The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), on May 15, 2023, updated its COVID-19 guidance, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.” The EEOC called the update “the capstone to our comprehensive resource of questions and answers on COVID-19 and the anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC.” The EEOC makes it clear that, although COVID-19 is no longer considered a “public health emergency,” employers may have continuing legal obligations related to COVID-19 under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and other anti-discrimination laws.
Jill Ripke defends companies in employment and independent contractor class action matters dealing with claims relating to independent contractor status, misclassification, unpaid overtime, unpaid meal and rest breaks, and unpaid off-the-clock work.
COVID-19 States of Emergency Ending
The federal government and the State of California announced they are ending their states of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. California has announced it is lifting its state of emergency on February 28, 2023. In January, the White House announced that the national and public health emergencies related to…
In June 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) updated its definition of “close contact” to refer to individuals who share the same indoor airspace, replacing the previous “six-foot rule.” This revised definition leaves employers with large facilities with more questions than answers.
On October 14, 2022, CDPH further updated the definition of “close…
As reported here, earlier this month California Governor Newsom signed into law SB 114, which reinstates COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for covered employees in California. The state’s Labor Commissioner recently issued 37 frequently asked questions (FAQs) addressing California Labor Code Section 248.6 in more detail, which includes guidance to help employers comply…
On December 15, 2021, California reinstated a mandatory indoor masking requirement to correspond with the rise in Omicron cases. However, as COVID-19 cases in California have steadily decreased, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued updated guidance to take effect February 16, 2022, which loosens the mask requirements for vaccinated individuals. According to…
On January 6, 2022, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) released updated FAQs clarifying that the isolation and quarantine recommendations from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) (see post here) replace the exclusion periods and return-to-work criteria in the revised Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) approved by the OSHA Board on December 16, 2021. A link to guidance regarding the revised ETS, which takes effect on January 14, is available here.
As the COVID-19 landscape evolves and the Omicron variant pervades, state and local governments and health authorities have modified their recommendations, guidance, and regulations in an effort to manage the pandemic.
For example, on December 30, 2021, following the CDC’s December 27, 2021, changes to its quarantine and isolation recommendations, the California Department of Public…
The CDC recently updated its guidelines on, among other things, quarantine and isolation periods and recommendations regarding booster shots. Below is a high-level summary of some of these changes.
At the end of December 2021, the CDC updated its guidance regarding quarantine and isolation. A media statement from the CDC regarding its updates can be found here. Some of the biggest changes from the December recommendations involved the following:
- Reducing isolation for those with COVID-19 to five days followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others.
- Revising quarantine periods, including:
- For unvaccinated individuals, individuals who completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna over five months ago and are not boosted, or individuals who completed J&J over two months ago and are not boosted, quarantine five days followed by “strict mask use” for five days.
- If quarantine is “not feasible,” wear a “well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.”
- Individuals who have received booster shots do not need to quarantine but should wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.
In an updated guidance released on December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reduced the recommended isolation and quarantine period for the general population. The term “isolation” refers to the recommended behavior after a confirmed COVID-19 infection, while “quarantine” is the term that applies to the period following a person’s exposure to the virus or close contact with someone who has COVID-19. According to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Omicron variant is spreading quickly, and the “CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses.”
On December 14, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance to affirm that workers who contract COVID-19 can be protected from discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Depending on an individual employee’s specific circumstances, COVID-19 may constitute a protected physical or mental disability, may serve as the basis for an employer’s perception that an employee has a disability, and/or may contribute to a record of employee impairment.