Employment Law Updates

The Safety and Health Codes Board of the Virginia Department of Labor convened on February 16, 2022 to discuss whether there is a continued need for the “Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus that Causes Covid-19”. By a 7-3 vote, the Board voted to withdraw the standard, following the recommendation of the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Administration that a “grave danger” to workers no longer exists and the standard is no longer legally justified. There will be a 30-day comment period before a final vote will be held on the future of the standard. We will keep you updated regarding developments with Virginia’s Permanent Standard.

John Falcone and Luke Malloy handle employment law matters at PLDR Law. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.

PLDR Law John Falcone 1  Luke Malloy square

The Safety and Health Codes Board of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry will convene on February 16, 2022 at 10:00 am to discuss whether there is a continued need for the “Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus that Causes Covid-19”. The board will consider recent federal action regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Emergency Temporary Standard. There will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the board’s decision. The meeting will be held physically and virtually, instructions for accessing the meeting can be found here: https://townhall.virginia.gov/l/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=34796. We will update you on this issue as more information becomes available.

John Falcone and Luke Malloy handle employment law matters at PLDR Law. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.

PLDR Law John Falcone 1  Luke Malloy square

The Employee Benefits Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Labor, on February 4 issued new guidance about the requirement for health plans to cover the cost of certain COVID test kits. The requirement is part of the Affordable Care Act as supplemented by federal COVID-related laws.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today withdrew its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that would have required large businesses (100 or more employees) to ensure employees are vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. In its notice of withdrawal, OSHA recognized the Supreme Court’s January 13 decision which halted the ETS while lower courts consider the merits of the case. OSHA stated that “After evaluating the Court’s decision,” it is withdrawing the ETS “as an enforceable emergency temporary standard,” and its action is effective immediately. The agency’s notice added, however, that it considers the ETS to have served as a proposed rule, and it will move forward with its proposal to make the temporary directive a permanent standard.

On Friday, January 21, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking implementation of the federal employee vaccine mandate contained in an Executive Order. The decision can be found at gov.uscourts.txsd.1855108.36.0.pdf (courtlistener.com). This injunction applies only to federal employees. A federal judge in Georgia had previously issued a nationwide injunction preventing the separate Executive Order mandating federal contractor employee vaccinations from going into effect. The latter injunction is on appeal, and this new injunction will almost certainly be appealed as well. Both cases likely will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. For now, those Executive Orders are not in effect.

The U.S. Supreme Court today blocked Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) emergency temporary standard requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to ensure workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or wear masks and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The Court, however, allowed the federal government through CMS to require COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers. The court noted in the second case that "health care workers around the country are ordinarily required to be vaccinated for diseases."

U.S. Supreme Court

On January 7, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments concerning the OSHA rule that required employers with at least 100 employees to ensure workers are either vaccinated or tested weekly and wear masks, and also the separate CMS mandate that applies to certain health care workers. The 6th Circuit had lifted a stay imposed by another court concerning the OSHA rule, allowing the rule to remain in effect. The justices of the Supreme Court appeared skeptical of the OSHA mandate, but appeared more receptive to allowing the health care mandate to survive. We are expecting a ruling in the near future.

A federal appeals court had issued an injunction staying the OSHA rule that required employers with at least 100 employees to ensure workers are either vaccinated or tested weekly and wear masks. Because there were numerous lawsuits challenging the rule pending in the federal circuit courts around the country, the cases were consolidated into the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Late on Friday night, the 6th Circuit lifted the stay, allowing the rule to remain in effect. The Court’s decision can be found at 21a0287p-06.pdf (uscourts.gov).

A federal judge in Georgia yesterday (December 7) issued a nationwide injunction preventing the Executive Order mandating federal contractor employee vaccinations from going into effect. Courts had previously enjoined the separate OSHA rule that applies to employers with at least 100 employees. Yesterday’s injunction has nationwide effect because one of the parties to the lawsuit was a nationwide contractor trade association. That injunction will certainly be appealed, so this is not the last word on the subject. The case likely will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. For now, the rule is not in effect. Stay tuned for further developments.

John Falcone and Luke Malloy handle employment law matters at PLDR Law. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.

PLDR Law John Falcone 1  Luke Malloy square

On April 27, 2021, the President issued an Executive Order which increases the minimum wage for most federal contractors. Beginning January 30, 2022, that minimum wage must be at least $15.00 per hour and will be adjusted annually thereafter. The new wage will apply to federal contracts entered into or renewed on or after January 30, 2022. The Department of Labor issued its final Rule on November 24 with regulations to implement the Order. The Rule is found at Federal Register :: Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors. It applies primarily to service contracts, and does not apply to grants.

There have been recent developments in the three areas of the federal vaccine mandates.

(1) The executive order mandating vaccines for all federal employees and contractors

Updated guidance for federal contractors issued by the Department of Labor on November 10 clarified that covered contractor employees must be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022. The guidance can be found at guidance.

Office Hours

Mon - Fri 8:30 am - 5 pm
Sat Closed
Sun Closed

Contact Us

925 Main St., Suite 300 
Lynchburg, VA 24504 

434-846-2768
434-847-0141
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
pldr law firm facebook icon