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On January 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion on the application for stay filed in National Federal of Independent Business v. Department of Labor. In that opinion, a six-member majority of the Court ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had exceeded its authority in issuing an emergency technical standard requiring the vaccination of employees of larger employers.
Continue Reading Off Again: United States Supreme Court Blocks OSHA COVID-19 ETS

Late Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an Order and Opinion lifting the stay that previously had been entered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which had prevented the OSHA COVID-19 emergency technical standard (the “ETS”) that applied to employers with 100 or more employees from going into effect. This reversal puts many employers in the position of having to immediately restart compliance efforts that may have been paused during the pendency of the stay.

Continue Reading On Again; Sixth Circuit Lifts Stay on OSHA COVID-19 ETS

Nearly two months after President Biden unveiled his COVID-19 Action Plan, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that requires all employers with at least 100 employees to establish, implement, and enforce a written policy mandating that each employee either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing and wear face coverings indoors. OSHA clarifies that the ETS is meant to strongly encourage employers to stipulate that its employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but includes a narrow testing and face covering exception—at least for now.


Continue Reading OSHA Releases Highly Anticipated Vaccine Mandate ETS

Although the State of Michigan announced several weeks ago that employers would be permitted to require employees to return to “in-person” work, the emergency rules issued by MIOSHA prohibiting in-person work remained in place. Those emergency rules were rescinded earlier today and replaced with a new set of emergency rules that will remain in effect until October 14, 2021.

Continue Reading MIOSHA Issues Revised Emergency Rules Governing Return To Work

Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the promise of an effective vaccine has been held out as a key component to a return to normality. Now, with the Pfizer vaccine approved, and the Moderna vaccine on the path to approval shortly, employers have begun struggling to determine what their legal obligations are towards employees who refuse to be vaccinated. While we have addressed these issues recently in a Dec. 16 webinar, the EEOC issued guidance to employers in the form of a Technical Assistance Bulletin to clarify how employers should address employee objections to vaccination that arise under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. While that guidance is not binding upon employers or the Courts, it is nonetheless useful to employers contemplating the legal restrictions that may exist in addressing vaccination in the workplace.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Technical Assistance Regarding Vaccination and Anti-Discrimination Laws

The Emergency Rules Were Issued In Response to the Michigan Supreme Court’s Decision Invalidating Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders

The Michigan Supreme Court’s decision that Governor Whitmer lacked the power to extend her declaration of emergency past April 30, 2020 resulted in the invalidation of numerous emergency orders, including those that imposed specific obligations upon employers to provide workplaces safe from potential coronavirus exposure. To fill that gap, on Wednesday, October 14, the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity issued emergency rules under the state Administrative Procedures Act that impose several requirements upon employers in the state of Michigan. Those rules, which are issued under Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Act, are effective immediately and remain in effect for six months.
Continue Reading Michigan Issues Emergency COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rules With Immediate Effect

We reported last month on a decision by a New York federal court that rejected portions of the Department of Labor regulations implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) leaves signed into law earlier this year. The FFCRA created rights for employees of employers with fewer than 500 employees, and all public employers, to take up to 10 days of paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) for various COVID-19 related reasons, and another 10 weeks of paid leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”) for leaves necessitated by COVID-19 related school and day care closures. The court held that the following FFCRA rules were improper:

  • A rule allowing for intermittent FFCRA leaves only if the employer and the employee agreed to the use of leave time intermittently;
  • A rule denying FFCRA benefits to employees who are unable to work due to FFCRA-covered reasons when the employer does not have work for those employees (for example, when the employee would be on furlough status due to a COVID-related reduction in force);
  • A rule allowing employers of health care providers to exclude a broad range of employees from the FFCRA’s benefits; and
  • A rule allowing employers to require documentation of the need for FFCRA leave time prior to the leave’s commencement.


Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor Issues Revised Regulations Implementing FFCRA Leaves Following New York Court’s Decision

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) a few hours after the Senate approved the bill. Among other things, the new law, with which all employers must comply by April 2, 2020, requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide two weeks’ paid leave to employees who need to take time off because of an actual or potential illness related to COVID-19, to care for family members who are home ill or quarantined because of COVID-19 exposure or to care for children who are home because of school or care provider closures linked to the ongoing global pandemic. The new law also requires employers to provide employees up to 12 weeks’ leave, with 10 weeks paid, for employees who have to take time off to care for children who are home because of school or daycare closure. Notably, in a substantial change from the bill passed by the House of Representatives on March 14, 2020 (discussed here), the law does NOT require paid leave for a longer period for employees home sick or self-quarantining because of potential COVID-19 exposure.
Continue Reading Families First Coronavirus Response Act Signed Into Law, Imposing Paid Leave Requirements On Small And Medium Employers Beginning April 2, 2020

On March 14, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). While the bill has not yet been passed by the Senate, the White House has indicated that it supports and intends to sign the bill into law once the Senate has an opportunity to address its provisions, which will likely be sometime early this week.
Continue Reading House of Representatives Passes Far-Ranging Paid Sick and Family Leave Legislation for Workers Impacted by COVID-19