What’s Happening in HR – Newsletter  
 
By Michael F. Weiner, Legislative Director 9/9/2021

NLRB General Counsel Issues Memorandum Requiring Mandatory Submissions to Advice on Certain Issues
On August 12, 2021, the NLRB General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, issued Memorandum GC 21-04 requiring that certain cases be submitted for “advice” so the General Counsel’s office can determine whether change in these areas is required. Basically, the NLRB likely will overturn Trump-era rulings, which were more employer friendly, in the following areas:

1.    Employer handbook rules
2.    Confidentiality provisions/Separation agreements and instructions
3.    What constitutes protected concerted activity
4.    Remedial issues
5.    Union access
6.    Union dues
7.    Employee Status
8.    Board jurisdiction over religious institutions
9.    Employer duty to recognize and/or bargain
10. Deferral to arbitration

Recall, even non-union, private operations are subject to the NLRA’s reach. We can expect to see a return to the Obama-era policies during the upcoming months and years. The Memorandum can be found at GC- 21-04 Memorandum Here
 
ICE Announces Extension to New Employee Guidance to I-9 Compliance Flexibility 
On August 31, 2021, ICE announce an extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance that was initially granted last year. The Department of Homeland Security will extend this flexible policy through December 31, 2021. This extension will continue to apply the guidance previously issued for employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, and work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions. Those employees are temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) until they undertake non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier.
 
OSHA Updates Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace
On August 13, 2021, OSHA updated its Guidance posted January 29, 2021, which was then updated June 10, 2021. A summary of changes follows: 
1.    Update to reflect the July 27, 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mask and testing recommendations for fully vaccinated people
2.    Reorganize Appendix recommendations for Manufacturing, Meat and Poultry Processing, Seafood Processing, and Agricultural Processing Industries
3.    Add links to guidance with the most up-to-date content
The most important update is to recommend that even fully vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. Furthermore, that fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated. Further still, it is recommended that fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. Finally, it recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
These are only recommendations and are not enforceable by OSHA.