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.
The World Health Organization (WHO) director general declared the current outbreak of monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Similarly, San Francisco declared a public health emergency due to the increase in monkeypox cases and the state of New York declared the spread of the virus an “imminent threat to public health.”
Several cases of monkeypox has now been found in the United States. We do not yet know whether employers will need to worry about monkeypox in the context of their workforces and workplace, but it may be wise to be informed.
The Beltway Buzz is a weekly update summarizing labor and employment news from inside the Beltway and clarifying how what’s happening in Washington, D.C. could impact your business.
On October 25, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its technical assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The updated and expanded COVID-19 technical assistance adds a new section with information related to requests by applicants or employees seeking to be excused from COVID-19 vaccination requirements due to sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances.
On October 13, 2021, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson allowed a new law addressing mandated COVID-19 vaccines for employees to go into effect without his signature. The Arkansas legislation specifically allows employees to opt out of COVID-19 vaccine requirements by means other than the medical or religious exemptions allowed by federal law, and it requires employers to provide a specific exemption process.
The number of U.S. workers choosing to be vaccinated plateaued earlier this summer. As a result, employers, many of which hoped to return employees to the workplace in early fall, were left to debate whether to require employees to get vaccinated or to merely “strongly encourage” vaccination. Although many mandatory vaccination policies may pass legal scrutiny, they may nonetheless raise cultural tensions and raise the risk of losing employees in an already tight labor market.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the activities in which a “fully vaccinated” individual can engage. These new guidelines apply in non-healthcare settings.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addressed age discrimination issues related to COVID-19. Based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) explanation that individuals 65 years of age and older are at a higher risk for having a severe case of COVID-19 if they contract the virus, the EEOC encouraged employers to offer maximum flexibility to individuals in this age group. This flexibility was intended to offer older employees a way to continue to work even if they did not feel safe in the workplace.
Each year we review the validity of mandatory flu vaccinations. It is usually in the context of health care organizations, as few other employers have had the same need. In the last few years, the analysis has remained the same: (1) what is the justification (often, employee and patient safety); (2) will there be medical and/or religious exemptions; and, if so, (3) what is the accommodation (it has generally been wearing a mask all times at work).
Childcare is an essential component of any return-to-work plan. Without it, employees may assert that they are unable to return to work or may seek to continue to work remotely.
On May 17, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a 60-page document entitled CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again. In the document, the CDC (1) explains and expands upon the gating criteria articulated in President Donald Trump’s Opening Up America Again guidelines; (2) outlines the CDC’s various COVID-19 activities and initiatives, including monitoring the continued progression of COVID-19, support of increased contact tracing capacity, and other activities; and (3) provides testing guidance.
The recent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States has caused employers to be increasingly concerned and uncertain regarding the future of their workforces. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the latest developments on the virus and guidance from federal agencies.
It appears that we are in “hurry up and wait” mode. We know that COVID-19 (i.e., the 2019 Novel Coronavirus) has been diagnosed among individuals in the United States, and, reportedly, has been contained. We also know that upon diagnoses in South Korea and Italy, the virus began to spread rapidly. We have all been watching China to see how severely the closures of businesses would impact its economy and the global supply chain.
As the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak continues to develop, a number of workplace issues have arisen, including issues of quarantine, medical testing, and pay, and proactive employers are taking steps to protect and educate their employees.
Employers with employees traveling to and from China may want to take note that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on January 21, 2020, that the United States had confirmed its first case of a new strain of the coronavirus that appeared in Wuhan, China, last month. The virus has already sickened hundreds of people and is reported to have killed six, according to Chinese authorities.
On May 17, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 880 individual cases of measles had been confirmed in 23 states across the country in 2019. According to the CDC, the current outbreak of measles represents the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1994 and since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.
With flu season here and reported incidents of deaths caused by diseases thought to have been eradicated by vaccines on the rise, many healthcare providers are considering mandatory vaccination of employees.
Print, air waves, and social media have all been filled with stories of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of grossly inappropriate (if not, criminal) behavior over a long period of time. There is much discussion of who knew what and whether others enabled his alleged behavior. With the flood of allegations against Weinstein have come other allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior of other powerful men in multiple industries.
In the ever-changing healthcare industry, one consistent trend has emerged in recent years—a shift from physicians being employed by physician-owned practices to physicians being employed by larger healthcare entities. In the event a physician employment relationship deteriorates, and because a difficult physician separation can have substantial consequences, healthcare entities and physicians may want to consider a number of factors and steps that could avoid time-consuming and expensive litigation.
On March 15, 2017, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a ruling that enjoined the Trump administration’s revised executive order intended to suspend admission of foreign nationals from six designated countries. On March 16, a second federal judge also blocked the 90-day ban on immigration for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In response, President Trump vowed to continue pressing forward until his immigration order is successful.
Following the amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)—employers were told to refrain from asking employees whether they were disabled. The employer community took this instruction with a grain of salt, knowing that although the scope of employees covered under the amendments was significantly greater, there were certain conditions that did not constitute a disability. More recent case law may be proving that theory wrong and, instead, showing that “all” (or almost all!) employees are disabled.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued information on protection against disability discrimination in the form of four revised documents. The federal agency issued these guides, which are included in the EEOC’s “Disability Discrimination, The Question and Answer Series,” consistent with the EEOC’s Strategic Plan, which aims to provide…..