Volume 21 | April 2022
HR & the Law in the News
This Month's Stories: Updates on COVID Corner, OSHA, EEOC, & DOL
Plus Upcoming Events!
Realistic 3D Illustration of COVID-19 Vaccine. Corona Virus SARS CoV 2_ 2019 nCoV virus destruction.  A vaccin against coronavirus disease 2019. Breakthrough in the Creating of a COVID-19 Vaccine.
COVID Corner #1: Religious Objections to Injections

On March 1st, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated Guidance with six (6) related questions and answers related to, "Vaccinations – Title VII Religious Objections to COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements."

While the information is not new, it does provide some good reminders for any employer whose employee requests a reasonable accommodation, such as being excused from a vaccination requirement, because of the employee’s sincerely held religious belief.
sick and ill jack russell dog resting having a siesta upside down on his bed with his teddy bear tired and sleepy
COVID Corner #2: Caregiver Responsibilities Discrimination

Two weeks after #1 above, the EEOC issued new guidance related to caregiver responsibilities discrimination. The EEOC first issued guidance on this type of discrimination back in 2007.

So why issue updated guidance now? “During the pandemic, employees who are caregivers have adjusted to quarantine requirements or abrupt closures or schedule changes at schools, care facilities, childcare centers or businesses…As the pandemic evolves, and the country moves to a new normal, we cannot assume caregiving obligations have ended.”

DISCLAIMER: Do not be misled by the picture above. The guidance does NOT include any reference to caring for one's pet.
OSHA Update #1: Travel Time and Recordable Injuries
An employee is traveling to work or a client site and is injured in an accident. When is that an OSHA-recordable injury? Answer: it depends! OSHA has address various travel scenarios including when an employee is called back to work, travels to multiple worksites, and travels out of town.
Desperate businessman working in the office late at night and overloaded with work_ his desktop is covered with paperwork  business management and deadlines concept
OSHA Update #2: Proposed Changes to Recordkeeping Rule
On March 1st, you may have read FiveL’s annual reminder to post your OSHA 300-A summary. In the interim, on March 30th, OSHA published a Notice of Public Rulemaking (NPRM) inviting comments about some proposed changes. 

While most of the proposals would add to covered employers' reporting obligations, the Notice may raise questions about what happens to the data once employers submit it to OSHA.
U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Workplace Retaliation Guidance
illustration of retaliation paper message on white background
On March 10th, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published an 18-page Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) entitled, "Protecting Workers from Retaliation."

I believe it is no accident that the DOL referred to workers rather than employees in this FAB. In 2008, the DOL noted on its website, "The Department's Wage and Hour Division will continue to enforce the FLSA and MSPA without regard to whether an employee is documented or undocumented." (emphasis added)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken the same position, "Federal agencies responsible for enforcing workers' rights seek to protect all workers from exploitation and violations, regardless of immigration status." (emphasis added again)

Want more information? Check out the April 27th webcast, listed below.
U.S. EEOC Publishes its 2021 Charge Stats

White House & Other Federal Agencies Advance LGBTQI+ Protections
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently published the charge statistics for its fiscal year 2021. For the 12th year in a row, retaliation was the #1 basis of all charges filed.  

Shortly thereafter, on national “Transgender Day of Visibility," the EEOC announced it, “will promote greater equity and inclusion for members of the LGBTQI+ community...”

That announcement ran concurrently with the White House’s Fact Sheet covering multi-agency coordination of efforts to enhance opportunities, rights, and protections for LGBTQI+ individuals. 

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This publication does not constitute the rendering of legal advice. You should consult your company's legal counsel for guidance on any matter. 
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