June 10, 2021

Labor and Employment Newsletter

4 min


Chronic Considerations: Employment Implications of Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana use is legal in seventeen states and the District of Columbia, and an additional nineteen states allow its use for medical reasons. In the last six months, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia have passed legislation allowing the recreational use of marijuana. Ten years ago, marijuana was not legal in any state. The brisk pace of marijuana legalization at the state level raises significant questions about the enforcement of workplace drug policies, especially where those policies are required by federal law. At the federal level, marijuana is still illegal, is still covered by the Drug-Free Workplace Act, and is still prohibited under Department of Transportation testing requirements. In this rapidly evolving landscape, employers face complex issues when dealing with drug-free workplace and testing policies. Click below to read the key issues employers are advised to consider.

Education Roundup – CDC Says Fully Vaccinated Higher Education Institutions Can Return to Normal

On June 4, 2021, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance (Guidance) for institutions of higher education (IHEs). As IHEs await the return of students come fall 2021, the CDC released this guidance with the goal of increasing vaccine uptake. The Guidance provides insights into how institutions can adapt to the variation in vaccination status among its population and offers more general ways schools can prevent the spread of COVID-19 among their population. Click below for some of the highlights.

Education Roundup – Back to School: Considerations for Creating a Safe and Healthy Working and Learning Environment for the 2021-2022 School Year

As the academic year begins to wind down, independent schools are looking toward the fall and beginning to plan for the 2021-2022 school year. As they did last year, they are paying particular attention to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols that will be in place. Independent schools are looking at a different landscape this year than they were in 2020 – with the availability of the vaccine, certain federal, state, and local health and safety guidelines are being lifted or otherwise modified. Schools would be wise to consider the following as they develop their plans for the fall.

Upcoming Event

The Pros and Cons of Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace: Practical Considerations for Employers

June 15, 2021 | Webinar

As we previously wrote here, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has approved mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies in the workplace, subject to a few limited exceptions. But does this mean a mandatory vaccination policy is right for your organization? During this webinar, Jennifer Prozinski, Nick Reiter, and Janice Gregerson will examine the advantages and disadvantages of mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace and other common questions for reopening work sites.

Attorney Spotlight

Why are you passionate about this practice?

Ickowitz ChanaChana Ickowitz: There is very rarely a boring day in the life of a Labor and Employment attorney. I do primarily advice and counseling work. I love this area of the law because it is ever changing, it requires coming up with creative and practical solutions, and at its core it involves navigating human relationships. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the dynamic nature of employment law, as clients sought advice amid constantly evolving rules and guidelines surrounding remote work, supplemental paid sick leave, layoffs, PPE, mandatory vaccination, and more.

My favorite part of my practice is getting to work closely with great clients to tackle tough issues collaboratively. My overall goal is to provide clients with tools and tactics to maintain a happy workforce and prevent litigation.

About the Labor and Employment Group

The bicoastal, 40-person Labor and Employment team at Venable provides guidance and support across the full spectrum of workplace dynamics – helping employers control costs, avoid disputes, and defend themselves when litigation arises. As co-editors of this newsletter, Michael Volpe and Doreen Martin invite you to share the content with your colleagues and reach out with any questions.