Akin Gump Article on Employer COVID-19 Policies Published in Employee Benefit Plan Review

Employee Benefit Plan Review has published the article “EEOC Publishes Updated Guidance on Employer COVID-19 Policies, written by Akin Gump labor and employment partners Rich Rabin, Lauren Leyden and Esther Lander, senior counsel Anastasia Marie Kerdock, counsel Rachel Klausner and associate Grace Margaret O'Donnell. The article, adapted from an Akin Gump client alert, discusses the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) recent guidance regarding COVID-19 policies in the workplace.

Among the topics discussed, the authors cover the following:

  • Employee vaccine requirements – “A business likely can institute a mandatory vaccination policy for employees entering the office, subject to its obligations under applicable antidiscrimination laws, such as the ADA, Title VII, and state and local analogs.”
  • “Best practices” for vaccine policies – “Companies also should […] ensure that managers and supervisors are sufficiently trained regarding the company’s policies to recognize an implicit request for a reasonable accommodation when they hear one.”
  • Multijurisdictional mandates’ impact on employer vaccine policies – “The federal, state, and local legal issues surrounding employer COVID-19 policies remain nuanced and multifaceted; businesses should obtain legal counsel in designing and implementing their policies.”

The authors conclude to emphasize that employers should remain flexible with their policies, given the “highly dynamic nature of the coronavirus – including changing societal infection rates, rising population vaccination rates, the potential emergence of new strains of the virus, the issuance of new CDC or other health guidance, the potential passage of new legislation, etc. – and be prepared to adjust their approach based on relevant developments.”