As COVID-19 vaccines continue to be rolled out, many employers that shifted to remote work environments at the onset of the pandemic still have employees working from home. While some employers intend to transition back to the regular workplace once the environment improves, many intend to maintain a remote workforce for the longer term. However, remote work arrangements create a number of employment and tax challenges. This article sets out key considerations for employers.
This article answers employers' questions on the COVID-19 vaccine, including with regard to mandatory and voluntary vaccination policies, requests for remote working, the individualised enquiry framework, anti-vaccination advocacy, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy, religious exemption requests and workers' compensation claims.
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) efforts are important but create unique risks for multinationals with US operations due to the risk of reverse discrimination litigation under US law. This is because US employment discrimination laws swing both ways. For example, the prohibition against sex discrimination protects men as well as women. This means that ESG efforts involving employment must be pursued more thoughtfully.
Employers that implement a mandatory vaccination programme should pay close attention to their responsibilities under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act, Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as many of the traditional applications of those laws apply to this type of programme.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law the New York Health and Essential Rights (HERO) Act, which imposes stringent new workplace safety requirements on all employers in New York. The HERO Act requires the New York commissioners of labour and health to create a model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standard for all employers across the state, differentiated by industry. This article provides guidance for employers on how to prepare for the act's implementation.