San Francisco Issues Updated Guidance on San Francisco Paid Sick Leave During the Pandemic

by Nikki Mahmoudi, Shauna N. Correia
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

The San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) issued new guidance on February 2, 2022 pertaining to the use of San Francisco Paid Sick Leave during the pandemic. This new guidance supersedes OLSE’s March 24, 2020 guidance.

While the February 2, 2022 guidance shares much of the same language as the March 24, 2020 guidance, San Francisco employers should be aware of the following changes:

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The U.S. Supreme Court Stays Enforcement of OSHA’s Nationwide Vaccine Mandate Because It Exceeds OSHA’s Authority

by Ryan E. Abernethy
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

As Lizbeth West and James Kachmar wrote in previous blogs, here and here, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the stay of OSHA’s vaccine-or-test mandate that applies to employers with more than 100 employees. Challengers of the mandate sought immediate review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments in the matter on an expedited basis on January 7, 2022, and just published an opinion today lambasting OSHA’s vaccine mandate and staying its enforcement.

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US Supreme Court Will Hear OSHA Vaccine or Test Mandate Challenge on Expedited Basis

by James Kachmar
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

Earlier this week, Beth West wrote a blog update about the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacating the stay of OSHA’s vaccine or test mandate that applies to employers with more than 100 employees (Click here to read). Ms. West noted that the challengers to the mandate would seek immediate review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Appellants in those cases filed their appeals of the 6th Circuit’s ruling and filed applications to again stay the OSHA vaccine or test mandate.

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The Spread of Employee Lawsuits Related to COVID-19 May Be Widening, But Treatments and Cures May Exist

by Brendan J. Begley
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

A blog we published here on May 28, 2020, correctly noted that California’s workers-compensation laws may immunize employers from most civil lawsuits alleging that employees became infected with the coronavirus on the job.  That blog also correctly emphasized that other types of lawsuits may spread from lax pandemic protocols.  This week the California Court of Appeal issued a unanimous three-judge decision outlining a potential path for workers and their families to get around workers-compensation immunity and maintain a possible new strain of civil actions.

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OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccine or Test Mandate Is BACK in Play… For Now

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On Friday, December 17, 2021, the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency motion to dissolve the stay of the federal OSHA COVID-19 vaccine or test mandate for large employers.

Background.

On November 5, 2021, OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS or the standard) to protect the health of employees by mitigating the spread of this historically unprecedented virus in the workplace. The ETS requires that employees who work for an employer with 100+ employees,

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Update: No Enforcement of OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

As you’ve probably read in the news, a number of legal challenges have been filed against the OSHA COVID-19 vaccination/testing ETS for large employers.  The 5th Circuit issued a stay on enforcement of the ETS on November 6th and then, later on November 12th reaffirmed that stay holding that the challengers of the ETS are likely to succeed on the merits of the case.

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EEOC Issues Guidance Regarding Religious Accommodations in Connection with Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies

For what it’s worth, on October 25, 2021, the EEOC updated its guidance “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” and added Section L entitled “Vaccinations – Title VII and Religious Objections to COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates.”  While employers have been waiting for some guidance from the EEOC on this issue given the onslaught of requests for religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates,

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Shauna Correia in the Sacramento Business Journal: If Asked For a Religious Exemption From A Vaccine Mandate, Be An Optimist

In a contributed article for the Sacramento Business Journal, Shauna Correia discusses an extremely challenging issue that many businesses and HR professionals are facing – how to evaluate religious exemption requests from vaccine mandates. The October 8, 2021 article explores two important questions that arise:

What sort of religious belief or religious practice qualifies for a religious exemption?

How do employers know whether a proposed accommodation is reasonable or an undue hardship?

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An Employee Has Requested a Religious Exemption to the Company Vaccine Mandate—What Now?

For those in the Sacramento area, you may have seen large “Destiny” signs overhanging State Route 65 north of Interstate 80. A news story last month suggested that this church is the place to go for COVID-19 vaccine exemption letters. Now that President Biden is planning to use the emergency powers of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to mandate vaccination for an estimated 100 million employees, the issue is even more prominent.

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