The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) vaccine mandate is, for the time being, not enforceable in New Hampshire and nine other states. On Monday, November 29, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted a preliminary injunction blocking the mandate.

What is the CMS Mandate?

The CMS vaccine mandate requires that select healthcare workers at facilities receiving Medicare and or Medicaid funding be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022.

Continue Reading CMS Vaccine Mandate Halted in New Hampshire

Another year, another list.  I doubt anyone expected at the end of 2020 to still be talking about social distancing, mask wearing, and virtual holiday gatherings. Yet, here we are. In preparing to write this post, I thought about what we have written in the past about making resolutions, plans for new initiatives, and reinvigorating compliance efforts.  This year, my list of  to do’s looks a bit different than in years past. To be sure, some old favorites are back, but I challenge us all to think a bit bigger and a good way beyond our usual list of projects.  The times demand it.  So hit ground running in 2022, HR Pros, and try on some of the following!

Continue Reading Closing Out Another Year and Looking Forward to 2022!

On November 12, 2021, the Fifth Court of Appeals stayed the enforcement of the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100+ employees to adopt a policy mandating employees to show proof that they have been fully vaccinated or submit to weekly testing starting in January 2022.

The Order found that the OSHA ETS is “fatally flawed” in that it is both “overinclusive,” since it applies to all industries based on size, without any analysis of the specific risks applicable in each industry, and “underinclusive,” since it only applies to employers with 100+ employees, and does not attempt to protect employees who work for small employers.  The Court further found that “the mere specter of the [OSHA] Mandate has contributed to untold economic upheaval in recent months” and that in enacting this ETS, OSHA had exceeded its powers and violated “the constitutional structure that safeguards our collective liberty.”

Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Blocks OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard for Employers with 100+ Employees – Stay Tuned for More Court Rulings

President Joe Biden announced on September 9, 2021 a new rule requiring employers with at least 100 employees to mandate that their workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing. The president also signed orders indicating that most federal employees and federal contractors, as well as most health care workers across the country, must be vaccinated.  Previously some private employers enacted policies requiring vaccines of their workers, but these decisions were made primarily based on workplace dynamics and culture.  With broader government imposed mandates in the offing, employers are asking more questions than before about how to handle mandating vaccines in a polarized workforce in a tight labor market.

Continue Reading The Challenges of Vaccine Mandates

Again, one of the mighty has fallen.  Super Bowl winner, ESPN commentator, and the highest paid coach in the NFL follows the path of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Andrew Cuomo and so many others in losing his job, his reputation, and probably his career due to abhorrent behavior which remained under wraps for years.  The downfall came after the Wall Street Journal leaked an email from 2011 wherein Gruden referred to the executive director of the NFL Players’ Association, an African American, with an insulting racial slur while communicating with an NFL team executive.

Continue Reading Lessons Learned from the Latest NFL Scandal: Does the Downfall of Jon Gruden Teach Us Anything New?

On Thursday, September 29, 2022, Massachusetts extended the paid sick leave program until April 1, 2022. The reason for taking such leave have also been broadened. Irrespective of the number of full-time employees an employer may have, the paid sick leave mandate requires Massachusetts employers provide another 40 hours of paid time off in order to deal with several COVID-19 related issues. Continue Reading Massachusetts Extends COVID-19 Emergency Sick Leave Into 2022

Title VII requires employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.  When the statute was initially passed in 1964, there was no guidance from the EEOC on how employers were supposed to accomplish this goal.  There was no caselaw or national #metoo movement.  In contrast, today, there are well-established examples of what constitutes inappropriate physical contact, speech and other interactions in a workplace.  While not all poor behavior can be avoided, employers can no longer hide behind a claim that “I did not realize the extent to which the lines had been redrawn” as recently proclaimed by Governor Cuomo.  Employers must be knowledgeable about this law and proactively implement policies and protocols to prevent harassment from occurring in their workplace.

Continue Reading Five Takeaways for Private Employers Following the Cuomo Sexual Harassment Investigation

In honor of the 31st anniversary of the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) on July 26, the Biden Administration has announced the release of a package of guidance and resources relating to applicability of disability-related laws and regulations to people with long COVID, sometimes referred to as “COVID Long-Haulers.” Continue Reading Biden Administration Marks ADA Anniversary by Releasing Long COVID Disability Guidance

On July 9, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order which directed the Federal Trade Commission to curtail the use of non-competes nation-wide in order to help promote competition and expand the economy. At the moment, only three states forbid the use of non-compete clauses in employment agreements: California, North Dakota and Oklahoma. Nearly one dozen states – including Massachusetts – have put tough restrictions on the use and enforcement of non-compete agreements irrespective of which employees are required to sign same.

Continue Reading Non-Competes May Become a Thing of the Past Across the Nation

Houston Methodist Hospital was sued earlier this year by 117 unvaccinated employees.  The workers claimed that the hospital’s mandatory vaccination policy violated public policy because the vaccines at issue were approved by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) rather than through the typical lengthier process.  The workers alleged that they were being forced to serve as human guinea pigs, arguing that the hospital was making them “participate in an experimental vaccine trial  as a condition for continued employment.”

Continue Reading Judge Dismisses Hospital Workers’ Law Suit Over Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations