSHA’s Revised COVID-19 ETS Adopted on April 21, 2022

On April 21, 2022, the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards (Cal/OSHA) Board voted to readopt its COVID-19 prevention emergency temporary standards (ETS) incorporating changes Cal/OSHA posted in preparation of its business meeting on April 21, 2022. If approved by the Office of Administrative Law (which is expected), the revised ETS will become effective upon filing by the Office of Administrative Law with the Secretary of State. This is the third readoption of the ETS, which was authorized by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order and will be in place until December 31, 2022.

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