The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) bloodborne pathogens standard, 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1030, requires employers having employees with “occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials” to develop written exposure control plans designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure.
Though the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment in its entirety in Golden Glow Tanning Salon, Inc. v. City of Columbus, Mississippi, Judge James C. Ho’s concurrence raised an interesting issue of whether there is an unenumerated constitutional right to work that could limit the government’s ability to regulate business.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicked off on November 20, 2022, in a special late fall edition of the quadrennial tournament—highlighting the dangers of high-heat work environments. Typically held in June and July, the 2022 World Cup is being held in November and December this time to avoid the high summer temperatures in the Persian Gulf country—which average more than 100°F during the summer months—that can make it dangerous or difficult for players.
On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 6–3 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that expanded the right of Americans to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. More accurately, the Court significantly curtailed a state’s ability to restrict citizens’ right to carry firearms publicly for their self-defense.
On September 9, 2015, then U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates issued a memo, “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing,” that sent shivers down the spines of those in the workplace safety community.
On October 17, 2022, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) issued an agency instruction, the subject of which is “Interviews in Health and Safety Investigations.” The stated purpose of that agency instruction is to provide “clarification on proper procedures when conducting interviews for enforcement investigations under Section 29(1) of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
On October 25, 2022, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Richmond County, upheld a challenge to New York City’s vaccine mandate for public-sector employees, ordered the immediate reinstatement of and back pay to former New York City Department of Sanitation employees who had challenged the mandate, and declared the vaccine mandate for private-sector employees to be arbitrary and capricious.
This fall and winter season, employers in Germany have several developments in German employment law to put on their radars, including optional bonus pay due to the spike in energy costs; workplace safety and health measures related to heat, and separately, COVID-19; and annual leave entitlements.
On October 6, 2021, the Act to modernize the occupational health and safety regime took effect. As indicated in the act’s title, its purpose was to modernize Québec’s occupational health and safety regime with regard to the prevention and compensation of employment injuries.
Following on the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) issuance on October 14, 2022, of a State Public Health Officer (SPHO) order that clarified the definition of “close contact” and “infectious period” to provide entities with strategies for working together, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board issued a fifteen-day notice with requests for written comments on proposed updated COVID-19 regulations to Title 8 of the General Industry Safety Orders.
On September 29, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) No. 2243, an amendment to section 6721 of the California Labor Code that will ultimately lead to changes to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) heat illness and wildfire smoke standards (sections 3395 and 5141.1 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations).
On September 29, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) No. 1775, which sets workplace safety training and certification standards for companies that produce live events at publicly owned and operated venues.
On September 29 and 30, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed more than one hundred new pieces of legislation, several of which directly affect California employers.
Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall somewhere between Tampa, Florida, and the Florida panhandle this week as a Category 4 hurricane according to the National Hurricane Center.
On September 15, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published Directive Number CPL 02-00-169, a new instruction to its enforcement arm, updating policies and procedures for OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). The instruction, which took effect immediately, aims to expand the scope of the SVEP and target additional industries.
On September 20, 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York City’s private-sector vaccine mandate would become optional for businesses, beginning on November 1, 2022. The first-in-the-nation COVID-19 vaccination mandate for private-sector workers enacted by former mayor Bill de Blasio took effect on December 27, 2021.
On September 13, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) issued guidance regarding protection of workers from monkeypox (MPX) under the Aerosol Transmissible Disease (ATD) Standard, California Code of Regulations, Title 8 Section 5199.
The German government’s plans and actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months are becoming more concrete. On September 8, 2022, the German parliament passed new measures aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19 this fall and winter. This legislative initiative included rewriting the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, which is scheduled to be in effect from October 1, 2022, through April 7, 2023.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is moving forward with plans to update its standards to “clarify the requirements for the fit” of personal protective equipment (PPE) that must be provided to construction workers. On September 7, 2022, OSHA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)—a final step before publishing the proposed rule for comment.
On August 12, 20222, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a citation to a farm labor contractor alleging violations for exposing workers to high ambient outdoor heat following the death of a worker on a strawberry farm in Florida. The citation serves as warning for employers, particularly those in warm climates, of OSHA’s enforcement approach following the April 2022 launch of the agency’s new three-year national emphasis program (NEP) on indoor and outdoor heat-related hazards, particularly with regard to how working in the sunlight can create hazardous conditions.
The question of who provides workers’ compensation insurance in employer–staffing company relationships is handled in different ways. Frequently, the staffing company will provide workers’ compensation coverage for all individuals provided to the client company. Issues sometimes arise related to the client company’s and staffing company’s liability under a joint-employer theory for adverse employment actions involving workers provided by the staffing company to the employer. A Texas appellate court recently examined the scope of joint-employer liability in the workers’ compensation retaliation context.
On September 5, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom marked Labor Day 2022 by signing Assembly Bill (AB) No. 257, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act), into law. The new law creates the Fast Food Council within the California Department of Industrial Relations, which is tasked with setting minimum standards for fast-food industry workers related to wages, health and safety conditions, security in the workplace, the time off from work for protected purposes, and protections from discrimination and harassment.
On August 26, 2022, Chief U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissed a putative class action representing approximately 100 healthcare company employees brought against their employer, Geisinger Clinic. In the suit, the employees challenged their employer’s policy requiring employees to either be vaccinated for COVID-19 or agree to regular testing and quarantining. In dismissing the complaint, the court rejected the employees’ religious discrimination, constitutional, and state law claims, calling the employees’ evidence “a collection of distorted statements and anti-vaccine hocus-pocus.”
On August 29, 2022, the California Legislature passed a heavily amended version of Assembly Bill (AB) No. 257, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act), which would provide increased rights to California’s more than 500,000 fast-food workers. The bill is now headed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.
On August 31, 2022, the Biden administration updated its Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance on the federal contractor COVID-19 vaccine mandate. According to the new guidance, “the Federal Government will take no action to implement or enforce Executive Order 14042.
On August 26, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit narrowed the scope of a nationwide injunction that had barred enforcement of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 federal contractor vaccine mandate. In December 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia had issued a nationwide injunction, finding that President Biden had likely exceeded his authority under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act when he issued Executive Order 14042.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is holding off on deciding whether to revoke final approval of Arizona’s occupational safety and health (OSH) plan. On August 10, 2022, OSHA said it is extending the comment period on a proposed rule to revoke the state’s approval for another 60 days and postponed a public hearing tentatively scheduled for August 16, 2022.
The Colorado General Assembly was busy drafting and passing numerous employment laws during its 2022 legislative session, creating a wave of change for employers in the Centennial State.
On August 4, 2022, the Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency. The declaration follows the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration last month of monkeypox as a public health emergency of international concern.
On September 15, 2022, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will continue the long and arduous journey to establish COVID-19 safety measures in the workplace. Since the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) initial ETS took effect in November 2020, the Standards Board has addressed the evolving workplace safety challenges with a series of updates.