The Delta variant causes a new wave of COVID restrictions. For companies trying to reopen and return to normal, this can create new employment issues.
A New Wave of Mask Mandates and Business Restrictions
The CDC has recently updated its recommendations to say that even fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks indoors in areas with high or high transmission.
Some states have responded with new worm mandates that apply to vaccinated individuals. According to Forbes, Washington, New Mexico and Nevada are among the states that have reintroduced worm mandates, and some states have never completed their initial requirements for indoor worms.
Some states and cities have introduced additional restrictions or requirements. In New York City, for example, people who are not vaccinated will be excluded from indoor restaurants, gyms, cinemas and various other public indoor activities.
But at least at this point, it seems that most US governments are not introducing broad-based domicile orders that force companies to close. This means that companies can continue with their plans to reopen, but they must do so carefully. The risk of COVID-19 is still high, which means that the risk of litigation-related litigation is also still high.
Requires the COVID-19 vaccine
When it comes to getting workers vaccinated, employers have two main choices. One, they can simply encourage vaccination. This may include offering benefits and incentives, such as paid leave to recover from the side effects of the vaccine. Two, they may require employees to be vaccinated.
According to NBC, Delta Air Lines, DoorDash, Google, Ford, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and many other companies have created policies that require vaccination for at least some employees. This strategy may become more common in the near future. This is because as of August 23, the FDA has given the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people 16 years of age and older. For individuals between 12 and 15 years of age, the vaccine is still available under emergency use.
The fact that a vaccine has full approval can help reassure workers who have avoided receiving a vaccine that they see as experimental. However, feelings of anti-vaccination can be strong, and some people will no doubt continue to oppose the vaccine. Employers who want to demand vaccination can worry about lawsuits from such people.
This concern is not unfounded. SHRM says that more employees have challenged the requirements for vaccines. However, a federal judge in Texas has dismissed a lawsuit regarding the mandate of a hospital vaccine, and some legal experts have said that such lawsuits are not valid.
According to the EEOC: “Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees who physically enter the workplace to be vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to reasonable housing regulations in Title VII and ADA and other EEO considerations. .
According to SHRM, some employers have also considered adding a fee (much like a smoking supplement) to the health insurance premiums for unvaccinated workers. Here is what they say about the pros and cons of that decision.
Navigating the New Employment Routines
For many companies, resumption is the only way to survive, but being affected by a lawsuit can threaten that survival. This means that entrepreneurs must be careful.
- Take health and safety seriously. Even among the fully vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19. This means that you must continue to follow other safety methods, such as encouraging workers to stay home when they are ill.
- Creating a Vaccine Policy. Whether you require or simply encourage vaccines, you should have a clear policy that complies with current health and safety recommendations, as well as state and federal laws.
- Follow mask recommendations. In some states and cities, local orders require masks.
- Review your EPLI policy. Understand the scope of your coverage and how your policy would react if you were sued for a COVID-related issue.
- Stay tuned for updates. This is still an evolving situation. Continue to look for changes in disputes, legislation and health recommendations.