This week’s post was co-authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz.

More than one year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing face masks and social distancing continue to be the “new normal.” Manufacturers, while familiar with health and safety protocols related to their operations, have had to navigate a new set of protocols aimed at maintaining a safe workplace during the global pandemic. Widespread vaccine distribution has been underway for several months and it has prompted public health authorities and governments to begin relaxing mandates and rules related to workplace safety. Many employers, including manufacturers, are now facing the challenge of maintaining a safe workplace for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, in light of these changes.
Continue Reading Masks, Safety Measures & Manufacturers

Below is an excerpt of an article co-authored with Emily A. Zaklukiewicz, a member of Robinson+Cole’s Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group, that was published in ISHN on May 6, 2021.

Drug testing in the workplace, especially in the manufacturing industry, has become a common part of pre-employment screening and health/safety measures in

This week’s article was co-authored with Alisha N. Sullivan and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz who are members of Robinson+Cole’s Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Groups.

Although millions of people in the United States have been vaccinated since COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in December 2020, a large percentage of the population still remains unvaccinated. Many lawmakers and companies are brainstorming ways to remove barriers to individuals obtaining the vaccine, especially frontline workers who remain at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection. One such barrier is the time away from work that may be required to obtain the vaccination and the risk that the time will be unpaid. Many employers, including manufacturers, are questioning whether they must, or should, provide employees with paid time off for time spent related to obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine.
Continue Reading Are Employers Required to Pay For Employee Time Spent Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine?

Below in an excerpt from an article authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyers Natale V. DiNatale and Kayla N. West that was published in Industry Week on March 5, 2021.

Within hours of his inauguration, President Biden fired the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) general counsel, Peter Robb, whose term was set to

This week’s post was co-authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz.

Over the past year, employees have faced a number of challenges in light of the current pandemic, both personal and professional. Employees who are engaged in “frontline” work have been particularly impacted including those working in manufacturing facilities that have not closed and have been operating consistently over the last year. Many companies are recognizing the signs of exhaustion, burn-out and stress in their workforces and are actively searching for ways to engage, and re-engage, their frontline workers.


Continue Reading Incentivizing and Engaging “Frontline” Workers

While the presidential election may be in the past, conversations on political and social issues are not. As the new Presidential Administration takes the helm, the pandemic continues, and significant political division persists, conversations on political and social issues are commonplace in many workplaces across the country. Manufacturers are still grappling with the issue of whether and to what extent they can restrict employee speech and expression in the  workplace. Can employees discuss political or social issues at work?  What happens if it causes tension and distraction at work?  Does it matter if it occurs on working time?
Continue Reading Free Speech and Expression in the 2021 Workplace

This week, we continue our 2021 outlook series with a focus on labor and employment. With the new Presidential administration this year, we anticipate a number of changes in labor and employment laws on the federal level. The following are a few of the issues that may impact manufacturers in 2021.

Federal Government Involvement in

I am pleased to join as one of the regular contributors to the Manufacturing Law Blog. I am a labor and employment lawyer and I will be providing insights from that vantage point, which Matt Miklave has so ably contributed over the past several years. Matt is retiring from Robinson+Cole and we wish him well as he opens his own firm.

After months of countless updates on the status of the COVID-19 vaccine weaving its way through the regulatory approval process, the vaccine has arrived! Now many employers are grappling with a key question – what type of vaccination program can employers implement?

According to guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on December 16, 2020, employers may implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine program for vaccines that have been authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As part of that program, employers may inquire as to whether an employee has been vaccinated and request proof of vaccination. That being said, according to the guidance, employers should review requests for reasonable accommodation from employees seeking an exemption from vaccination based on a disability or a religious reason. In reviewing such requests, employers would then determine if an unvaccinated employee would pose a “direct threat” to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace that cannot be reduced to an acceptable level by conducting a case-by-case analysis and taking an approach that is meant to limit potential risks.
Continue Reading To Require or Encourage COVID-19 Vaccine. . . That is the Question

Regular readers of this blog know that I have been cautioning manufacturers about what I expect will become a significant “snap back” in federal workplace regulations because of Joe Biden’s election as president.  It may be time to consider the changes which may lay ahead.

During his first term, President Biden will be able to