Showing posts with label coronavirus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coronavirus. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The CDC is the tail wagging the public’s dog


Last week the CDC updated its Covid isolation guidelines. The agency says it's "to help the public better protect themselves and understand their risk." 

Most importantly, there is no longer any distinction between those who are fully vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated against the virus. Instead, the CDC says anyone can end isolation after five days if asymptomatic or if fever-free for 24 hours and other symptoms are improving. Thereafter, one should mask around others either through day 10 or sooner after two sequential negative tests 48 hours apart.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Court dismisses employees’ race discrimination claims against Whole Foods based on prohibition of BLM masks


A group of Black and non-Black Whole Foods employees claimed that their employer unlawfully discriminated against them because of their race and their association with people because of their race based on their employer's prohibition of the wearing of "Black Lives Matter" face masks starting in June 2020 following the death of George Floyd.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Mask mandates might be gone, but maskual harassment isn’t


Workplaces, state and local governments, and the CDC have relegated mask mandates to the dustbin of Covid history. But just because people are no longer required to wear masks anywhere doesn't mean that some people aren't choosing to do so on their own. The end of mask mandates, however, has not ended the culture wars that have surrounded mask for the past two-plus years.

According to a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 56% of Americans still favor mask mandates on planes, trains, and public transportation, 49% for workers who interact with the public in restaurants and other places, and also 49% for crowded public events. (My own poll on LinkedIn revealed a smaller 36% still in favor of mask mandates on planes and public transportation.)

That leaves a large swath of America strongly entrenched against masks. And some are still expressing their opposition in less than constructive means.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Just because “caregiver” isn’t a protected class doesn’t mean it isn’t sometimes illegal to discriminate against them


No matter how many times you read our federal workplace anti-discrimination laws, you won't find the word "caregiver" among the litany of protected classes. Yet, it has been clear since the earliest days of this blog that in the proper circumstances "caregiver discrimination" is illegal.

Earlier this week the EEOC updated its Covid-19 guidance to discuss these caregiver-related issues.

Caregiver discrimination violates the laws enforced by the EEOC if it is based on an applicant’s or employee’s sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), race, national origin, disability, age (40 or older), or another characteristic covered by federal employment discrimination laws. Caregiver discrimination also is unlawful if it is based on the caregiver’s association with an individual with a disability, or on the race, ethnicity, or other protected characteristic of the individual receiving care.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Brewery CEO out after backlash to controversial vaccine comments


Vaccine mandates are a crime against humanity.

If you are not speaking out against them, you are a conspirator.
Those are the words Josh Stylman, the co-founder and now former CEO of Brooklyn, New York's Threes Brewing, recently shared on his personal Twitter account. He's also compared vaccine mandates to Jim Crow laws, the Nazi regime, and other historical atrocities. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

I’m not quite ready to declare the pandemic over, but I am ready to stop writing about it every single day


Nearly two years ago, I re-branded the Ohio Employer Law Blog as the Coronavirus Law Blog. It was a bit of marketing combined with the realization that Covid would be all that mattered to employers, at least in the short term.

That "short term" will turn two years old in nine days.

Today, however, I am officially re-re-branding the blog back to the Ohio Employer Law Blog.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Coronavirus Update 2-28-22: CDC eliminates mask guidance for 70% of Americans


The CDC has issued new mask guidance based on the level of Covid-19 in a specific county. 

  • In counties with a low level of Covid (green) — individuals are permitted to remove masks.
  • In counties with a medium level of Covid (yellow) — individuals who are at high risk for severe illness are recommended to talk to their healthcare provider about whether they need to wear a mask and take other safety precautions.
  • In counties with a high level of Covid (red) — individuals are recommended to wear a mask indoors in public.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

I hate “Tattleware”


I thought I had my next Worst Employer nominee. News broke yesterday of the mass exodus of employees from real estate company CoStar after allegations came to light of the company spying on work-from-home employees through the cameras on the company-issued laptops. I even had the post written. 

But in further researching the issue I came across this story that ran yesterday on the Today Show: 'Tattleware': How your boss might be tracking your remote activity

Its use skyrocketed as most companies switched to a work-from-home model during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Monday, February 21, 2022

This dissenting opinion in the United Airlines vaccine-mandate case is 58 pages of pure judicial rage


It's been a little over three months since a federal district court in Forth Worth, Texas, denied a preliminary injunction to a group of unvaccinated employees of United Airlines challenging its vaccine mandate. The court so ruled because the employees, whom United had placed on an unpaid leave of absence, had a viable claim for money damages and with that adequate legal remedy couldn't simultaneously seek an equitable remedy. 

It's been a little over two months since a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to issue an injunction pending the appeal of that district court decision. 

Late last week, however, a different three-judge panel of that same appellate court concluded that the employees had established irreparable harm to support their claim for injunctive relief and sent the case back to the district court to reconsider its prior ruling in light of that holding.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Coronavirus Update 2-1-22: I just gave my kids the worst business trip souvenir ever


In the before times, when I actually traveled for business, I'd always try to come home with a souvenir for the kids. A t-shirt, a stuffed animal, something small, but at least something so they knew I was thinking about them when I was gone.

Two weeks ago, I got to travel for work again — this time to Cincinnati for the annual Ohio Craft Brewers Conference. Never fear, I did not forget to bring home a souvenir for the kids. While certainly memorable, it's one that they would certainly rather forget.

I brought them Covid-19. 😥🦠🤒


Thankfully, our Covid experience was mild and we all survived with varying degrees of minor symptoms along with five days of isolation. 

On this week's episode of The Norah and Dad Show, Norah and I talk about our experience with Omicron. We discuss how we handled having the virus, life during isolation, what we missed from the past 22 months of trying to act responsibly, and what we’re looking forward to doing now that we have our super-immunity. We also discuss the dangers of late-night milkshake deliveries and, notwithstanding, how ice cream makes everything better.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify (yes, we're still there, even though Joe Rogan spews dangerous garbage), Google Podcasts, the old-fashioned web browser, and wherever you get your podcasts.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-31-22: Employees should not be choosing between their jobs and working while ill


I return to the office today after a one-week Covid-inducted work-from-home hiatus. I'm fortunate that as a professional I have the ability and flexibility to work from home when needed. Many too many employees, however, do not have that luxury.

Consider, for example, this report from Business Insider, that 63 percent of Red Lobster employees came to work while sick with Covid-19, either because they lacked paid sick leave or because they couldn't find anyone to cover their shifts. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-27-22: Whole Foods 1 – Maskhole 0 😷


You have every right to believe that masks are a form of government control or a satanic tool. You're very wrong, but you are free to believe what you want to believe. 

What you aren't free to do, however, is to act on those beliefs when they run counter to the rules of the employer for which you work or the business you want to enter. 

Case in point: Manning v. Whole Foods Market Group.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-26-22: OSHA doesn’t need an ETS to go after your business’s Covid-safety deficiencies


With the Supreme Court effectively killing OSHA Covid-19 vax-or-test Emergency Temporary Standard, and OSHA now officially withdrawing it, employers might think that they are beyond the reach of OSHA for Covid safety-related issues. If you are one of those employers that thinks this way, you are very mistaken.

Consider Sanoh American, a Findley, Ohio, auto parts supplier. OSHA recently cited and fined it $26,527 for ignoring guidelines to limit Covid-19 exposure in its facility. While the company had social distancing and mask policies in place, it failed to follow or enforce them. As a result, 88 of the company's 270 Findley employees (nearly one-third of the local workforce) tested positive for Covid-19. Five of those positive employees were hospitalized and two unfortunately died. OSHA determined that one of those deaths was work-related.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-24-22: I’m a Covid statistic


It was a calculated risk. I've been so careful for the past 22 months. We don't socialize outside of a very small bubble. We don't eat in restaurants or go to bars unless we can be outside. We've given up concerts and traveling. I wear my KN95 mask everywhere. 

But before Omicron changed the Covid-19 narrative, I decided that my firm would sponsor the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference. I also agreed to speak at the event. And we timed the launch of our brand new Craft Beer Practice Area around the conference. 

It was a safe event. Vaccines or negative tests were required of all attendees. Masks were mandatory at the event unless eating or drinking. I wore my KN95 mask everywhere. I was still nervous about spending three days out of town. But at my request, my firm had made a substantial financial investment in the event. So I packed my KN95 masks and my hand sanitizer, and off I went.

Twenty-four hours after returning home I felt my first symptoms — a scratchy throat and a mild dry cough. That's it. But having been out and about, I decided to home test. Negative.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Accountability always starts at the top


How do you respond to an employee who states that the Covid-19 vaccine is a plot by "the Jews" to exterminate people? Does your answer change if the employee in question is the company's founder? 

The correct answers: You fire him, and no, it doesn't matter who he is.

The scenario recently played out at Entrata, a Utah technology company. David Bateman, Entrata's founder, sent an email to multiple parties, including various Utah tech leaders. Bateman's email started with the subject line, "Genocide." It went downhill from there. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

BREAKING NEWS: SCOTUS dumps OSHA vax-or-test emergency temporary standard


The Supreme Court has issued its opinion in the appeal of the 6th Circuit's decision that vacated the 5th Circuit's stay of OSHA's vaccine-or-test emergency temporary standard for employers with 100 or more employees.

In a 6-3 decision, strictly down ideological lines, the Court reinstituted the stay, blocking the ETS from taking effect. 

Coronavirus Update 1-13-22: The CDC is not updating its mask guidelines to better protect against Omicron … but it should


The CDC is not considering updating its current mask guidelines to recommend that everyone wear highly protective N95 or KN95 masks, contrary to earlier reports by the Washington Post.

In a White House briefing yesterday, Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC, said that any mask is better than no mask, and that the CDC would not be changing any guidance regarding the type of maks that people should be wearing. Walensky did concede that the CDC's website needs to be refreshed to include information on the "different levels of protection different masks provide."

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-6-22: Starbucks become first employer of note to adopt OSHA vaccine-or-test emergency temporary standard


I don't know what you'll be doing tomorrow morning at 10 am. But I do know what most employment lawyers will be doing — their best to follow the Supreme Court oral arguments in the appeal related to the OSHA vaccine-or-test emergency temporary standard for employers with 100 or more employees (as well as the appeal related to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services healthcare worker vaccination mandate). 

Starbucks, however, is not waiting for SCOTUS to rule on the legality of the OSHA ETS. It has informed its 220,000 nationwide employees that they must disclose their vaccination status by January 10, and either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly by February 9.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-5-22: What the hell is the CDC doing?


Confused by the CDC's changed guidance on when employees can break isolation? I'm here to help.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Coronavirus Update 1-3-22: Happy 2020 … too 😞


As we start 2022 (HNY!) let's jump in the time machine and look ahead a couple of weeks to what I think is in our immediate pandemic future.

To catch a glimpse of what's coming here in the next 7-14 days, we need only look across the pond to Europe, which has been a great predictor thus far of what our Covid future looks like. For the whole of the pandemic, our Covid experience has trailed that of Europe by 2-3 weeks. Because of the quickened transmission and infection timeline of Omicron, we can likely shorten that to 7-10 days.