On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its “What you should know about COVID-19” Frequently Asked Questions (the FAQs), answering questions many employers have had regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and addressing additional considerations relevant to returning employees to the worksite. The FAQs include long-awaited guidance on how employers may provide incentives for employees to obtain vaccines, and also discuss employer inquiries about employee vaccination status and mandatory vaccine policies, among other issues.

Below are key takeaways from the EEOC’s May 28 guidance.
Continue Reading EEOC releases guidance on permissible vaccine incentives and other COVID-19 vaccine issues

On May 18, 2021, Santa Clara County, California, issued a health order imposing new and significant obligations on employers in light of the increasing number of individuals that are being vaccinated against COVID-19.

The most significant requirement under the new health order, which went into effect on May 19, 2021, is that employers must inquire into, and continue to keep track of, the vaccination status of all personnel. The Santa Clara health order does not, however, require employers to request or record proof of vaccination. This requirement applies to Santa Clara employers regardless of whether they have a mandatory or voluntary vaccination program.


Continue Reading Santa Clara County now requires employers to inquire about, and keep records regarding, employees’ vaccination status

As we recently discussed, last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced guidance that loosened its COVID-19 rules for facial coverings and social distancing for fully vaccinated individuals. However, the CDC guidance was not intended to override, and explicitly made such guidance subject to, federal, state, or local rules.

In what should not be a surprise to employers in the Golden State, California had already announced that it will be maintaining its current masking guidance until at least June 15. Los Angeles County, despite boasting low and stable metrics, has announced that it will do the same in light of continued COVID-19 transmission.


Continue Reading Masks must stay on for now in California and Los Angeles County

UPDATE: On April 21, 2021, we wrote the following blog post describing guidance from OSHA that required, in certain circumstances, that employers record adverse COVID-19 vaccine reactions in their OSHA logs. On May 21, 2021, OSHA updated its FAQs to reverse its guidance on when employers should record adverse COVID-19 vaccine reactions. Employers now do

As employers anticipate returning to work in light of increased availability of vaccines, some have considered requiring employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination to return to the workplace. On March 4, 2021, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) updated its DFEH Employment Information on COVID-19 to address whether employers may mandate vaccines under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The FEHA prohibits discrimination against employees based on protected characteristics, including disability and religious beliefs.

Under the recent update, the DFEH states that employers may require employees to receive an FDA-approved vaccination against COVID-19 as long as the employer 1) provides reasonable accommodation related to disability or sincerely held religious beliefs, and 2) does not retaliate against employees for requesting such an accommodation.


Continue Reading DFEH issues guidance addressing mandatory vaccines in California

[UPDATE: On March 12, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed the bills into law, providing for paid COVID-19 vaccination leave for New York employees, effective immediately.]

The New York State Legislature recently passed bills (Bill S2588A; A3354B) that would provide all public and private employees in New York with up to four hours of paid leave to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. The legislation is expected to be signed by Governor Cuomo shortly.

The proposed law provides that the paid vaccination leave may not be charged against any other leave that the employee is entitled to, such as any paid sick leave or leave pursuant to any collectively bargained agreement. An employee will be entitled to up to four hours for each COVID-19 vaccination through December 31, 2022.
Continue Reading Paid vaccination leave coming to New York

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 guidance to address COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace. The EEOC’s guidance implies that a mandatory workplace vaccination program is lawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the other laws the EEOC administers provided that the employer provides disability and religious