NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —
What: Back to Office (BTO) Trends
Why: With a majority of U.S. states now challenging at least one of the various forms of federal vaccination or testing requirements on health care workers and speculation that the omicron variant could reverse progress with declining infection rates and the post-pandemic recovery, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. has assembled the latest state law requirements related to vaccine and mask mandates, vaccine passports and employer liability. Wolters Kluwer labor law experts are available for interviews to offer analysis on what the latest news regarding the virus and legal challenges to various COVID-19 precautions could mean for employers and employees.
- Vaccine Mandate: On Monday, November 29, a federal judge blocked, through a preliminary injunction, a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states. The injunction applies to Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. On Tuesday, November 30, a federal district court in Louisiana went further and blocked nationwide the coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers, except the 10 states already under the November 29 preliminary injunction.
On Monday, November 29, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request for an injunction against a hospital’s coronavirus vaccine policy. The challenge to the CMS mandate is different from the OSHA coronavirus vaccine mandate that is being challenged separately, and that will impact more workers and employers.
On Tuesday, November 30, a federal district court in Kentucky blocked the enforcement of a regulation requiring new government contracts to include clauses requiring that employees of contractors get vaccinated.
Other court rulings are anticipated.
- Mask Mandate: As of December 2, of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories, 25 jurisdictions have some form of mask mandate in place, while 19 jurisdictions have no mask mandates, either because no mandate was imposed, or because a mandate was lifted or allowed to expire. 12 jurisdictions prohibit state or local governments from imposing mask mandates.
- Vaccine Passport: In addition, as of December 2, 2021, 11 jurisdictions—American Samoa, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawai’i, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Puerto Rico—have implemented some form of COVID-19 vaccine passport, allowing or requiring a person to show their vaccination status upon request, while 21 jurisdictions have banned all or some proof of vaccination requirements. Of those 21 jurisdictions, 12 states have imposed a ban through legislation. The other nine states have banned proof of vaccination through executive order by the Governor, with most of the prohibitions applying only to government agencies. However, there are broader prohibitions in Texas and Florida, where private businesses are barred from requiring proof of vaccination.
- Employer Liability: As of December 2, 2021, 40 U.S. jurisdictions have enacted legislation or issued an executive order imposing some limitations on liability for COVID-19 transmission. Perhaps the most common feature of shield laws is to provide a shield against liability for ordinary negligence and require that a plaintiff show gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
Who: Cathleen Calhoun, Legal Analyst; Pamela Wolf, Sr. Legal Analyst
Cathleen Calhoun, J.D., is a health law legal analyst at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. with areas of expertise in health care compliance, Medicare benefits and coverage, health care reimbursement and more. Cathleen can give insight on the importance of keeping track of state law requirements and ways to keep employees safe, healthy and comfortable when returning back to office.
Pamela Wolf, J.D., is a senior employment legal analyst at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. who tracks and analyzes employment issues including White House and federal agency developments, federal regulations, court decisions, state and federal legislation, and labor and employment trends. Pamela can discuss the important steps and questions employers should consider when it comes to developing back to office COVID-19 policies and protocols for their employees.
“When a state does not have a mask mandate, a city within that state may impose a mask mandate independently. In Missouri, for example, the state does not have a state-wide mask mandate, but the city of Saint Louis has a mask mandate. Employers will need to be aware of actions cities take on mask mandates in those cities where they have a presence.” —Cathleen Calhoun, Legal Analyst.
“With the growing number of federal appeals court lawsuits challenging OSHA’s vaccination or testing mandate for large private employers now consolidated in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, employers can look forward to greater clarity—and relatively quickly—on the compliance front.”—Pamela Wolf, Senior Legal Analyst.
Contact: To arrange an interview with Cathleen Calhoun, Pamela Wolf or other legal experts from Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, U.S. on this or any other legal related topics, please contact Linda Gharib: [email protected]
About Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S.
Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the healthcare; tax and accounting; governance, risk and compliance; and legal and regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with technology and services.
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