OSHA Releases Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)

On Nov. 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a federal emergency temporary standard (ETS) to address the danger of COVID-19 infection in the workplace. Affected employers will be required to comply with most provisions of the ETS by Dec. 5, 2021, and with its testing requirements by Jan. 4, 2022. Affected employers include private employers with 100 or more employees (firm- or company-wide count). State plans will have 30 days to adopt the federal ETS or implement their own vaccination standard.

ETS Requirements
The ETS requires employers to:
·  Develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy; or
·  Create a policy allowing employees to choose to get a vaccination or wear a face covering in the workplace and have weekly COVID-19 testing done.
Employers must determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination and keep a roster of each employee’s vaccinations status.

White House Guidance
to Federal Contractors

Previously, federal contractors had to be fully vaccinated by December 8. However, that deadline has been adjusted to align with the January 4 deadline for all employers with more than 100 employees.

The White House has released a NEW set of FAQs meant to provide flexibility to employers who are federal contractors and subcontractors in their efforts to satisfy the December 8, 2021 deadline for their employees to be fully vaccinated. These latest FAQs are intended to give some clarity while also grace to those contractors making good-faith efforts to reach compliance with new COVID-19 workplace safety protocols.

In issuing these new FAQs, the Biden Administration appears to be acknowledging that December 8 was an unrealistic deadline for imposing sweeping vaccination mandates for federal contractors and subcontractors. While covered employers still face significant burdens to achieve compliance, they at least have additional time and flexibility to do so.

Read Spencer Fane's articles below:

New EEOC FAQ's on Requests
for Religious Exceptions

On Oct. 25, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued six new answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how employers should handle employee requests for religious exceptions to their workplace COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The FAQs address rules that apply to this type of request under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), which is a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination based on religion and other protected traits.

This Compliance Bulletin provides the six new FAQs below. Employers that are subject to Title VII and other federal fair employment laws should not only become familiar with these FAQs but also review the EEOC’s full guidance on COVID-19 and federal fair employment laws. The EEOC initially issued that guidance on March 18, 2020, and updated it several times since. 

An employer is subject to Title VII if it has 15 or more employees. Smaller employers may be subject to similar rules under applicable state or local laws.

Employee Handbook Updates
For our handbook clients, we will be distributing updates and recommended revisions via email.

If you haven't reviewed your handbook recently, now would be an ideal time to schedule that with us.

There has never been more moving pieces and policy updates than what is being seen right now. Make sure you are meeting compliance needs and best practices.

Impact of Diversity
& Inclusion on Liability

In recent years, senior leadership teams have been held increasingly accountable for their organizations’ failures by shareholders, stakeholders and the general public. Organizations’ diversity and inclusion practices have garnered additional scrutiny. Certain social initiatives have helped elevate awareness and how directors and officers liability (D&O) has increased.

Keep reading to better understand the ramifications that senior leaders could face from poor diversity and inclusion measures, the latest legislation regarding such measures, and top tips for fostering diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

What the 'Great Resignation' Means for the U.S. Economy

A historic 19 million Americans - amounting to roughly 12 percent of the civilian labor force - quit their jobs between April and the end of August, and many more are looking to make the jump.

Nearly half of America's workers (48 percent) are actively job searching or watching for opportunities, according to Gallup, up from 46 percent in 2019. The trend isn't just prevalent in one industry; workers in all job categories, from customer service roles to highly professional positions, indicate they were looking to make a switch.

Read what ABA Banking Journal had to say...

A U.S. Bank Unionizes For
1st Time in 40 Years
Springfield Business Journal reported recently about the Employees of California-based Beneficial State Bank becoming the first to unionize in 40 years.

An article by Quartz says, "No doubt a union push will be a challenge at US banks, where fewer than 1% of workers are unionized."

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