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Showing 5 posts from May 2020.

CDC Guidance Establishes the Bar for Workplace Safety and OSH Act Compliance Related to COVID-19

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have had to keep abreast of evolving or incomplete government guidance, all while trying to discern for themselves the most prudent way to handle employee leaves, pay, workload, and safety.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have now worked together to produce a "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19." This guidance is explicitly "advisory in nature" and "informational in content," and "not a standard or a regulation." Nevertheless, the guidance provides helpful information about how the agencies view the methodology of COVID-19 transmission, exposure risks and classifying worker exposure, and what to do to protect workers. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided similar advice in an April workplace poster. Efforts addressed include personal protective equipment (PPE), engineering controls (e.g. barriers), and administrative controls (e.g. monitoring, training, flexible hours, or telework). More ›

EEOC Indicates Testing Employees for COVID-19 Does Not Violate ADA

As businesses prepare to re-open, many employers will be concerned about the risk of workplace transmission of the COVID-19 disease. Testing employees before allowing them to enter the workplace is one preventative measure employers are considering. However, this measure has been clouded by uncertainty, because a test for COVID-19 could be considered a medical inquiry under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is only permitted if the inquiry is job-related and consistent with business necessity. More ›

Employers Beware: Terminating an Employee with COVID-19 May Violate Several Federal Statutes

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of whether an employer may lawfully terminate an employee who has contracted COVID-19 has continued to arise. Terminating an employee because they have contracted COVID-19 carries significant legal risk. Some employers might consider the decision to terminate an employee a safety measure meant to protect employees and customers from coming into contact with someone who has had the illness. But doing so may run afoul of several federal statutes, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), as well as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). More ›

Lessons From Smithfield Pork Packing Plant Lawsuit: Could OSHA Preempt Worker Retaliation Claims Concerning Employer COVID-19 Safety Measures?

In a workplace safety whistleblower lawsuit recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, an air conditioning technician claims he was fired by his employer, HT Airsystems of Florida, LLC, in retaliation for complaining about purported overtime violations and for raising concerns about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), which would be a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Florida's Private Whistleblower Act (FWA). More ›

Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Program Released for Illinois Employers

According to the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act (IWTA), Illinois employers with at least one employee working in Illinois must provide annual sexual harassment training. Effective January 1, 2020, IWTA amended the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) to require that training must commence before December 31, 2020, and occur every calendar year. The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) recently released a model training program for Illinois employers. To date, the new training requirements have not been affected by the shelter-in-place orders. More ›

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