Employment Law Updates

Yesterday, March 21, 2022, the Safety & Health Codes Board of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) voted to revoke the Standard for Covid-19 prevention that has been regulating Virginia workplaces. The revocation is effective March 23, 2022. In place of the Standard, DOLI issued a new draft Guidance that reflects the current state of Covid infections. The draft Guidance can be found at DOLI-Guidance-for-Employers-to-Mitigate-the-Risk-of-COVID-19-to-Workers-03.01.2022_FINAL.pdf (virginia.gov), and will be submitted for a 30-day notice and comment period before it becomes final.

The Guidance encourages employers to take actions to mitigate Covid transmission and impact, such as the following:

  • Encourage but not mandate vaccination of employees;
  • Facilitate employees getting vaccinated and boosted;
  • Encourage workers with Covid symptoms to stay home from work and be tested;
  • Require all workers infected with Covid to stay home;
  • Provide workers with face coverings or masks as appropriate;
  • Encourage good sanitary habits;
  • Educate workers on the employer’s Covid policies and procedures;
  • Use appropriate ventilation in workplaces;
  • Record and report Covid infections and deaths as required by VOSH regulations;
  • Follow other applicable mandatory VOSH standards.

The Guidance also says that the state and DOLI “support and respect the rights of individuals to choose whether to wear masks or not wear masks in non-federally mandated environments, unless required by law or as medially appropriate in cases of acute illness or in certain healthcare environments.” The Guidance adds that “people should not be fired or terminated for not wearing a mask, except as noted above, or unless required by federal law.”

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

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