NYSDOL Issues FAQs Regarding Recreational Marijuana

October 18, 2021

By Hannah K. Redmond

Earlier this month, the New York Department of Labor (DOL) published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana and its impact on the workplace.

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalized the recreational use of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21 in New York, was passed in March 2021. The MRTA amended Labor Law § 201-d, to specify that the recreational use or consumption of marijuana outside of work hours and off an employer’s premises, constitutes lawful recreational activity. Thus, subject to limited exceptions, most employees cannot be disciplined or discriminated against for using and/or consuming recreational marijuana. For more information on Labor Law § 201-d and the recognized exceptions, see our prior blog post, which is available here

Read More >> NYSDOL Issues FAQs Regarding Recreational Marijuana

Religious Exemptions May be Considered for Now – Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction on State Healthcare Vaccine Mandate

October 13, 2021

By Adam P. Mastroleo and Dustin Dorsino

On Tuesday, Oct. 12, Judge David N. Hurd of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York granted a preliminary injunction barring the Department of Health (DOH) from enforcing a recent COVID-19 vaccination mandate to the extent it eliminated healthcare workers’ ability to seek a religious exemption.

Read More >> Religious Exemptions May be Considered for Now – Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction on State Healthcare Vaccine Mandate

New Guidance on the Impact of HIPAA on COVID-19 in the Workplace

October 12, 2021

By Theresa E. Rusnak

On Sept. 30, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services published guidance, “HIPAA, COVID-19 Vaccination, and the Workplace,” (the Guidance) that details the ways in which the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) intersects with workplace and other third-party inquiries regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Read More >> New Guidance on the Impact of HIPAA on COVID-19 in the Workplace

Task Force Issues Federal Contractor COVID-19 Safety Protocol Guidance

October 5, 2021

By Stephanie H. Fedorka

On Sept. 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force published guidance related to President Biden’s Executive Order 14042 “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.” 

Executive Order 14042 (the Order) generally requires federal agencies and executive departments to ensure that covered contracts and contract-like instruments include a clause that requires covered contractors (and subcontractors) to comply with COVID-19 safety protocol guidance published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, including as it may be updated in the future. 

Read More >> Task Force Issues Federal Contractor COVID-19 Safety Protocol Guidance

Federal Court Issues TRO Enjoining Omission of a Religious Exemption from the Emergency Public Health Vaccination Regulations

September 14, 2021

By Peter A. Jones

The federal District Court for the Northern District of New York issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Sept. 14, 2021, enjoining New York State officials from enforcing emergency regulations imposing a vaccination mandate for certain healthcare workers to the extent that the regulations do not allow for a religious exemption to the mandate. The TRO is available here. As reported here previously, the emergency regulations, which were issued on August 26 by the Public Health and Health Planning Council under the New York State Public Health Law, apply to hospitals, nursing home and home health agencies, among other entities. The emergency regulations were notable for not including provisions for a religious exemption or any test out provisions. The court’s TRO places the lack of a religious exemption provision on hold, pending the outcome of the proceeding.

Read More >> Federal Court Issues TRO Enjoining Omission of a Religious Exemption from the Emergency Public Health Vaccination Regulations

Employers Activate Your HERO Act Plans! NY Commissioner of Health Issues NY HERO Act Designation for COVID-19

September 7, 2021

By Stephanie H. Fedorka

On Sept. 6, 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul directed the NYS Commissioner of Health to designate COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health. The designation is official and available on the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) website.

Read More >> Employers Activate Your HERO Act Plans! NY Commissioner of Health Issues NY HERO Act Designation for COVID-19

Mandatory Vaccination for Health Care Workers 

August 27, 2021

By Travis R. Talerico

Effective Aug. 26, 2021, New York State now requires all employers of health care workers working within the state to ensure that their personnel have received a full COVID-19 vaccination. The definition of “personnel” contained in the new regulation is expansive, including employees, students, volunteers and any other affiliates of the organization who “engage in such activities such that if they were infected with COVID-19, they could potentially expose other covered personnel, patients or residents to the disease.” 

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