On August 11, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance relaxing its Covid-19 recommendations. The CDC’s new guidance contains many changes, including the relaxation of its guidance on quarantine and testing. For example, the CDC now recommends that those exposed to Covid-19 wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5, rather than quarantining after exposure. The CDC also no longer recommends the screening testing of asymptomatic people without known exposures in most community settings.
Employers should review their current Covid-19 policies to ensure they are consistent with the CDC’s recommendations. Employers desiring to take or maintain a conservative approach to employee protection should make sure that their policies are compliant with the appropriate regulating agencies’ rules and guidance, such as guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
OSHA, not the CDC, is responsible for the regulation of workplaces, but OSHA has yet to issue any updated guidance based on the current Covid-19 landscape. In the past, OSHA’s Covid-19 guidance has leaned on CDC recommendations, so employers should expect any new guidance to be similar to the new CDC guidance. In the meantime, employers can meet their OSHA obligation to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards by following the recommendations of the CDC with respect to employee protection from Covid-19.
The EEOC most recently updated its Covid-19 guidance on July 12, 2022. Under the EEOC guidance, employers must assess the current Covid-19 circumstances in their area, as well as their individual workplace circumstances, to justify any screening testing as job-related and consistent with business necessity.
If you have questions regarding the changing landscape of Covid-19 and corresponding guidance and regulations for employers, the employment attorneys at Martin Pringle are ready to help.