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The Modern Workplace

Posted in COVID-19

On March 1, 2022, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) updated its guidance on how best to approach employee accommodation requests for those opposed to employer COVID-19 vaccine requirements because of their religious beliefs. 

As a quick refresher, the EEOC enforces Title VII which prohibits employment discrimination based on religion.  Employers are required to reasonably accommodate applicants and employees who have sincerely held religious beliefs to enable them to perform the essential functions of their jobs and where their beliefs may conflict ...

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I was sitting by my window the other day and noticed how the sun was melting the snow around my house even though the air temperature was cold. For a person living in a northern climate, I see this as a sign of Spring and with it, the return to green grass, flowers, and warmer temps. It also reminds me that the semi-annual ritual of the changing of the clocks for those states that participate in Daylight Savings Time is upon us. Each Spring, we “Spring Ahead” by moving the clocks forward one hour at 2:00 a.m. on a designated date. Each Fall, when Daylight Savings Time ends, we “Fall ...

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One legal issue highlighted by the #metoo movement is the use of arbitration to resolve workplace sexual harassment claims. Some employers require employees to sign agreements at the time of hire, or at some other time before any claim arises, in which both sides agree that any later workplace disputes will be resolved by arbitration and not in court. Because arbitration is a private dispute resolution process, some #metoo advocates have argued that arbitration of sexual harassment claims allows the misdeeds of bad actors to be concealed and, perhaps, facilitates repeat offenses ...

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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) withdrew its COVID-19 vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) as of January 26, 2022. The ETS had mandated that employers with 100 or more employees require all employees to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear face coverings and undergo weekly testing in lieu of vaccination. This action came shortly after the United States Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the ETS. 

Although OSHA has withdrawn the ETS as an emergency temporary standard, it has announced that it ...

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If your organization is a federal government contractor or subcontractor with annual affirmative action plan requirements, you need to be aware of some recent, important developments.

On December 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) issued an announcement introducing its new online contractor “portal.”  The OFCCP describes the “portal” as a platform through which covered federal government contractors and subcontractors must register and then subsequently annually “certify” whether they ...

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As we approach the second anniversary of the first confirmed U.S. case of COVID-19, it is hard to believe that we are two years into this global pandemic. Pre-2020, we likely never imagined we’d use the phrase “unprecedented times” so often, that toilet paper would become the hottest commodity for a time, or that we would contribute to a massive surge in shares of a company called Zoom. For many of us, our work lives changed in a number of ways, one of which being that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created standards designed to ...

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On December 14, 2021, the EEOC issued new guidance in its COVID-19 technical assistance FAQs, clarifying the circumstances under which COVID-19 may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Rehabilitation Act. “This update to our COVID-19 information provides an additional resource for employees and employers facing the varied manifestations of COVID-19,” according to EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “Like effects from other diseases, effects from COVID-19 can lead to a disability protected under the laws the EEOC enforces ...

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Many of you saw our Client Alert detailing the requirements of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on November 4, 2021.  The ETS applies to employers with 100 employees or more and contains COVID-19 vaccine and/or testing requirements that employers must adopt to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.

On November 12, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling imposing a stay on enforcement of the ETS.  The federal appellate court ordered OSHA to “take no ...

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On October 25, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) updated its COVID-19 guidance yet again. This time, the updates focused on religious accommodations to vaccine mandates under Title VII. 

As background, similar to disability accommodations, employers are required to reasonably accommodate applicants and employees who have sincerely held religious beliefs to enable them to perform the essential functions of their jobs and where their beliefs may conflict with company policy. However, employers have a lower burden than with disability ...

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In its Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia ruling in June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition on “sex” discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 encompasses discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The Bostock ruling raised, but did not decide, the question of whether or not other federal sex discrimination laws, such as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Fair Housing Act, might also inherently prohibit LGBTQ+ discrimination. While the Bostock ruling applies only to Title VII ...

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