Labor and Employment Law Update

Welcome to the Labor and Employment Law Update where attorneys from SmithAmundsen blog about management side labor and employment issues. We cover topics including addressing harassment and discrimination in the workplace, developing labor law, navigating through ADA(AA), FMLA and workers’ compensation issues, avoiding wage and hour landmines, key legislative, case law and regulatory changes and much more! Learn more about our firm at

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Latest from Labor and Employment Law Update

Contributed by Peter Hansen, January 25, 2022

Medicine doctor and vaccine dose

If you’re wondering what to do in the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s decision striking down the OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard mandating COVID-19 vaccination and testing, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, there is no short answer for many employers – it largely depends on your industry, and where you’re located. 

First and foremost, you need to verify that you are not subject to any other COVID-19 vaccination mandates. Employers in the health care industry that fall under the reach of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS),
Continue Reading OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate is Dead, Now What?

Contributed by Heather Bailey, January 24, 2022

doctor hand wears medical glove holding syringe and vial bottle with covid 19 vaccine

On December 7, 2021, we brought to you the news that U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker in the Southern District of Georgia put a nationwide halt on the federal contractor vaccination mandate. On January 21, 2022 Judge Jeffrey V. Brown of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas agreed with Judge Baker. The judge opined that this case was not about the importance of being vaccinated or not, because the judge agreed
Continue Reading Federal Contractors’ Alert: Your Vaccine Mandate Has Been Halted….Again

Contributed by Sara M. Rose on January 21, 2022

As of January 2022, the State of California and the State of Oregon have issued new workplace posters and updated certification forms related to various labor laws. The materials addressed below are mandatory postings for all employers, whether that be in the workplace or provided in employee handbooks. Businesses that fail to comply may be subject to fines or sanctions.


The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has issued multiple new posters and certification forms in connection with the expansion of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and
Continue Reading Local and State Law Updates: California and Oregon Issue New Posters

Contributed by John R. Hayes, January 20, 2022

State of California

Signed into law on October 7, 2021 by California Governor Gavin Newsom and effective January 1, 2022, the “Silenced No More Act” amends and expands the previous Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures (STAND) Act. 

The STAND Act was passed in 2018 in the wake of the #MeToo movement and focused specifically on claims of sexual harassment and discrimination or retaliation based on sex.  The new law goes beyond the STAND Act’s focus on sex discrimination and harassment, and expands its protections to any characteristic protected under California law. For
Continue Reading California Law Alert – Employment Agreements Subject to New Restrictions

Contributed by Suzannah Overholt, January 17, 2022

Filling syringe with medicine from vial, closeup

On January 14, CMS issued guidance regarding when the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers will be enforced in the 24 states affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling issued the previous day. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

By February 15, 2022, covered facilities must demonstrate that:

  • Policies and procedures are developed and implemented for ensuring all

Continue Reading Updated Deadlines for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers

Contributed by Matthew Horn, January 13, 2022

In a 6-3 decision just released, the Supreme Court blocked OSHA’s Emergency COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Standard (“ETS”) from taking effect, which required employers with one hundred or more employees to conduct weekly testing of all unvaccinated employees, amongst other things. 

While procedurally, the ruling merely reinstituted the stay of the ETS, the ruling signaled the final outcome for the ETS, finding more broadly that the ETS went beyond OSHA’s authority. The Court stated: “[a]lthough Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that
Continue Reading OSHA’s Emergency COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Standard Blocked

Contributed by Suzannah Overholt, January 13, 2022

Ending months of uncertainty, today the Supreme Court issued its decision allowing CMS to enforce its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The Court’s decision stays the injunctions entered by federal courts in Missouri and Louisiana. CMS may now enforce the rule nationwide. Before today’s decision, the CMS rule could only be enforced in 26 states. 

As a refresher on what the CMS rule requires, see our previous summary of the rule. Further guidance should be issued by CMS before compliance is required. We will continue to keep you updated.

In another opinion
Continue Reading CMS Health Care Vaccine Mandate Allowed by U.S. Supreme Court

Contributed by Kelly Haab-Tallitsch and Sara Zorich, January 13, 2022

President Biden announced on January 10th that the Biden-Harris Administration is requiring insurance companies and group health plans to cover the cost of over-the-counter (OTC), at-home COVID-19 tests. Beginning January 15, 2022, individuals with private health insurance coverage or covered by a group health plan who purchase an over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test authorized, cleared, or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be able to have those test costs covered by their plan or insurance. Insurance companies and health plans are required to cover 8 free
Continue Reading Biden’s Insurance Plan Mandate to Cover At-Home COVID-19 Tests, But Not for Employment Purposes

Contributed by Sara M. Rose, January 12, 2022

Scales of Justice, Weight Scale, Balance.

On January 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing the agencies’ most recent pact to enforce federal labor and employment laws.

The partnership intends to ensure that workers receive proper wages and are able to take collective action to improve working conditions without fear of retaliation. The MOU outlines several procedures on information-sharing, joint investigations and enforcement activity, and training meant to strengthen the agencies’ partnership and enhance enforcement
Continue Reading DOL and NLRB Agree to Share Information and Counsel Employees on Overlapping Enforcement Matters

Contributed by Jacqueline Lentini McCullough, January 10, 2022

11411781 – photograph of a USCIS logo and American flag.

With the New Year upon us, it is time to begin the initial H-1B process for any interested companies or organizations with foreign workers. Now is the time to see if anyone will need assistance with an H-1B petition. 

In 2019, USCIS implemented a new electronic registration system for employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for foreign national employees. Last year, the registration period for foreign nationals ran from March 9 to March 25, 2021. We anticipate a similar timeframe this
Continue Reading NOW is the Time to Assess H-1B Visas for 2022!

Contributed by Sara Zorich and Jeff Risch, December 20, 2021

Filling syringe with medicine from vial, closeup

On December 17, 2021, in a 2-1 decision, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved the stay of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) previously ordered by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Therefore, OSHA’s ETS mandating workplace vaccination and testing on all private employers with 100 or more employees is back on. While the 6th Circuit did not address timing issues, the day after the decision was released, OSHA announced that it will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements
Continue Reading OSHA’S COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate is Back on!

Contributed by Suzannah Wilson Overholt, December 16, 2021

syringe and vial bottle with covid 19 vaccine

In the ongoing saga of the federal government’s attempts to impose vaccine mandates on certain sectors, on Wednesday, December 15, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit concluded that the nationwide injunction issued by a Louisiana District Court was overbroad and could only apply to the 14 states that were plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The court stayed the injunction for the 26 states that were not parties to the lawsuit before it or covered by the 10-state injunction issued by
Continue Reading CMS Vaccine Mandate – On Again (Sort Of)?

Contributed by Jeff Risch, December 13, 2021,

If you have frequented the SmithAmundsen Labor & Employment Blog, you may recall that we previously reported on one of the very first actions taken by Governor Pritzker immediately following his inauguration in January 2019. Gov. Pritzker signed into law additional amendments to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act (IPWA). Amongst the changes made to one of the most onerous prevailing wage laws in the United States, was a new mandate that required all contractors to submit their monthly certified transcript of payroll via the Illinois Department of Labor’s (IDOL) electronic database through an
Continue Reading Illinois Prevailing Wage Pay Data Now Online for Anyone to View and “Complain”

Contributed by Heather Bailey, December 7, 2021

Judge’s gavel

In September President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 was blessed by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force requiring certain federal contractors to have all of their contract and related workers vaccinated against COVID-19 by the new deadline date of January 4, 2022 (it was previously set for December 8, 2021 but with the OSHA and CMS mandates, the federal contractors’ date was extended). Just like President Biden’s Orders to get both healthcare workers and employees who work for companies with 100 or more employees vaccinated, the federal contractor vaccination mandate is
Continue Reading Federal Contractors’ Alert: COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate Is Halted — For Now

Contributed by Suzannah Wilson Overholt, December 1, 2021

gavel and scales of justice

On Tuesday, November 30, Louisiana federal district Judge Doughty issued a nationwide injunction against implementation of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) vaccine mandate for health care workers. Judge Doughty’s decision was issued just a day after Missouri federal district Judge Schelp issued a preliminary injunction against the mandate in 10 states. Unlike the Missouri decision, the Louisiana court issued a nationwide injunction due to that court’s conclusion that there was a need for uniformity and protection of unvaccinated healthcare workers. In reaching its decision,
Continue Reading CMS Vaccine Mandate Enjoined Nationwide

Contributed by Heather Bailey, November 30, 2021

With the help of the US Department of Labor (DOL), the Biden Administration made good on its promise to increase the minimum wage for workers who work on new or updated federal contracts (including extended, renewed, or exercise of an option on an existing contract). The President’s full Executive Order may be found on the White House website.

This was carried out by the DOL on November 22, 2021 with its Final Rule requiring that such workers’ minimum pay will now be $15.00 an hour starting January 30, 2022. Keep in mind
Continue Reading Federal Contractors’ Alert: Minimum Wage for Workers Is Going Up January 30, 2022