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Return to the Workplace Employment Policies: Masking, Distancing, and Vaccine Requirements

EEOC and OSHA Guidance, State and Local Regulations

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will focus on the employment issues related to the current reopening of the economy, the increased transmission of the COVID-19 virus via the Delta variant, and return to workplace policies. The panelist will address the legal issues of implementing a vaccine requirement, employee communication strategy, and return to work plan. The webinar will guide counsel on compliance with existing employment restrictions in conjunction with the series of measures created by federal and local officials to address the current pandemic to tailor a specific plan for reopening.


As COVID-19 infections spike from the Delta variant, anxiety rises for employers and employees alike. Employers are facing challenges in returning employees to the workplace and maintaining a safe environment. With reports of the federal and several state governments requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing as a condition of employment, many employers are rethinking both return-to-work plans and vaccine policies.

Due to current rates of infection, employers may want to revisit their COVID-19 response plans. They may wish to consider such plans with reference to new CDC guidance and recent federal and state government responses to the new variants. Companies should strategize the specifics of returning employees to the workplace, requiring vaccinations, obtaining proof of vaccination status, implementing safety protocols consistent with the CDC, OSHA, or state/local health department guidelines, and evaluating industry-specific standards.

Employment counsel should work with clients to review state or local authority on vaccine mandates, masking, and other safety protocols and evaluate the risks specific to the workplace. Counsel and management should consider changes to company benefits, the impact on employee morale, health, and safety, and revising communication plans to exceed legal requirements.

Listen as Taylor E. White, Shareholder at Winstead, addresses these evolving issues and provides practical advice on strategically handling a business reopening while mitigating risks for future employment claims.



  1. Office reopening
    1. Vaccine policies
    2. Social distancing
    3. Office setup
    4. Provision of PPE
  2. Employee health and wellness
    1. Medical checks and quarantine
    2. Childcare concerns
    3. Positive COVID-19 and new shelter-in-place restrictions
  3. Employer policies
    1. OSHA compliance
    2. EEOC compliance
    3. FLSA issues
    4. Performance expectations
    5. ADA accommodations


The panelist will review these and other issues:

  • What should an employer remember when contemplating a vaccine mandate for return to work practices?
  • What should an employer remember when preparing a COVID-19 safety protocol for in-person work?
  • What can an employer do with an employee uncomfortable or incapable of returning to a reopened business?
  • How can employers meet OSHA and EEOC requirements?
  • How best can employers communicate with employees during this crisis?


White, Taylor
Taylor E. White


Mr. White regularly advises employers on requirements and best practices regarding discrimination, harassment, and...  |  Read More

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