On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued two decisions addressing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccination mandate.

The Supreme Court put the OSHA ETS on hold, finding the ETS was more akin to a general public health measure rather than an “occupational safety or health standard.” The stay will remain in place pending a review of
Continue Reading Supreme Court Stays OSHA ETS, Upholds CMS Vaccination Mandate

As you know, in early November, OSHA announced an emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) which affects employers with 100 or more employees. The ETS directs these covered employers to develop, implement, and enforce a written mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy—or to adopt a written policy requiring employees to either choose to be vaccinated or to be tested regularly and wear a face covering at work.

The ETS was immediately challenged, and within a few days, the ETS was halted nation-wide by
Continue Reading OSHA’s Vaccine or Test Rule Remains in Limbo Following Arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court

Beginning November 8, 2021, a burden on millions of travelers will be eased with the revocation of the country-specific travel bans that have been in place since 2020. Individuals previously prevented from traveling directly to the United States if they were in one of the 33 banned countries (all countries part of the Schengen Region, the U.K., Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, China and Iran) within 14 days prior to seeking entry into the country, will now be able to
Continue Reading United States Ends International Travel Ban With New COVID-19 Requirements

Employers nationwide are implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies in light of the September 9, 2021 announcement of President Biden’s “Path Out of the Pandemic” COVID-19 Action Plan. In turn, employers are increasingly receiving requests from employees for exemptions from these mandatory vaccine policies for a wide variety of reasons, including medical, social, political, economic, and personal, as well as religious reasons.

In considering employee requests for an exemption from a vaccine mandate for religious reasons, employers need to consider
Continue Reading EEOC Updated Guidance for Handling Religious Exemption Requests from Vaccine Mandates

Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) added more FAQs to its COVID guidance to what is becoming a very long list that started months ago. The EEOC highlights the additional religious exemption guidance as follows:

  • Employees and applicants must inform their employers if they seek an exception to an employer’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement due to a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.
  • Title VII requires employers to consider requests for religious accommodations but does not protect social,

Continue Reading EEOC Issues Updated COVID-19 FAQs

The Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”), which is the federal agency that enforces the health care privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), recently published guidance covering various health care privacy issues relating to COVID-19.  The recently published guidance addresses a variety of HIPAA issues including whether a business or individual is prohibited from asking customers, clients, and employees about their vaccination status.  The OCR attempts to clarify some of the misconceptions members of the
Continue Reading HIPAA and COVID-19 – OCR Publishes Online Guidance on the Application of HIPAA

Next week, the Association for Professional Responsibility Lawyers will hold its first conference in-person since early 2020. Everyone attending in person has been asked to submit proof of vaccination. I admit to over-excitement at sending that e-mail with the card. I’ve missed my nerd friends.
Those who do not wish to submit proof, for whatever reason, can attend virtually. And in any case, APRL is a voluntary bar and can make whatever vaccine rules it wants, and nobody is
Continue Reading Do Lawyers Have an Ethical Obligation to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19?

The Magic Language:

The Federal Acquisition Regulation Council (FAR Council) was charged with drafting contractual language to require compliance with the guidance from the SAFER Task Force (Guidance). For a more in-depth discussion of the Guidance, see our blog post from September 24, BREAKING NEWS! Guidance Issued on Biden’s Contractor Vaccine Mandate!

The FAR Council issued a memorandum on October 1, 2021 in response to Executive Order 14042 (EO), including the contract language titled “Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols
Continue Reading Update for Federal Contractors: The Magic Language and Updated FAQs

One of the expected consequences of the COVID epidemic was disputes between parents regarding parenting children.

These disputes could be over any of these matters:

  • To vaccinate or not to vaccinate
  • To mask or not mask
  • Virtual schooling or in-person
  • The contact of children with unvaccinated people

Not surprisingly, there have been (to my knowledge, at least) no reported cases on any of these issues at the appellate level. This was expected given the length of time it takes
Continue Reading COVID and Custody: Surprising Lack of Litigation Among Parents Over Vaccines, Masks

With Congress still negotiating a third round of stimulus payments, you should carefully consider when to file your taxes this tax season.  Tax season begins February 12th and ends April 15th.  Filing your taxes earlier or later within that time period may determine whether or not you receive the third stimulus payment and how much that you receive.

The third stimulus payment is again expected to be capped at certain income levels.  The current proposal is $1,400 payments to
Continue Reading Stimulus Payments: When Should I File My 2020 Taxes?

On January 21, 2020, President Joe Biden ordered OSHA to issue revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 29, 2020, OSHA provided guidance entitled “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.” This guidance is directed to employers outside of health care and emergency response settings.

The guidance reiterates the need for employers to implement a comprehensive COVID-19 Prevention Program. To assist employers with determining whether the
Continue Reading OSHA Provides Updated COVID-19 Guidance and Recommendations for Employers

On Monday, February 8, 2021, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Chuck Schumer announced that part of the December COVID-19 relief bill will include $2 billion in funds to FEMA for the reimbursement of funeral expenses for those who have died from COVID. Exact details are limited, but families will be eligible for a reimbursement up to $7,000 for funeral assistance. The funds will be available for COVID deaths dating back to January of 2020.

Funeral expenses are often
Continue Reading COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Approved Via FEMA

On Thursday, February 4, 2021, the Wisconsin State Assembly (“Assembly”) voted on a resolution to repeal the mask mandate. This vote came a week after the Wisconsin State Senate (“Senate”) voted on the same resolution to repeal the mask mandate. The same statute that gives the Governor power to create executive orders, also allows the Senate and the Assembly to repeal the orders by simple majority vote in each chamber.

Republican lawmakers argued that Governor Evers exceeded his authority
Continue Reading The Wisconsin Mask Mandate Renewed

A little less than a month ago, the IRS reversed its original  position, and stated that businesses can deduct expenses paid for with the proceeds of a forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, as further detailed here.  However, in guidance issued on Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue clarified that expenses that are paid with the forgivable PPP funds (in the first round) are not deductible for Wisconsin income/franchise tax purposes and must be added back to Wisconsin
Continue Reading Wisconsin Department of Revenue Says Expenses Paid with First Round Forgiven PPP Loans are Not Deductible

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a new, “stronger” Guidance on identifying and preventing coronavirus exposure risks in the workplace. Although this is labeled a “Guidance” and OSHA says that it is advisory, employers are cautioned that they can be at risk for standard OSHA penalties under the General Duty Clause if reasonable efforts are not made to minimize…

Continue Reading OSHA Issues “Stronger” Guidance on COVID-19 in the Workplace

Today the CDC issued its “ COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers: Getting Started”, which includes posters, FAQs, and templates to use when communicating with your workforce about the vaccine. In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ webpage on the vaccine has a great deal of information specific to our state. As always, as you consider the vaccine and its…

Continue Reading CDC Issues Vaccine Toolkit for Employers!