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Ready, set, go: Employers race to comply with OSHA ETS vaccine requirements

Almost two months after President Joe Biden called for quick action on COVID-19 vaccine or testing rules, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) on November 4, 2021. With these new rules, employers with 100 or more employees have a tight timeframe to implement policies on vaccines, testing, and masking – assuming  that the rules are not halted by a legal challenge.  Read more…

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Ready, set, go: Employers race to comply with OSHA ETS vaccine requirements

Almost two months after President Joe Biden called for quick action on COVID-19 vaccine or testing rules, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) on November 4, 2021. With these new rules, employers with 100 or more employees have a tight timeframe to implement policies on vaccines, testing, and masking – assuming the rules are not halted by a legal challenge.

Now it is go time for employers in terms of decision making.

McDonald Hopkins’ Labor and Employment team has prepared an overview of the 490-page ETS to help employers understand the most critical details.

Learn what action steps to take and get answers to your most important questions ahead of the upcoming deadlines for compliance.

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Task Force Issues New FAQs on COVID-19 Workplace Safety Guidance for Federal Contractors

On November 1, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) issued new FAQs for federal contractors and subcontractors (“covered contractors”) that are subject to Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors (the “Order”), and its “COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors” (“Guidance”).  The Guidance is intended to ensure that COVID-19 workplace safety protocols apply to any workplace locations in which an individual is working on or in connection with a federal contract or contract-like instrument.  The new FAQs address vaccination and safety protocols, the scope and applicability of the Guidance, and compliance.  The requirements apply to new contracts awarded on or after October 15, 2021, and to contracts entered before that date when an option is extended or an extension is made.

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Unpacking Averages: Analyzing Descriptions from Cardiovascular Device Adverse Events

While this column typically uses data visualizations you’ve probably seen before, I want to introduce one that perhaps you have not.  This is in the realm of text analysis.  When looking at FDA data, there are numerous places where the most interesting information is not in a data field that can be easily quantified, but rather in narrative text.  Take, for example, Medical Device Reports of adverse events, or “MDRs.”  While we can do statistical analysis of MDRs showing, for example, which product categories have the most, the really interesting information is in the descriptions of the events.

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EEOC Updates COVID-19 Guidance to Address Vaccine Mandate Religious Exemptions

On Monday, October 25, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued updates to its online technical assistance for employers, providing guidance for managing workplace issues arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in compliance with the panoply of federal anti-discrimination laws that it enforces.

The updated guidance now includes a new section “L” entitled Vaccinations – Title VII and Religious Objections to COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates. The new material includes links to federal regulations regarding religious discrimination as well as previously issued guidance on reasonable accommodations. The new material uses a Question and Answer (“Q&A”) format to address common issues faced by employers mandating employee vaccinations.

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EEOC updates guidance on COVID-19 religious accommodations and undue hardship

As employers await OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on vaccines or weekly testing, many are also anticipating a slew of religious exemption requests in response to vaccine mandates. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has clearly heard employers concerns and has now updated its COVID-19 technical assistance guidance to address the scope of the religious exemption under Title VII. Read more…

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FTC Warns That Health Apps May Be Subject to the Health Breach Notification Rule

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently issued guidance clarifying protections applicable to consumers’ sensitive personal data increasingly collected by so-called “health apps.” The FTC press release indicated it has approved a policy statement by a vote of 3-2 offering guidance that organizations using “health applications and connected devices” to “collect or use” consumers’ personal health information must comply with the cybersecurity, privacy and notification mandates of the Health Breach Notification Rule (the “Rule”).

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Preparing for a Legal and PR Crisis After Company Vaccine Mandates

Among the many disruptions that COVID-19 has visited upon the business world, the pandemic has made many corporate crisis management playbooks obsolete when it comes to managing interconnected legal and reputational risks.

What’s different about today’s crisis landscape that makes organizations vulnerable to new, unprecedented problems? The most inflammatory issue is clear: COVID-19 vaccine policies. Read more…

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New Developments in Federal Contractor COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Vaccination Requirements

Since President Biden issued Executive Order 14042 (the “Order”), and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (the “Task Force”) issued companion Guidance interpreting the Order (our summary of which can be found here), there have been additional developments providing further clarity on the implementation of the required COVID-19 safety protocols for federal contractors.

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Governor Abbott’s Newest Executive Order Restricts Texas Employers’ Ability To Impose Vaccine Mandates

On Monday, October 11, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-40 (the “Order”) prohibiting vaccine mandates by any entity. The Order, which was effective upon issuance, states: “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.” It provides for a maximum fine of up to $1,000 per violation for any failure to comply with the order. In addition, it suspends the powers of the state’s emergency management director and the authority of local officials, including the Department of State Health Services’ preemptive authority, with respect to the declaration of local disasters and coordination or control of public health emergencies, to the extent necessary to ensure they do not impose restrictions that are inconsistent with the Order.

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