Biden signs #MeToo arbitration bill, Philly drops masks, and EEOC updates its COVID-19 guidance


What a Friday trifecta! The only thing better that could come in threes would be a gallon of Neapolitan ice cream — with chocolate instead of strawberry and vanilla.

Beards up! Masks down.

Speaking of threes, the Philadelphia 76ers have been flashing championship form since the arrival of James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets. Harden’s passing arsenal, eagerness to draw fouls from opposing teams, and ability to nail those step-back three-pointers have led to three 76ers wins in “The Beard’s” first three games with the team.

The 76ers take on the Cavs tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Fans can mask up if they want. But, as of March 2, 2022, Philadelphia has given the all-clear and dropped its mask mandate when indoors. Businesses and other institutions are allowed to be stricter than the City’s COVID Response Levels, so some companies may require proof of vaccination or that everyone wears a mask.

No more forced arbitration of sexual assault and harassment claims.

Yesterday, President Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 into law. You can read President Biden’s remarks here. The law allows victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment to litigate their claims in court even if they signed an arbitration agreement. However, any pending arbitrations will remain there. Plus, your arbitration agreements will still work for other types of employment claims, including claims of sex discrimination that don’t involve unwanted sexual advances, physical contact, comments, or quid pro quo claims. But you should revise them to remove references to sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

EEOC adds new guidance on religious objections to COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

For those of you still mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in your workplace, check out this new technical assistance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on religious objections to COVID-19 vaccine requirements, which the agency added on Tuesday.

Among other things, you’ll find tips on whether to accept an employee’s assertion of a religious objection to a COVID-19 vaccination at face value. (Generally, yes). Whether an employer may ask for additional information. (Judiciously). When an accommodation creates undue hardship. (Think: workplace safety and efficiency). Whether employers can grant some but not all accommodation requests. (Yes). Which accommodation to choose if there is more than one available. (Not the one that reduces pay or benefits). When employers can reconsider accommodations. (When circumstances change.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy a triple scoop of chocola– err, Neapolitan.

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