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Court of Appeals Nixes City of San Antonio’s Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

Last week was not a slow news week for this blog!!! On March 10th, judges of the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio threw out the City of San Antonio’s “Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance.”  Some of you may be old enough to remember that the ordinance passed originally in 2018 as the “Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.” To make a long, convoluted story short, several business groups filed suit against the enforcement of the ordinance, and Judge Peter Sakai…

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President Biden Signs New COVID Relief Bill

On March 11th, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, the latest coronavirus relief bill.  The Act reportedly authorized $1.9 trillion in new spending, but, unlike previous relief bills, this one passed completely along party lines. Some of the best-known provisions of the Act are not directly employment related, like the $1,400 checks that will go out to many Americans, but there are a number of provisions that directly affect employers or their employees. To name just several,…

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Judge Wolff, Mayor Nirenberg Issue New COVID Orders

In response to Governor Abbbott’s executive order lifting the mask mandate and all capacity restrictions, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued their own new orders on the COVID pandemic on March 9th, the day before the governor’s executive order was to go into effect. Judge Wolff issued his order first, and Mayor Nirenberg followed with his later the same day.  The mayor’s adopted not only Judge Wolff’s order and Governor Abbott’s executive order, but…

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Texas Governor Lifts Mask Mandate and Capacity Restrictions Effective March 10th

On March 2nd, Governor Abbott announced the lifting of the State’s mask mandate and increases capacity of all businesses and facilities in the State to 100%.  The Governor issued an executive order (GA-34), lifting the mask mandate and capacity restrictions, which went into effect on Wednesday, March 10th. The executive order did state that, in areas where hospitalizations for COVID exceed 15%, county judges may institute restrictions, but may not reduce capacity below 50%, may not jail people for violating orders, and…

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President-Elect Biden Names Boston Mayor New Labor Secretary

President Elect Joe Biden has today named Boston mayor Marty Walsh to be his new Secretary of Labor, replacing Eugene Scalia. According to Bloomberg Law, Mayor Walsh was a Massachusetts state representative for 17 years and was the head of the Boston Building & Construction Trades Council. Walsh has significant union support, and it may be surmised the Department of Labor will be much more employee- and union-friendly than under Secretary Scalia.  That would not be hard. Walsh is of…

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Mandatory COVID-19 Leave Expired December 31st

On December 31st, the mandatory coronavirus sick leave and family leave passed by Congress last March in the FFCRA expired.  The two kinds of leave – you remember them, right? – were not extended by the big coronavirus relief package passed by Congress December 21st and signed by the President on the 27th. Incidentally, the relief package was dubbed, unusually unimaginatively, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.” On December 31st, the Department of Labor noted the expiration of the leave requirements, and…

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Vaccine Recipients Are Told They Have Option to Refuse Vaccination

Employers thinking about requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should know that, as pointed out recently by Bloomberg Law, potential recipients of the Pfizer vaccine are told in a fact sheet that it is their choice to receive or not receive the vaccine.  Further, a fact sheet for health care providers who are to administer the vaccine informs them that they must communicate to recipients the they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccine. I do not…

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EEOC Issues Guidance on Employer-Mandated COVID Vaccinations

Just this week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) issued a guidance in Q&A form on the newly-timely question of whether or when employers may require employees to receive one of the new COVID vaccinations from Pfizer or Moderna.  The nine Q&As dealt with the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and “GINA,” the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act. The nine were tacked on to the end of a…

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DoL Gives COVID Leave Guidance for Parents on School

In August and September, the Department of Labor provided some guidance for parents on when they can take  sick leave or family leave under the FFCRA, a law passed after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, to look after a child who is staying home from school. The FFCRA provides both sick leave and family when an employee is unable to work “due to a need to care for his or her son or daughter whose school, place of care, or child…

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EEOC Issues More Q&As about COVID-19 and Discrimination Laws

Earlier in September, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (better known to lazy people as the “EEOC”) issued new Q&As to supplement the Q&As it has been issuing from time to time since March. As for some takeaways from the new Q&As, employers: (1) May administer tests for the presence of the COVID-19 virus (but not antibody tests!) to employees when evaluating their initial or continued presence in the workplace. (2) May ask ALL employees physically entering the workplace if…

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