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Vaccine Requirements in the Workplace

As more and more private and public companies require vaccinations, employees are finding it increasingly difficult to avoid these mandates. In this BBC Radio 5 Live interview, McDermott Partner Michelle Strowhiro noted that US employers have a right to mandate vaccination for any employee that is in an employer’s office.

“As such, if an employee is violating that policy and is coming into an office unvaccinated, an employer can take action and terminate that employee,” Strowhiro said.

Access the audio.




Business Groups Want to Have a Say in Biden’s Vaccine Requirement

While many of the United States’ largest corporations don’t oppose the Biden administration’s vaccine requirements for many employers, those companies say many of their questions about the administration’s rule have gone unanswered. The new rule requires employers with more than 100 employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or require weekly testing of employees.

In an article published in The Hill, McDermott Partner Michelle Strowhiro said some employers may decide to scrap the testing alternative altogether.

“Administratively, it’s going to be quite burdensome for employers, especially large employers with hundreds or thousands of employees, to track weekly the testing results for employees,” Strowhiro said.

Access the article.




Mask Up, Vax Up: Illinois Governor Issues Immediate Face Covering Mandate for All, COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare, School and State Workers and Students

On August 26, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued Executive Order 2021-20 (the Order). The Order mandates that all individuals in Illinois who are at least two years old and who are medically able must wear face coverings indoors and in other specified settings.

In addition, the Order mandates COVID-19 vaccination for certain professionals in healthcare and education, as well as for students and state employees, subject to certain exemptions which require regular COVID-19 testing.

Read more here.




COVID-19 Laws and Regulations: A Midyear Update

As employers navigate evolving COVID-19 state and federal rules, workplaces will have to stay vigilant about changes throughout the second half of 2021. These include changes to mask mandates, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standard and the New York Health and Essential Rights (HERO) Act.

Recent US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance, for example, confirmed what employment lawyers had already been counseling businesses to do, according to McDermott partner Carole A. Spink in a recent Law360 article.

“The guidance was important because it did clarify that employers can provide incentives for voluntary programs. [There] was a big open question about, ‘Am I going to get into trouble because I’m trying to incentivize people to be vaccinated?'”

Access the article.




Business Leaders Must Confront the Corporate Impact of the CDC Mask Controversy

When the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its mask guidance in May, the news caught many people—especially corporate America—off guard.

In this Forbes article, McDermott partner Michael W. Peregrine argues that companies need to provide stakeholders with clear health and safety messaging in light of mandates from state and local governments.

“Companies can ill-afford to drift in the wind of confusion and controversy, and they can’t be blindsided by further guidance change should there be an increase in reported cases or should variants, like those first found in India, surface in the United States,” Peregrine writes.

Access the article.




Preparing Your Workplace: How to Navigate Safety Mandates and Recommendations

Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are thinking about returning to work and what this will look like in practice. While it will not be business as usual, this article highlights how employers can prepare their workplaces and navigate safety mandates and recommendations.

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Can Companies Be Held Liable When Their Employees Fall Ill with Coronavirus?

While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not released specific standards covering COVID-19, Michelle Strowhiro, a partner in the Los Angeles office of McDermott Will & Emery, is quoted in a recent ABA Journal article saying that employers could face risks under Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause if they don’t take steps to protect their workplace and ensure it is not exposed to individuals who may have contracted the virus.

Access the full article.




Open for Business: How ‘Essential’ Businesses Can Keep Their Workplace Healthy and Safe

Most states have issued some form of ‘shelter in place’ or ‘stay at home’ order to flatten the curve of COVID-19. As a result, many business operations have been temporarily suspended, unless the business is engaged in essential or critical infrastructure functions or supports businesses engaged in such functions.

For businesses that are considered ‘essential’ and have employees still reporting to work, what steps can employers take to keep their workplace healthy and safe?

Access the full article.




Recently Updated | COVID-19 FAQs for US Employers

How should US employers approach the Coronavirus? With rapid developments in local, state and federal guidance and law, the appropriate approach for each employer will vary depending on the nature of the work, industries served, location(s), size, amongst other considerations. We recently updated these FAQs to provide you with the latest developments and best practices for your business.

Access the FAQ here.




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