On November 30, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky granted a preliminary injunction blocking the federal government from moving forward with the COVID-19 protocols for federal contractors issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) and promulgated by President Biden in Executive Order 14042. Under the guidance issued by the Task Force, employees of covered federal contractors and those working “in connection with” federal contracts must be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022.

This case, brought by Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, is one of many challenges that have been brought against the vaccine mandate in federal courts around the country. However, this decision prohibits enforcement of the vaccine mandate only for covered federal contractors and subcontractors in covered contracts in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Continue Reading Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors Blocked by Federal Court in Kentucky

On November 16, 2021, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation randomly assigned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to hear legal challenges to the vaccine emergency temporary standard (ETS) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The ETS, affecting employers with 100 or more employees, is summarized here.

On November 12, 2021, a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 22-page order reaffirming the initial stay of a vaccine emergency temporary standard (ETS) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The ETS, affecting employers with 100 or more employees, is summarized here. The three-judge panel determined that OSHA did not have legal authority to issue the ETS. Among other concerns stated in the decision, the panel determined that OSHA’s mandate did not meet the high bar to issue an emergency standard because it had not sufficiently established a grave danger. Also, the panel found that the ETS’s vaccine or testing requirements were overbroad (by setting forth a standard requirement for workplaces regardless of the specific hazards present in individual workplaces) and underinclusive (by exempting many vulnerable workers in workplaces with fewer than 100 employees). Based on these and other legal infirmities, the panel held that the challenges to the ETS were likely to succeed on the merits, which supported the request for a stay. The panel also stated that the ETS would remain stayed pending adequate judicial review of the request for a permanent injunction and ordered OSHA to take no steps to implement or enforce the ETS until further court order.
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Stays OSHA’s New Emergency Temporary Standard

On November 6, 2021, in a per curiam opinion, a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal panel temporarily enjoined the new Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s vaccine Emergency Temporary  Standard (“ETS”) for employers with 100 or more employees.  A copy of the opinion is available here.  Our prior blog post on the ETS is available

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued its long-awaited emergency temporary standard requiring all employers with a total of 100 or more employees at any time to mandate vaccination and/or weekly COVID-19 testing (the “vaccination/testing ETS”). As expected, the text of the vaccination/testing ETS requires that employees either become fully vaccinated or produce a negative test result at least every seven days before going in to work. In addition, the vaccination/testing ETS requires masks or other face coverings for unvaccinated employees working indoors. The new measure also requires employers to provide up to four hours of paid leave, including travel time, to employees to get vaccinated and recover from any ill effects of the vaccine. If employees experience side effects from vaccination, employers must also provide reasonable time and paid sick leave for recovery from each dose. However, under the federal mandate, employers are not required to shoulder the costs of weekly testing of employees or of providing face coverings for employees.
Continue Reading OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS: What Employers Must Know

Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use of three COVID-19 vaccines under emergency use authorizations in April 2021, many public and private employers have announced and/or implemented mandatory vaccination policies. In addition, on September 9, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order requiring that certain federal contractors mandate vaccinations for their workers and directed OSHA to implement a rule that would require employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccination and/or COVID-19 testing. For more information, see our previous blog post.

Employers implementing mandatory vaccination policies (either by the company’s decision or pursuant to government requirements) have been left with questions on how to properly address employee requests for accommodations to such policies due to religious beliefs, practices, and observances.
Continue Reading EEOC Updates COVID-19 Technical Guidance to Address Religious Objections to COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

On September 17, 2021, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health issued a new Public Health Order, effective at midnight on October 7, 2021, and continuing until further notice.

The Health Order emphasizes that “[t]he best way to reduce the current level of community transmission and to prevent future surges is for everyone who is eligible, including those who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection, to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.” To promote its goal and reduce community transmission of the virus, the Health Order requires:
Continue Reading LA County Issues New Health Order Affecting Bars, Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries, Restaurants, and Outdoor Mega Events

On September 14, 2021, Contra Costa County issued Health Order No. HO-COVID19-57 (the “Order”) mandating certain Contra Costa County businesses and operations to verify its patrons and employees are either fully vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test result in response to the surging number of COVID-19 delta variant cases.  The Order takes effect at 8:00 a.m. on September 22, 2021.
Continue Reading Contra Costa County Issues Mandate Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine or Testing for Certain Businesses, Non-Profits, and Higher Education Institutions

On August 12, 2021, the City of San Francisco revised its Health Order C19-07y (the “Order”) to mandate certain San Francisco businesses and operations verify proof of vaccination of its staff and patrons in response to the surge of cases caused by the COVID-19 delta variant.

Who does this apply to?

The revised Order requires: (1) businesses and events that serve food or drink indoors (e.g., dining establishments, bars, clubs, theaters, and entertainment venues); (2) gyms, recreation facilities, yoga studios, and other fitness establishments; and (3) indoor events with 1,000+ person attendance, to verify patrons 12 years of age and older are fully vaccinated prior to entering the business’ or event’s indoor facilities starting August 20, 2021, ascertain the vaccination status of staff by August 20, 2021, and ensure staff who routinely work onsite are fully vaccinated before entering or working in any indoor portion of the facility by October 13, 2021, with limited exceptions and subject to applicable federal, state, or local laws requiring accommodations.

Continue Reading City of San Francisco Updates its Health Order to Mandate Certain Businesses Verify Proof of Vaccination

On August 3, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan to require both workers and customers to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to participate in indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment. Individuals will be able to provide proof of vaccination status using a “Key to