As the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States decreases, several state and local jurisdictions, including Washington, D.C., Maryland and Montgomery County, have lifted their mask mandates. However, employers are still permitted to require face coverings in the workplace. In addition, employers should be aware that the Centers for Disease Control and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) continue to recommend face coverings for unvaccinated individuals. It is still unclear whether OSHA’s general duty clause, which requires employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment free from recognized hazards, includes face coverings in the workplace. Thus, unless every employee is fully vaccinated, there is a potential that ending masking requirements without implementing other safety precautions could run the risk of violating the OSHA general duty clause.
In most states, employers can still implement reasonable policies for masking and vaccination as long as they accommodate individuals with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs. Please contact your Shulman Rogers Employment lawyer if you want to talk through these issues!
The contents of this Alert are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact the Shulman Rogers attorney with whom you regularly work or a member of the Shulman Rogers Employment and Labor Law Group.
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