Tennessee News & Analysis

  • Answers to 13 common questions about new federal vaccine, testing mandates

    When President Joe Biden recently announced a six-pronged strategy to contain COVID-19's spread, one of the most notable measures was a vaccination and/or weekly testing mandate affecting employers and employees nationwide. We still don't know many details, but here are answers to some of the most common questions we've received since the mandates were announced.

  • 5 ramifications from Biden's new vaccine, testing rules

    On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden unveiled a COVID-19 action plan requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to either mandate the coronavirus vaccine or confirm negative test results for unvaccinated employees on a weekly basis. The announcement has sweeping implications for employers trying to fend off fatigue from the pandemic while maintaining a safe working environment for employees and customers.

  • OSHA updates COVID-19 workplace safety guidance

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently updated its guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace because of the high incidence of the delta variant infections occurring throughout the country. The agency's updated guidance is advisory in nature and informational in content and is "intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm." OSHA's updated guidance is primarily aimed at non-healthcare employees, whose workplaces are subject to its mandatory COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard. The updated guidance also incorporates additional safety measures for higher risk workplaces.

  • Staffing up during the pandemic: a few tips

    Many employers were optimistic earlier in the year when the COVID-19 vaccination program ramped up in a big way and case counts seemed to be on the decline. Restrictions were eased, and light seemed to appear at the end of the tunnel.

  • Some ideas for performance evaluations as the pandemic continues

    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt many facets of employment, including how managers and employees communicate about performance. Like last year, employers are struggling to decide how to assess employee performance when so much of the workforce is nowhere near back to normal. The "annual review" process was under attack in many circles before the pandemic struck, but its shortcomings are now even more evident. What should employers do? Here are a few ideas.

  • If you ask about COVID vaccine status when hiring, dont violate ADA

    Q In interviews with prospective employees, can we ask about their COVID-19 vaccination status?

  • Some jobs types may need drug screening more than others, and thats OK

    Q Can we mandate a drug screening upon hire for some job types and not others?

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Survey highlights employer worries about exodus of talent. A survey from outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. shows 68% of companies are worried about an exodus of workers. Why? The researchers say 75% of companies reported workers wanting more flexibility and 59% cited worker burnout. Women are pushing back more than any other group, according to Challengers report. Over 81% of companies reported facing pushback to the return to the office, primarily coming from mothers and women. The survey reported 29% of employers cited childcare as an issue fueling workers desire to leave their jobs. Another 9% cited mental health concerns. Survey participants also were asked if they were offering new incentives to keep talent. Sixty-three percent said they were. Incentives offered include flexible work hours, remote work options, hybrid work arrangements, higher pay, and cash bonuses.

  • Federal Watch

    NLRB General Counsel announces priorities. Jennifer A. Abruzzo, General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in August announced her offices priorities, including an examination of cases and subject matter areas in which, in the last several years, the Board overruled precedent. In the Mandatory Submissions to Advice Memorandum, Abruzzo listed 11 NLRB case areas that she identifies as doctrinal shifts away from previous Board precedent. Those cases involve employer handbook rules, confidentiality provisions in separation agreements, defining the scope of protected concerted activity, union access, and jurisdiction over religious institutions. Other subject areas she would like to examine include cases involving Weingarten rights, employee status, mutual aid or protection, and employer duty to recognize and bargain.

  • As delta variant surges, things to consider before implementing vaccine mandate

    As the delta variant spreads and positive COVID-19 cases continue to pop up, employers are questioning their policies yet again. Understandably, many of you are concerned about keeping workers safe and maintaining production levels, which likely took a hit in 2020. The question naturally rises: Can private employers require employees to get the shots? The answer: likely yes, but with some caveats and additional considerations.