Kathleen J. Jennings

thank you for social distancing, sign

Although the OSHA ETS is Dead, OSHA Can Still Cite Employers for COVID Related Hazards

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the final nail in the coffin of the OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Specifically, the DOL announced that it will withdraw the COVID ETS, effective January 26, 2022. This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court stayed enforcement of the OSHA ETS on January 13, 2022, which guaranteed the ETS’ demise. Rest In Peace, ETS.

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Vaccine Clinic parking

Can An Employer Ask for Proof of COVID Vaccination?

Today, the CDC issued new guidance regarding persons who have been fully vaccinated aganst COVID-19. Now, fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. [People are considered to be fully vaccinated approximately two weeks after receiving the second of a 2 shot series (Pfizer or Moderna), or two weeks after receiving the one J&J shot.]

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Can An Employer Fire an Employee Because of Noisy Kids in the Background of Work Teleconference Calls? It Depends.

Can An Employer Fire an Employee Because of Noisy Kids in the Background of Work Teleconference Calls? It Depends.

A friend sent me an article about a woman who claimed that she was terminated from her job because her kids were heard in the background of her teleconference calls when she was working from home due to the pandemic.  She has retained a lawyer and is suing her employer, claiming gender discrimination, retaliation, gender harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful termination (this happened in California).  

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indoors, office

Can An Employer Fire Employees Who Refuse To Come Back to the Office?

As COVID restrictions ease, many employers are deciding whether to require employees who have been working remotely to come back to the office. So can an employer fire employees who refuse to come back to the office? Yes–with some important exceptions.

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Can An Employer Terminate An Employee Who Refuses to Wear a Mask at Work?

Can An Employer Terminate An Employee Who Refuses to Wear a Mask at Work?

As several states see dramatic increases in the number of people who test positive for COVID-19, employers must be very proactive in taking steps to protect workers and customers from the spread of the virus.  According to OSHA, employers should assess worker exposure to hazards and risks and implement infection prevention measures to reasonably address them consistent with OSHA Standards. Such measures could include promoting frequent and thorough handwashing or sanitizing with at least 60% alcohol hand sanitizer; encouraging workers to stay at home if sick; encouraging the use of cloth face coverings; and training them on proper respiratory etiquette, social distancing, and other steps they can take to protect themselves. Employers should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, sink handles, workstations, restroom stalls) at least daily, or as much as possible. 

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female with bandages where she got shots

Can You Require Your Employees to Be Vaccinated for COVID-19?

As we hopefully get closer to a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, employers may be wondering whether they can require employees to be vaccinated. The answer is Yes, with some important exceptions. An employer that implements a rule that requires employees to be vaccinated must build in exemptions for religion and disability.

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The Coronavirus is definitely the most important issue of the day, and so we are devoting the entire newsletter to this subject.  Our firm has issued three Alerts during the week of March 16, 2020 on the above subjects, and this newsletter is intended to consolidate these various Alerts, as well as bring more recent information on the issues as of press time, March 26, 2020. 

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red chair on green grass, outdoors

Dealing with An Employee’s Request for Leave As A Reasonable Accommodation

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. What sets it apart from other anti-discrimination statutes is the requirement that an employer provides reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer. [Title VII does require some reasonable accommodations for persons with closely held religious beliefs, but the standard is slightly different.]

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candles burning on a rack indoors in the dark

Dealing With Religious Objections to a COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

In our discussions of rules mandating COVID-19 vaccines, we’ve mentioned the two possible exemptions to a vaccine requirement: disability and religion. Let’s break down the religious exemption.

Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a covered employer is required to “reasonably accommodate” an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs or practices, unless such an accommodation would create an “undue hardship” for its business.

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voting stickers scattered on the table

Do I Need To Give My Employees Time Off to Vote?

Election Day is one week away, so it is a good time for employers to review the laws governing voting leave in the states where they do business. Chances are that you may be required to give employees some time off to vote.

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guys outside working on something

Does Your Company Need to Comply with Vaccine and Safety Protocols Applicable to Federal Contractors?

On September 9, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, which directs executive departments and agencies, including independent establishments subject to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, 40 U.S.C. § 102(4)(A), to ensure that covered contracts and contract-like instruments include a clause that the contractor and any subcontractors (at any tier) shall incorporate into lower-tier subcontracts. This clause shall specify that the contractor or subcontractor shall, for the duration of the contract, comply with all guidelines for contractor or subcontractor workplace locations published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.

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student with a pile of books on the table

DOL Issues New Guidance: No FFCRA Paid Leave If School Is Open But Parent Chooses Remote Learning

Yesterday, the Department of Labor issued some new guidance on the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). The new guidance addresses the availability of paid leave to parents who are choosing to let their children go to school remotely.

By way of background, the FFCRA requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

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safety clips hanging on a rack indoors

E1: OSHA Inspections

In the inaugural episode of the Cover Your Assets Podcast, attorney Kathleen Jennings discusses safety in the workplace and how to handle Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections in a professional manner.

Podcast Disclaimer: The information provided in this podcast is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this podcast or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Kathleen J. Jennings. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual hosts and guests.

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open reel machine during High End Munich 2018

E10: Recorded in the Workplace

Host Thom Jennings and resident expert and attorney Kathleen Jennings discuss when and why employees will record conversations in the workplace. Thom shares a story about when he used a recorded conversation to win an unemployment case, and Kathleen discusses the time when she handled a case involving erotic baked goods.

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two women interviewing indoors by window

E11: Legal and Illegal Interview Questions

Host Thom Jennings and resident expert Kathleen Jennings welcome their first guest, Thom Jennings Jr. from Selective Staffing solutions. The group discusses job interview best practices, and offer advice on how to avoid a potential legal problem during the interview process.

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Coffee, notebooks and pen

E12: Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

In this episode. host Thom Jennings and attorney Kathleen Jennings discuss mental health issues in the workplace and when the ADA and FMLA pertain to each situation. Thom shares another story from his colorful employment history, and the co-hosts also agree that the podcast has become the premier podcast dealing with labor and employment law.

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group of people meeting in an office indoors

E13: Employees Most Likely to Litigate

In this spirited episode, host Thom Jennings and his sister, resident expert Kathleen Jennings, discuss a document written by Attorney Martin Steckel about the employee that is most likely to sue their employer.

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woman typing on a laptop on a table next to a cup of coffee indoors

E14: 1099 Contractors

In this episode of the premier labor and employment law podcast, host Thom Jennings and his sister, Attorney Kathleen Jennings< discuss employee misclassification and the potential legal ramifications.

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outdoors wall, with white cameras mounted

E15: Monitoring Employees Technology

In this episode host Thom Jennings and resident expert Kathleen Jennings, discuss employer monitoring of employee communication and employee use of computers for nefarious purposes. In some states, employers are required to notify employees what is being monitored.

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Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine

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