As the pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout accelerates, the roles of various players continue to evolve among government, public companies, and private entities. Employers, pharmaceutical and supply manufacturers, healthcare service providers, educators, advertisers, transportation and logistics providers, and many others are continuously evaluating the potential implications of vaccine distribution for their industries and organizations worldwide. Morgan Lewis breaks down what opportunities, regulatory considerations, and legal obstacles still lie ahead.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) on May 28 released much-anticipated updated text for its proposed “Readoption” of COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards. Perhaps the biggest surprise was what Cal/OSHA did not change.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a long-awaited update to its technical assistance guidance on COVID-19 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and other federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws on May 28, 2021. The document addresses frequent employer questions related to requiring vaccines for employees and providing incentives to employees to encourage vaccinations under the ADA, Title VII, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
New guidance will allow employees in New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington to go maskless and stop social distancing if they provide their employers proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced on May 17 that Massachusetts will rapidly accelerate the commonwealth’s reopening process by adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Effective May 29, all businesses can open at 100% capacity, with very limited exceptions. The governor also announced that the 14-month state of emergency will end on June 15, 2021.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the state will move beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowing businesses to return to usual operations (with limited exceptions for Mega Events), effective June 15, 2021.
On May 18, 2021, Santa Clara County issued the Order of the Health Officer of the County of Santa Clara to Protect the Community from COVID-19, which became effective on May 19, 2021. Most notably, the order requires employers to ascertain the vaccination status of personnel by June 1, 2021; institute mandatory reporting for employees if they test positive for COVID-19; and enforce additional rules for personnel who are not fully vaccinated.
The California Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board has decided to delay approving Cal/OSHA’s proposed “readoption” of the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards pending Cal/OSHA’s anticipated further proposed revisions in light of recent mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for fully vaccinated individuals on May 13 to state that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance” in most settings, subject to applicable law or workplace guidance.
Partners Daryl Landy and Jason Mills spoke with the Daily Journal regarding Cal/OSHA’s adoption of revised COVID-19 workplace safety standards.
Associate Alana Genderson was quoted in an HR Dive article about the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) updated technical guidance related to COVID-19 vaccines.
Morgan Lewis senior attorney Pierce Blue and associates Alana Genderson and Daniel Kadish authored an article for Law360 after the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released an update to its technical assistance guidance on COVID-19 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and other federal equal employment opportunity laws.
Morgan Lewis partner Louise Skinner was interviewed by Eddie Mair on LBC Radio about the prospect of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for care home staff.
Morgan Lewis senior attorney Pierce Blue was quoted in an HR Drive article after the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published an update to its technical assistance guidance on COVID-19 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and other related laws.
Morgan Lewis partner Klair Fitzpatrick was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article about the potential legal risks of segregating vaccinated and unvaccinated employees in the workplace. “Workers can refuse the jab based on disability or religious belief, so employers could then face allegations of bias against those workers if they suffer negative consequences as a result of being segregated," Klair said in the article.
Senior attorney Pierce Blue was quoted in an HR Magazine article that discussed how companies can approach employees’ COVID-19 vaccination status. Pierce said that “employers should continue to pay close attention to updated rules and guidelines coming from federal, state and local agencies."
Partner Jonathan Snare was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) standard for workplace protection in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) new mask guidelines for vaccinated workers.