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Coronavirus Update 2-24-2021: How much does it cost an employer for not following COVID-19 safety rules?

OSHA has cited a Missouri auto parts manufacturer for failing to implement and enforce coronavirus protections, which ultimately lead to an employee's death. The details, from OSHA's news release.Two machine operators … who jointly operated a press tested positive for the coronavirus just two days apart, in late August 2020. The two workers typically labored for hours at a time less than two feet apart; neither wore a protective facial mask consistently. Ten days later, two more workers operati...
Tags: Law, Missouri, OSHA, Jon Hyman, Mick Haupt


Coronavirus Update 2-22-2021: Get ready for the glut of Covid whistleblower tag-along claims

The headline reads, "Ex-Manager Sues Ample Hills in Lawsuit Alleging Harassment and Unsafe COVID-19 Protocols" (emphasis mine).Here's the lede:Bryce Mottram, a former general manager at one of quirky ice cream purveyor Ample Hills' scoop shops, has filed a lawsuit in New York Eastern District Court alleging that he was fired from the company in retaliation for speaking up about instances of sexual harassment and unsafe COVID-19 workplace protocols at the company.I firmly believe that for the n...
Tags: Law, Hassan, OSHA, Jon Hyman, Pixabay, Ample Hills, Coronavirus, Bryce Mottram, New York Eastern District Court


Coronavirus Update 2-12-2021: Get ready for the glut of Covid whistleblower tag-along claims

The headline reads, "Ex-Manager Sues Ample Hills in Lawsuit Alleging Harassment and Unsafe COVID-19 Protocols" (emphasis mine).Here's the lede:Bryce Mottram, a former general manager at one of quirky ice cream purveyor Ample Hills' scoop shops, has filed a lawsuit in New York Eastern District Court alleging that he was fired from the company in retaliation for speaking up about instances of sexual harassment and unsafe COVID-19 workplace protocols at the company.I firmly believe that for the n...
Tags: Law, Hassan, OSHA, Jon Hyman, Pixabay, Ample Hills, Bryce Mottram, New York Eastern District Court


Coronavirus Update 2-2-2021: As new COVID-19 variants doubling down on transmissibility, OSHA doubles down on prevenative measures

"Wear a mask and stay 6 feel apart." It might sound like Groundhog Day to keep repeating this mantra. It's also the most basic and most important steps we can take to remain safe, healthy, and COVID-free. Last week OSHA published new guidance for employers about mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. While I recommend you read it, understand it, and adopt its teachings in your workplace as best practices to keep your employees safe and healthy, I want to draw your ...
Tags: Law, Cdc, OSHA, Jon Hyman, COVID


Be in the Webinar Where It Happens: Shot or No Shot – A Vaccine Discussion

As plans for a broader vaccine rollout unfold, the questions and decisions facing employers have multiplied. Beyond the important question of whether employers can mandate vaccines, there is an equally-challenging question: should they? I’ve been talking with employers a lot about these issues the last few weeks — so much so, that my colleagues and I figured it would be best now to put together a webinar that tries to address the more complicated issues that have been arising. For example: What ...
Tags: Law, OSHA, Executive Orders


New White House, New Executive Orders

If you thought the new Biden White House would take it easy on the use of Executive Orders, you haven’t been paying attention.  President Biden has been indicating that he would use Executive Orders liberally in the first few days to either develop policy or turn around policies that he believes should be revoked. The first week has brought a series of orders that address topics from sexual orientation, to the pandemic, to wage increases. My colleagues, Keegan Drenosky and Sarah Westby, and I ha...
Tags: Work, New York, Law, Connecticut, President, Biden, Sexual Orientation, Remote, Lamont, Eric Meyer, OSHA, Executive Orders, Laws and Regulations, Wage & Hour, Legislative Developments, Featured Content


Coronavirus Update 1-25-2021: President Biden calls for unemployment benefits to employees who refuse to work because of Covid

Late last week, President Biden signaled that part of his overall plan to provide economic relief for American families and businesses amid the COVID-19 crisis is to broaden the availability of unemployment benefits to employees who quit their jobs related to Covid. Specifically, the president is "asking the U.S. Department of Labor to consider clarifying that workers who refuse unsafe working conditions can still receive unemployment insurance."  Allowing employees who quit in the name of ...
Tags: Law, Ohio, Capitol Hill, Biden, New York Public Library, U S Department of Labor, OSHA, Jon Hyman, COVID, America Rescue Plan Biden


What employers can expect from Biden’s presidency: A temporary emergency OSHA standard for COVID-19

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the identification of the first COVID-19 case in the United States. On January 20, 2020, the State of Washington and the CDC confirmed that someone in Washington State had contracted the virus. Since then, 24,809,840 additional Americans have contracted Covid, and 411,520 have died from it.  All the while, OSHA, the federal agency charged with protecting health and safety in the workplace, has done very little to address the pandemic, and we still lack ...
Tags: Law, Congress, Cdc, United States, Biden, Washington State, OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, State of Washington, Jon Hyman, Coronavirus, COVID, Protection Standard


COVID-19 Liability for Building Owners

With Covid-19 spreading across the U.S. and some places reclosing in reaction to the new surge, considered against a backdrop of more than 2,000 new statutes, regulations and executive orders addressing the pandemic that have been enacted in a matter of months, many commercial real estate owners are questioning if they can be liable for damages when someone, whether an employee of a business tenant or someone else, claims to have contracted the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) at their building? A...
Tags: Maryland, Law, Congress, California, Cdc, Alabama, San Francisco, Customers, Wyoming, Arkansas, Miami, Epa, Trump, Tulsa Oklahoma, Stuart Kaplow, OSHA


Coronavirus Update 11-12-2020: Breaking down the potential liabilities in Ohio’s new mask rules

During yesterday evening's statewide address, and amid dangerously rising COVID-19 infections and hospitalization, Governor Mike DeWine, announced the reissuing and restating of Ohio's mask mandate. The order now contains four specific rules for businesses to follow regarding mandatory masking. Each business will be required to post a Face Covering Requirement sign (version 1 / version 2) at all public entrances of the store.Each business will be responsible for ensuring that customers and emplo...
Tags: Law, Ohio, Ada, Don, Mike DeWine, OSHA, Jon Hyman, Bureau of Workers


Coronavirus Update 11-5-2020: OSHA levies $2 million in COVID-related citations and penalties

Are you tired of the endless din of vote counts and election news? Let's get back to the uplifting topic of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.OSHA recently announced a spate of COVID-related citations totaling $2,025,431 in fines.  What issues is OSHA seeing across employers?Failing to implement a written respiratory protection program;Failing to provide a medical evaluation, respirator fit test, training on the proper use of a respirator and personal protective equipment;Failing to report an injur...
Tags: Law, OSHA, Jon Hyman, COVID


When it Comes to COVID Emergency Regulations, Have a Plan

As I hope readers of this construction corner of the “blogosphere” know, Virginia adopted emergency COVID workplace regulations effective July 27, 2020, and with enforcement beginning at the end of September.  Among the various items found in these regulations are general requirements for all employers, including among others, the requirement to self determine the employer’s risk level and disinfecting requirements.  The regulations also have some requirements that seem specially directed toward...
Tags: Law, Virginia, Richmond VA, OSHA, Virginia Bar Association, VOSH, COVID


Coronavirus Update 10-28-2020: The 10th nominee for the “worst employer of 2020” is … the whistleblower whacker

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, describes itself as "the foremost expert, convener, and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces." Physician, heal thyself! According to a recent lawsuit filed against SHRM (as reported by The New Yorker), SHRM may have a huge whistleblower retaliation problem on its hands. Here are the key allegations, which SHRM denies: Bailey Yeager, a former director-level employee with a history of glowing performance reviews and p...
Tags: Law, Labor, Taylor, Scalia, Yeager, OSHA, SHRM, Johnny Taylor, Jon Hyman, Eugene Scalia, Society for Human Resource Management, Bailey Yeager


Coronavirus Update 10-14-2020: Reporting an employee who tests positive

When an employee tests positive, an employer has certain reporting obligations. These obligations fall into two categories—reporting to OSHA and reporting to your state or local health agency under state law.OSHAWhile OSHA has remained largely silent on mandates for businesses related to COVID-19, it has published specific guidance on when an employer must record and report COVID cases at work. Under OSHA's recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers must record ...
Tags: Law, Ohio, OSHA, Jon Hyman, COVID, Markus Winkler


Coronavirus Update 10-7-2020: Could White House employees file an OSHA complaint?

Monday night saw President Donald Trump dramatically return to the White House after his three-day stay at Walter Reed Medical Center for COVID-19. We saw Marine One land on the White House lawn, President Trump emerge and walk up the stairs to the White House, remove his mask for a photo op, enter his home with his mask still in his pocket, reemerge for a reshoot, and again enter the White House maskless. It's that last part I want to talk about. HuffPost asks if White House employees could l...
Tags: Law, White House, Secret Service, Associated Press, Donald Trump, Trump, Don, HuffPost, OSHA, Smithfield Foods, Jon Hyman, David Michaels, Walter Reed Medical Center, Could White House, Associated Press Secret Service, White House Require


Coronavirus Update 9-15-2020: Is your business ready for the coming “tidal wave” of COVID-19 employee lawsuits?

A Texas man sues, claiming he wasn't allowed to keep teleworking after the office reopenedA Kentucky worker sues after being fired for complaining about a lack of face masks at workAn older New York employee sues, claiming he was laid off because he was in a "vulnerable" COVID age groupThese are but a few of the dozens (and exponentially growing) lawsuits that employees have filed all over the country over COVID-related concerns. CNN Business quotes Joseph Seiner, an employment law professor ...
Tags: New York, Texas, Law, Congress, Kentucky, EEOC, NLRA, OSHA, University of South Carolina, Jon Hyman, Joseph Seiner


Coronavirus Update 8-19-2020: Government watchdog says OSHA whistleblower claims up, investigations down during pandemic

According to a report released yesterday by the Office of Inspector General, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA has been flooded with complaints by employees that their employers retaliated against them for making virus-related complaints. Yet, because of staffing shortages within OSHA's whistleblower protection program, the agency has been severely hampered in its ability to promptly investigate claims, resulting in significant investigatory delays. The IG report concludes:The pan...
Tags: Law, Ohio, OSHA, Jon Hyman, Loren Sweatt, Whistleblower Protection Program


Coronavirus Update 8-17-2020: COVID-19 and protected concerted activity

Let's suppose you're a health care organization that terminates an employee after the employee refuses to wear a shared isolation gown and after the employee starts a group discussion with co-workers about the risks and dangers of shared gowns. If that employee files an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the termination unlawfully violate his right to engage in protected concerted activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, do yo...
Tags: Law, National Labor Relations Board, Nlrb, Board, NLRA, OSHA, Jon Hyman, Although Charging Party, Charging Party, Further Charging Party, While Charging Party


Coronavirus Update 7-29-2020: SAFE TO WORK Act would offer employers a significant shield from employee COVID-19 lawsuits

Earlier this week, Senate Republican introduced their $1 trillion COVID-19 economic stimulus package. Among other proposals the bill contains the SAFE TO WORK Act [pdf], which would provide employers a significant shield from liability for lawsuits related to coronavirus exposure by requiring gross negligence or willful misconduct that actually causes a personal injury before liability could attach.  Employers would receive significant protections from employment-related COVID-19 lawsuits br...
Tags: Law, Ada, Senate Republican, Gina, NLRA, OSHA, FMLA, FLSA, ADEA, Jon Hyman, James Pond


PSA: New COVID Emergency Workplace Rules are Effective July 27, 2020

As you may have been aware, a virus is going around.  Virginia has set out a set of emergency employer regulations, including employee training requirements, which became effective this past Monday. The requirements are set out in . The new regulations set forth requirements for everything from PPE to how to treat cases of COVID in your workplace.  These will be in addition to any other OSHA or VOSH requirements.  All employers will need to comply with these regulations, including having a plan...
Tags: Law, Virginia, Announcements, Richmond VA, OSHA, Construction Law, Business of Construction, Construction Lawyer, COVID-19, Employer Rules, virginia COVID regulations


Coronavirus Update 7-15-2020: OSHA updates its mealy-mouthed facial covering FAQs (again)

OSHA has, yet again, updated its Frequently Asked Questions to advise employers about the use of face masks in the workplace during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. What does OSHA now recommend? OSHA generally recommends that employers encourage workers to wear face coverings at work. Face coverings are intended to prevent wearers who have Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) without knowing it (i.e., those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic) from spreading potentially infectious respir...
Tags: Law, Cdc, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, OSHA, Jon Hyman, COVID


Coronavirus Update 7-6-2020: Telsa fires workers for staying home after giving them permission to stay home … and after they complain about safety

"Carlos, there is no need to feel that you are going to lose your job. If at this time you do not feel comfortable returning to work, you can stay home without penalty and take the time unpaid." That email, sent from Tesla's acting human resources director to a now terminated employee, will be central to that employee's wrongful termination lawsuit pending against the automaker. The employee claims that Tesla retaliated against him because he pressured the company to release information ...
Tags: Law, Tesla, Carlos, OSHA, Jon Hyman, Andreas Dress


Pick a Mask, Any Mask? Not So Fast, Says OSHA

A few weeks ago, I did an inital post about how the new OSHA guidance on masks only served to complicate efforts for employers to comply with any such rules. This week, my colleague Alfredo Fernandez (with only a little help from me — byline notwithstanding) posted a more thorough post on the ins and outs of masks, face coverings and personal protective equipment. You can read the entire post here.  Here’s a sneak peek: The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issue...
Tags: Law, OSHA, COVID, Alfredo Fernandez


AFL-CIO Seeks Rehearing En Banc in Bid to Get ETS from OSHA [Sponsored]

The union is continuing to push for OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard on infectious diseases to give workers better protection than afforded by the agency’s nonbinding guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tags: Law, Wolters Kluwer, ETS, OSHA, Sponsored Content, COVID-19, AFL CIO Seeks Rehearing En Banc


If You’re Asking About Masks, OSHA Only Confuses the Answer

What do you think of masks? Strangely, it seems a loaded question of late.  How masks became a political hot potato is something that historians will debate. Yesterday, Connecticut tried out a new slogan encouraging common-sense use of masks. The new slogan? “If you have to ask, wear a mask”. But that’s not the full story of course. In all of the state’s reopening rules, masks (and face coverings) are a key component — in stores, restaurants, offices, even amusement parks. OSHA has chimed in as ...
Tags: Law, Connecticut, OSHA, Jon Hyman


Coronavirus Update 6–11–2020: OSHA issues guidance on cloth face coverings at work

I continue to struggle with comprehending how masks and facial coverings became one of the key coronavirus issues that's divided our nation. Click here for the latest actual science on the issue of whether masks help stop the spread of COVID-19. (TL;DR: they most certainly do.) OSHA has now waded into the mix by issuing a list of Frequently Asked Questions on cloth face coverings. The highlights?  Are employers required to provide cloth face coverings to workers?No, OSHA does not requir...
Tags: Law, Cdc, Ohio, Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, OSHA, Jon Hyman


Coronavirus Update 5-29-2020: Friday olio — an A+ set of reopening guidelines, a webinar, and a playlist

A few shares for your Friday.  First, on Wednesday the CDC published sweeping recommendations for reopening office buildings. According to the CDC, employers should, among other COVID-19 changes, take employee temperatures and check their symptoms upon arrival, space desks six feet apart or install shields between them, bar seating in common areas, and mandate face coverings. The CDC is also recommending updates to HVAC systems and abolishing communal perks like coffee pots and bulk snacks.  ...
Tags: Law, Cdc, Perkins, NLRA, OSHA, Jon Hyman, Suzanne Lucas, Perkins Will, Road Map, Amazingly Perkins Will


Coronavirus Update 5-27-2020: Is McDonald’s really a public nuisance?

As I've written in the past, it's difficult bordering on impossible for an employee to sue their employer based on an alleged COVID-19 exposure at the business. First, they have to overcome the issue of workers' comp exclusivity. And if they can manage to clear that, they still have the causation problem of proving that the exposure of this highly transmittable virus happened at work (as opposed to anywhere else in the world).  There's nothing like a pandemic, however, to spark the creativity...
Tags: Law, Manhattan, Reuters, McDonald, McDonald s Corporation, OSHA, Smithfield Foods, Jon Hyman, Pixabay, Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA, PPE, Akukahr


JBS Named in Wrongful Death Suit Alleging COVID-19 Infection Under Unsafe Work Conditions [Sponsored]

Instead of following CDC and OSHA guidelines, JBS purportedly ramped up production without implementing safety measures in order to capitalize on panic-motivated increased demand for ground meat, according to the complaint.
Tags: Law, Cdc, Wolters Kluwer, OSHA, JBS, Sponsored Content, COVID-19


Federal Defenders write to members of Congress to detail BOP/DOJ failings in response to COVID-19

I just received a copy of this lengthy letter from the Federal Public & Community Defenders to Members of Congress. I recommend the 13-page letter in full, and here are some excerpts (with footnotes omitted): We are grateful for the continued interest in the views of the Federal Public and Community Defenders (“Federal Defenders”) by Congress during the COVID-19 crisis. Federal Defenders and other counsel appointed under the Criminal Justice Act represent 90 percent of all federal defendants. W...
Tags: Law, Congress, Cdc, New York City, Brooklyn, United States, Doj, Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, Congressional, House Judiciary Committee, MDC, OSHA, U S Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Douglas A Berman, Federal Defenders, Jerry Nadler



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