Utah News & Analysis

  • COVID-19 vaccine mandates for Denver employees, contractors

    Federal, state, and local governments are now taking a stronger approach by requiring certain employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination or otherwise regularly test negative for the virus. This article discusses the current status of vaccine mandates and recommendations for contractors working for and with the city and county of Denver.

  • GINA offers no toehold for employees hoping to avoid COVID-19 shots, testing

    Employees are trying to find creative ways to avoid COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, for example, by alleging their privacy rights are being violated under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Read on to learn why that approach doesn't work.

  • Employers gird for sweeping new COVID-19 rules on vaccines, testing

    By mandating vaccinations for many employees, President Joe' Biden's six-pronged COVID-19 action plan will have a significant effect on employers across the country. Many key details (including what exemptions may apply to the vaccine mandates) remain unknown until additional federal guidance is provided.

  • 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.

  • Workplace harassment? But they don't work for us!

    Most employers are equipped to respond to employee allegations of harassment by coworkers or managers. There are added levels of difficulty, however, when they complain about harassment by a customer, contractor, or other visitor to the business. A federal court of appeals recently ruled a Harrah's Casino employee can go to trial on her claims that (1) she was sexually harassed by a customer and (2) the employer didn't take sufficient steps to address her concerns.

  • With OSHA enforcement heating up, taking breaks now even better idea

    On September 1, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a memorandum (https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2021-09-01) establishing a new enforcement initiative to prevent and protect employees from heat-related severe illnesses and deaths while working in hazardous hot indoor or outdoor environments.

  • U.S. firm's health insurance surcharge for unvaccinated draws interest in Canada, too

    Employers have been trying to encourage employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Some paid bonuses. Others provided gift cards. What happens when rewards aren't enough? A U.S. employer recently announced a different approach: All unvaccinated employees enrolled in the company's healthcare plan will have to pay a $200 monthly surcharge starting on November 1, 2021. In support for the surcharge, the employer noted all of its employees who were hospitalized with the virus weren't fully vaccinated. Their average hospital stay costs the company $50,000 per person.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Requiring doctors note for employee absences

    Q An employee has missed work several times to attend doctor's appointments and has discussed certain health issues. At what point can we require a doctor's note to continue to work?