reopening the workplace

Texas is now open for business–100% and without masks. On March 10, 2021, Executive Order GA-34 went into effect, lifting the COVID-19 mask mandate in Texas and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100%. Except for indoor arenas and K-12 schools, Mississippi has followed suit. Other states have also recently eased mask mandates, increased occupancy limits on restaurants and bars, and rolled back restrictions on stadiums and theaters, while warnings from US infectious-disease experts abound.

It may be tempting for businesses to fully open as COVID-19 restrictions–some of which will soon see their one year anniversary–are pulled back. What should employers keep top-of-mind if the COVID-19 health and safety restrictions in their state or locality are loosened or rescinded?


Continue Reading Masks Up or Down: What Employers Should Consider as States Roll Back COVID-19 Restrictions

On December 16, 2020, the EEOC posted a new section on vaccinations in its COVID-19-related technical assistance Q&As, only five days after the FDA granted its first Emergency Use Authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine. Section K of the EEOC’s COVID-19 Q&As (“Vaccinations”) updates and expands the EEOC’s publication “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” providing information to employers and employees regarding the impact legal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) may have on whether and how COVID-19 vaccines can be utilized in the workplace.

The Q&As are linked here, and copied below for ease of reference.

K. Vaccinations

The availability of COVID-19 vaccinations may raise questions about the applicablilty of various equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws, including the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, GINA, and Title VII, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (see Section J, EEO rights relating to pregnancy).  The EEO laws do not interfere with or prevent employers from following CDC or other federal, state, and local public health authorities’ guidelines and suggestions.

1.1  ADA and Vaccinations

K.1. For any COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine to an employee by an employer (or by a third party with whom the employer contracts to administer a vaccine) a “medical examination” for purposes of the ADA? (12/16/20)

No.  The vaccination itself is not a medical examination.  As the Commission explained in guidance on disability-related inquiries and medical examinations, a medical examination is “a procedure or test usually given by a health care professional or in a medical setting that seeks information about an individual’s physical or mental impairments or health.”  Examples include “vision tests; blood, urine, and breath analyses; blood pressure screening and cholesterol testing; and diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays, CAT scans, and MRIs.”  If a vaccine is administered to an employee by an employer for protection against contracting COVID-19, the employer is not seeking information about an individual’s impairments or current health status and, therefore, it is not a medical examination.

Although the administration of a vaccination is not a medical examination, pre-screening vaccination questions may implicate the ADA’s provision on disability-related inquiries, which are inquiries likely to elicit information about a disability.  If the employer administers the vaccine, it must show that such pre-screening questions it asks employees are “job-related and consistent with business necessity.”  See Question K.2.


Continue Reading EEOC Issues Much-Anticipated Q&A Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccinations

Special thanks to guest contributor, Kim Sartin.

In this podcast, we take an updated look at the reopening landscape. As many businesses have since initiated phased reopenings, additional challenges have arisen for employers, who are navigating changing laws, potential litigation and realigning business needs, all in a wildly unpredictable environment. Additionally, as remote operations

With special thanks to Amy Greer and Jennifer Klass for contributing to this post.

COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic in the US on March 13, 2020. Yet, even now, as we are over six months in to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in the US, employers still continue to face challenges when navigating the sometimes daily changes in health and safety orders, updates from federal agencies, court decisions, and the proliferation of lawsuits. One of the key decision points for many employers is when to reopen, what should drive that decision, the legal risk of “getting it wrong” and how to mitigate that risk. Unlike retailers and restaurants, companies in the financial industry have largely avoided shutting down operations. However, that does not mean they have fully reopened. Where does the financial industry stand in its reopening? What should financial services companies be concerned about in terms of COVID-19 related guidance and recommendations, legal claims by employees, and how can companies mitigate these claims? What are specific COVID-19 related compliance issues unique to investment advisors and broker-dealers? We share our insights below.


Continue Reading For Financial Industry Employers During the Pandemic, “Risk” Takes on a Different Meaning

We recently published an update to our 50-state Shelter-In-Place / Reopening Tracker.

Baker McKenzie has a team in place that has been advising clients real-time on these most critical issues since the first orders were enacted. We are pleased to provide this Tracker, which identifies the relevant state-wide shelter-in-place orders and their related expiration dates,

We recently published an update to our 50-state Shelter-In-Place / Reopening Tracker.

Baker McKenzie has a team in place that has been advising clients real-time on these most critical issues since the first orders were enacted. We are pleased to provide this Tracker, which identifies the relevant state-wide shelter-in-place orders and their related expiration dates,

We recently published an update to our 50-state Shelter-In-Place / Reopening Tracker.

Baker McKenzie has a team in place that has been advising clients real-time on these most critical issues since the first orders were enacted. We are pleased to provide this Tracker, which identifies the relevant state-wide shelter-in-place orders and their related expiration dates,

We recently published an update to our 50-state Shelter-In-Place / Reopening Tracker.

Baker McKenzie has a team in place that has been advising clients real-time on these most critical issues since the first orders were enacted. We are pleased to provide this Tracker, which identifies the relevant state-wide shelter-in-place orders and their related expiration dates,

We recently published an update to our 50-state Shelter-In-Place / Reopening Tracker.

Baker McKenzie has a team in place that has been advising clients real-time on these most critical issues since the first orders were enacted. We are pleased to provide this Tracker, which identifies the relevant state-wide shelter-in-place orders and their related expiration dates,

We recently published an update to our 50-state Shelter-In-Place / Reopening Tracker.
Please see HERE. This is updated weekly.

For your convenience, here is a summary of the major updates from around the country:

    • Starting with this week’s update, the Tracker now includes links to the applicable quarantine requirements or recommendations for incoming travelers