COVID-19 Workplace Law Advisor

Lawsuits opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates have surpassed the 1,000-complaint mark. The vast majority of these cases (75 percent) have been filed against employers. August 2022 brought the highest number of new complaints challenging employer COVID-19 vaccination requirements since the wave of vaccine mandate litigation began. When legal challenges to COVID-19 vaccine mandates began to rise sharply in the fall of 2021, cases were directed mostly at Biden Administration executive orders and agency directives, as well…
After more than two and half years, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has announced that he will be ending the COVID-19 state of emergency, effective October 31, 2022.  When that occurs, all remaining state COVID-19 emergency proclamations will end as well. Even after the state of emergency is lifted, the Department of Health’s statewide Face Covering Order will remain in place for health care and long-term care settings, as well as correctional facilities in some…
In March 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) dropped universal indoor masking, though masking was still required in certain places. By April 2022, most counties had also ceased universal indoor masking requirements. However, recently, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) stated if the uptick in cases and hospitalizations continued, then the County would implement a new indoor universal mask mandate effective July 29, 2022. On July 28, 2022, the LACDPH…
As the pandemic continues to evolve, so does the EEOC’s guidance. On July 12, 2022, the EEOC once again updated its COVID-19 guidance: What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws to reflect the pandemic’s changing state. The updated guidance follows CDC’s June 10, 2022 statements regarding the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
In early June 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued an order revising the definition of “close contact.” Under the CDPH order, close contact was defined as “someone sharing the same indoor airspace (e.g. home, clinic waiting room, airplane, etc.) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.” This created confusion because “same indoor airspace” could be quite broad and is certainly much broader than the 6 feet-15…
On June 17, 2022, Governor Newsom issued an executive order terminating certain provisions of prior executive orders related to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). Some of the terminated orders were no longer necessary due to changes in the ETS. For example, previously the Governor had issued an executive order stating exclusion periods could not be longer than California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines or local ordinances. However, since the ETS now defers to…
At the end of April, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to approve the Third Readoption of the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The revised version of the ETS took effect on May 6, 2022. As promised when passed, Cal/OSHA has released updated guidance to assist with this version of the ETS that expires January 1, 2023. Cal/OSHA posted an update to the Revisions to the ETS FAQ. This FAQ details the changes in the…
On April 21, 2022, Cal/OSHA’s Standards Board voted to approve the Third Readoption of the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The third adoption makes some changes to the ETS previously in effect. Some of the more significant changes include: Elimination of the requirement that face coverings pass the “light test” (does not let light pass through when held up to a light source). Removal of cleaning and disinfection requirements. Addition of a new term,…
When a district court judge in Florida lifted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) federal COVID-19 mask mandate on April 19, 2022, the Transportation Safety Administration stopped enforcing it. However, the judge’s ruling left it up to airlines and local transit agencies to decide how to respond. Many airlines immediately lifted the mandate – making masking optional, but the same cannot be said for local transit authorities. There is a patchwork of regulations…
More than 500 lawsuits have been filed challenging vaccine mandates in some fashion. These are likely just the tip of the iceberg, however, as there are no doubt thousands of such complaints lurking “beneath the surface,” in the form of agency charges and alternative avenues for resolving disputes. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission One of the ways that employees are challenging employer-imposed vaccine mandates is to allege that the employer has failed to accommodate a disability…