HR In Aggregate: State and Local Level Updates 8.17.2021

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  • HR In Aggregate: State and Local Level Updates 8.17.2021

Connecticut Mandates Vaccination for Employees and Individuals Providing Direct Access Services to Patients or Residents of Long-term Care Facilities

On August 6, 2021, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 13B mandating vaccination of all employees working at long-term care (LTC) facilities throughout Connecticut. The order also covers all contracted service providers and volunteers that have direct physical access to patients or residents. The order is effective immediately and remains in effect through September 30, 2021 unless earlier modified or terminated. Learn More

Puerto Rico Government Issues New Vaccination Requirements for Additional Business Sectors

Given the recent increase in COVID-19 positivity rates in Puerto Rico, on Thursday, August 5, 2021, Governor Pedro Pierluisi issued Executive Order No. 2020-062, adopting new vaccination measures for different sectors. This new executive order will take effect on August 16, 2021, and will continue until the Emergency Declaration for COVID-19 has ended. Learn More

Florida Ban on Requiring Vaccine Passports Banned (For Now)

Florida employers can require employees to obtain COVID-19 vaccinations, submit records of such vaccination, and implement other safety measures for their workplaces notwithstanding national publicity suggesting that recent Florida rules, orders, and laws prohibit or discourage these public health measures. As the pandemic worsens it is important for employers to understand both the specific terms and the limits of Florida’s enactments. Learn More

The District of Columbia Mandates Vaccines for D.C. Employees, Interns, Contractors, and Grantees

On August 10, 2021, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2021-099 requiring all D.C. employees and interns to certify that they have been vaccinated by September 19, 2021. The Order further mandates that all D.C. contractors and grantees ensure that their “employees, agents, and subcontractors” are vaccinated. Learn More

Texas: Mask On, Mask Off, Mask On…

In an apparent rebuttal to Governor Abbott’s July 29, 2021, Executive Order (GA-38) prohibiting mask mandates, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued his own Order on August 11, 2021 requiring all public schools, child care centers, commercial entities that provide goods or services directly to consumers and Dallas County buildings to require masks regardless of vaccination status. Learn More

Illinois Makes Discrimination and Immigration Practices Based on Work Authorization Status a Civil Rights Violation

Illinois House Bill 0121 adds a provision to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) making it a civil rights violation to discriminate against employees and job applicants based on their “work authorization status.” Learn More

Oregon Reinstates Mask Mandate

Effective August 13, Oregon Governor Kate Brown implemented a statewide mask mandate for all children and adults ages 5 and older in all indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. Learn More

Mandatory Employee Vaccines – Coming to A State Near You?

While available vaccines have proven highly effective in controlling COVID-19 and its variants to date, the virus continues to spread — particularly among unvaccinated populations. In the face of flagging interest, officials across the U.S. have tried different approaches to increase vaccination rates. For example, officials launched incentive programs, stressed personal responsibility, deployed mobile vaccination units, and coordinated with corporate and community partners to encourage and effectuate vaccine uptake.

But having exhausted these avenues, and with the rise of more contagious COVID-19 variants, some officials are going a step further. In recent weeks, several states and municipalities have announced that, in essence, they are requiring certain categories of workers to be vaccinated. Generally, under these types of mandates, workers who decline vaccination must comply with measures that do not apply to their vaccinated counterparts, such as weekly COVID-19 testing and/or mask wearing. Depending on the jurisdiction and the sector involved, however, unvaccinated workers might not have such alternatives. Learn More

Mandatory Vaccines or Mandatory Testing? A “Soft Approach”

In its recently amended Technical Assistance Guidance (What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made clear that an employer may require COVID-19 vaccines for employees and exclude those with COVID-19, or symptoms associated with COVID-19, from the workplace, because their presence would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Many employers may want to avoid drawing a red line between vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees by adopting a “soft” approach—requiring that employees either provide proof of vaccination or periodic proof of a negative COVID test, instead of imposing mandatory vaccines. Learn More

California and Washington Issue Vaccine Mandates — Frontrunners in What Appears to Be a Growing Trend

On July 26, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that his state will require all state employees and healthcare workers to provide proof of vaccination or be subject to regular COVID-19 testing. On August 5, 2021, the California Department of Public Health issued a public health order implementing the governor’s prior proclamation as it relates to healthcare workers in the state. This first-in-the-nation set of orders has since been followed by several state and local health officials, including Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who on August 9, 2021 announced his state’s mandate (Proclamation 21-14), which looks similar to California’s. Unlike California, however, Washington will not permit regular testing in lieu of vaccination; covered workers who cannot prove they are fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, will be subject to non-disciplinary dismissal. Learn More



Lisa Smith, SPHR, SHRM – SCP

Certified EEO Investigator (EEOC)

Lead Support and Content Chief – HelpDeskforHR.com

“You cannot be audit-proof, but you can Be Audit-Secure.”

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