Category Archives: Workplace Safety

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Philadelphia City Council Passes Bill Prohibiting Employers from Retaliating Against Workers for Speaking Out About COVID-19 Safety Violations

In advance of Philadelphia entering the “green” phase and many businesses reopening, the Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed the Essential Workers Protection Act (Bill No. 200328) on June 25 and was signed by Mayor Jim Kenney on June 26, 2020. For purposes of this Act, introduced by City Councilwoman Helen Gym, essential workers are employees who … Continue Reading

Greenberg Traurig Attorneys John Richards and Nicholas Corsano Author Corporate Counsel Article on LGBT+ Workplace Inclusion

Greenberg Traurig Shareholder John Richards and Associate Nicholas Corsano penned a guest article for Corporate Counsel following the recent Supreme Court ruling extending workplace protections to LGBT+ people. In their article titled, “Practical Implications for Employers on Recent SCOTUS Ruling Giving Title VII Protection for LGBT+ Employees,” Richards and Corsano offer advice for LGBT+ inclusion … Continue Reading

California Requires Face Coverings as Coronavirus Cases Increases

As California enters Stage 2 of its “Resilience Roadmap” plan to reopen, California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health issued further guidance on June 18, 2020, mandating all Californians wear face coverings in various “high-risk” settings.  The guidance updates a previous CDPH guidance (issued on April 1, 2020) that outlined best … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Updates Sector-Specific Safety Standards for Phase 2 Step 2 of Economic Reopening

Effective June 22, 2020, Massachusetts moves into Step 2 of Phase 2 of the Four-Phase Reopening Plan. Businesses permitted to reopen in Step 2 can resume operations under their sector-specific guidance. In addition, prior to opening, the business must meet all safety standards, create a COVID-19 control plan, and complete a self-certification. Read the full … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Antibody Testing

On June 17, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance (see A.7.) stating employers cannot require workers to undergo Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) antibody testing (as distinguished from testing for the COVID-19 virus itself). Increased COVID-19 antibody (or “serology”) testing has been cited as a helpful tool because it aids in understanding … Continue Reading

OSHA Will Examine If Employers Determined Whether Employee COVID-19 Cases Are Work-Related For Purposes of Recording Workplace Injury and Illnesses

On May 19, 2020, OSHA issued another enforcement guidance memorandum regarding recording COVID-19 cases that rescinds the prior guidance and obligates employers to make at least some work-related determinations regarding employees who contract COVID-19. The new memorandum goes into effect May 26, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice. By way of background, … Continue Reading

ReOpen DC Advisory Group Recommends Four-Stage Reopening Plan

On May 21, 2020, the ReOpen DC Advisory Group, led by Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary Michael Chertoff, issued recommendations to Mayor Muriel Bowser for reopening the city in four stages. While the plan does not include specific dates, Mayor Bowser announced that Stage One could begin as early as May 29, 2020. This GT Alert summarizes the four … Continue Reading

DOJ and FTC Issue Joint Antitrust Statements for Businesses and Workers in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

In April, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission released a Joint Statement, warning they are “on alert” and will scrutinize employers – especially employers of front-line and essential workers such as doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, pharmacists, and warehouse workers – who engage in … Continue Reading

UK Employer COVID-19 Return-to-Work and Reporting Obligations Under RIDDOR

The UK national government has announced, in relation to England only, a programme of progressive easing of current lockdown measures due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). With respect to working arrangements, the guidance provides that: [a]ll reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from … Continue Reading

New York DOH Issues Business Reopening Safety Plan

The New York State Department of Health has issued a model Business Reopening Safety Plan for businesses that will be reopening in Phase 1 of Gov. Cuomo’s four-phase reopening guidelines for various regions and industries in New York state. Read the full GT Alert, “New York DOH Issues Business Reopening Safety Plan.”… Continue Reading

New Jersey to Permit Curbside Pickup at Non-Essential Retail Businesses, Non-Essential Construction, and Gatherings in Cars

On May 13, 2020, in a step towards reopening New Jersey’s economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 142, which among other things (i) permits “non-essential” retail businesses to operate on a “curbside pickup” basis, and (ii) lifts the ban on non-essential construction projects. Executive Order No. 142 modifies earlier Executive … Continue Reading

Governor Baker Announces Reopening Plan for Massachusetts Economy

On May 18, 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced the implementation of a four-phase reopening plan for Massachusetts. For an overview of the four-phase plan, see GT Alert, Massachusetts Announces Four-Phase Reopening Approach and Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards, May 14, 2020. Businesses eligible to reopen in Phase One must follow both mandatory workplace safety standards and sector-specific requirements. Businesses … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Announces Four-Phase Reopening Approach and Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards

On May 11, 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced a four-phase approach to reopening the Massachusetts economy in light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The phased reopening is based on public health guidance, and is intended to allow certain businesses, services, and activities to resume, while aiming to protect public health and limit a … Continue Reading

Coronavirus and the Occupational Safety and Health Act: What Employers Need to Know

As the novel coronavirus (Coronavirus) continues to spread in China and around the world, employers may want to consider steps to take in addressing the Coronavirus in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published a webpage that provides workers and employers with interim guidance and resources for preventing exposure to the … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit to Take on OSHA Authority to Regulate Workplace Violence

On Jan. 9, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral argument in BHC Nw. Psychiatric Hosp. LLC v. Sec’y of Labor, a case that asks the court to decide how far the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can go when directing a hospital to put in place measures to … Continue Reading

Amendments to Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act Clarify Limitations of Employer Liability

On December 4, 2019, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 1557, which makes various changes to the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “Cannabis Act”), including providing much-needed clarity with respect to potential employer liability. The Cannabis Act, which legalizes (under Illinois state law) the adult recreational use of cannabis, goes … Continue Reading

Violating OSHA’s Anti-Retaliation Provision Can Be Costly!

On Aug. 23, 2019, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania awarded over a million dollars in lost wages and punitive damages to two former employees of Lloyd Industries after a jury found the company and its owner fired them in retaliation for their participation in a … Continue Reading

House Zeros in on Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Service Industries

House Democrats have set their sights on workplace violence in health care and social service industries. According to congressional findings, the health care and social service industries suffer the highest rates of injuries caused by workplace violence. Health care and social service workers made up 69 percent of all workplace violence injuries in 2017 and … Continue Reading

VA Supreme Court Holds Employer Owes Duty to Employee’s Family

On Oct. 11, 2018, the Virginia Supreme Court extended the duty of care owed by an employer beyond just employees to any family members or third parties who may be affected by the employer’s action. In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled in Quisenberry v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc. that if an employer knew or should … Continue Reading

OSHA Clarifies Position on Workplace Safety Incentive Programs and Post-Incident Drug Testing

On Oct. 11, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum (the Memorandum) clarifying its position that 29 C.F.R. § 1904.35(b)(1)(iv) does not prohibit employers from instituting workplace safety incentive programs or post-incident drug testing. OSHA stated that to the extent any of their other OSHA interpretive documents conflicted with the Memorandum, … Continue Reading

OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program on Reducing Exposure to Ammonium

On Oct. 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a new Regional Emphasis Program (REP) to address hazards from exposure to fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) and agricultural anhydrous ammonia. The REP will be effective in the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. It is aimed at … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court: Civil Penalties for Employers Accused of Violating California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act

On Feb. 8, 2017, the California Supreme Court ruled that California law allows local prosecutors to pursue civil penalties against employers accused of workplace-safety violations under California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal OSHA).  Solus Indus. Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court, No. S222314, 2018 WL 771814 (Cal. Feb. 8, 2018).  This means that California employers … Continue Reading

OSHA Continues to Make Changes to Its Enforcement Procedures for Reporting Requirements

Hey employer, remember that workplace injury that you reported to OSHA a few months ago? You remember, right? The one where after you gave OSHA information about the workplace injury, like the root cause of the incident, and a few days later OSHA informed you that it considered the matter “closed.” Well guess what? OSHA … Continue Reading

Secretary of Labor v. U.S. Steel Corporation, Inc. and OSHA’s Continued Stand Against Employer Retaliation

Employers, do your safety policies and procedures require employees to immediately report their injuries? Do you discipline employees for failing to follow your safety policies and procedures? Most employers with safety programs in place probably answered “yes” to both of those questions and probably believe that both of those propositions are central to managing their … Continue Reading
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