New York City Lifts COVID Vaccine Mandate for Private Employers
Workspan Daily
September 23, 2022

In what NBC News described as “another sign of the city’s gradual return to pre-pandemic norms,” New York City will lift its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private-sector employers, effective Nov. 1 of this year.  

The city began requiring almost all private businesses to ban unvaccinated employees from the workplace in December 2021, just as the Omicron wave began claiming hundreds of lives in the city. It remains the largest place in the U.S. to have made vaccines mandatory as a workplace safety measure, according to NBC News.  

Eliminating the mandate “puts the choice in the hands of New York business,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams at a news conference where he announced the lifting of the vaccine requirement, in addition to receiving his own updated COVID booster shot.  

For now, proof of vaccination will still be required for municipal workers in New York City, including police officers, firefighters and teachers, according to Adams.  

Florida Appeals Ruling on Workplace Training Component of ‘Stop WOKE Act’  

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are appealing a federal judge’s ruling that blocked part of a new state law that placed restrictions on how race-related issues can be addressed in workplace training — a law DeSantis has dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act.”  

Lawyers for DeSantis and Moody filed a notice that “is a first step in asking the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to take up the issue,” according to the Miami Herald 

In August, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued a preliminary injunction, agreeing with three businesses and a consultant that the workplace-training restrictions violate the First Amendment. The notice of appeal did not detail arguments that the state will make at the appeals court. In addition to DeSantis and Moody, defendants in the case included members of the Florida Commission on Human Relations.  

The law (HB 7), which DeSantis signed April 22, spurred debates before passing during this year’s legislative session. The employment-related part of the law lists eight race-related concepts and says that a required training program or other activity that “espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such individual [an employee] to believe any of the following concepts constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin.” 

As an example of the concepts, the law targets compelling employees to believe that an “individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the individual played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.” 

Survey: More Companies Plan to Disclose Pay Information 

According to a recent survey, the number of North American organizations that disclose pay rate and range to prospective employees is expected to tick upward, even in locations where employers are not required to divulge such information.  

In a Willis Towers Watson (WTW) poll of 388 organizations, 17% of respondents are already disclosing pay range information in locations across the United States where state or local laws don’t oblige them to do so. In addition, 62% of organizations said they are planning to or are considering disclosing pay rate information in the future, even where there are not local mandates.  

This includes information such as hiring range and full salary range, with 58% of employers planning to do the former and 48% intending to do the latter. The survey also found that 71% of companies are planning to use a consistent approach to determine which pay rate and range information will be disclosed across all jobs. More than half (57%) are applying a geographic pay policy to determine the pay rates or ranges, and they will differ based on the location of the job.  

“We expect the recent wave of pay transparency legislation to continue,” said Mariann Madden, WTW North America fair pay co-lead. “Regulatory requirements are only one factor in the expected increase in disclosures and communication about pay. Job seekers and current employees want to know and understand that they are treated fairly and are provided with equal opportunities to thrive and grow within the organization.” 

National Safety Council Releases Workplace Violence Prevention Guidance 

The National Safety Council (NSC) has released a report and playbook designed to “equip organizations with the information and solutions they need to more effectively mitigate and address workplace violence,” according to an NSC statement 

Released through the organization’s Work to Zero initiative, the report calls for more legislative action to address the issue of workplace violence on a national level, and examines steps that employers can take to reduce the risk of workplace violence, such as: 

  • Designating a workplace violence prevention task force. In addition to bringing a multi-disciplinary understanding of risk assessment, this group is likely to have an existing rapport with employees, making them ideally equipped to perform trainings on sensitive safety topics, according to the NSC.
  • Conducting regular table-top exercises or simulations to engage key stakeholders, identify gaps in existing prevention plans and clarify worker responsibilities in emergency situations. 
  • Utilizing technology to prevent workplace hazards. The report outlines the benefits and applications of 10 key technologies, such as digital floorplan mapping, virtual reality training and weapon detection systems.
  • Fostering a workplace culture in which psychological safety is prioritized, and where all workers feel empowered to voice concerns and initiate broader safety conversations.  

Editor’s Note: Additional Content 

For more information and resources related to this article, see the pages below, which offer quick access to all WorldatWork content on these topics: 

Employee Compensation  

Employee Experience  

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging  

Well-Being 

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