COVID-19 vaccinations have taken center stage as employees return to the office in an unsettling environment. Employers are grappling with the issue of mandated vaccination and how far they need to go to protect employees.

In this podcast, Colin L. Barnacle outlines the pandemic’s impact on labor and employment law, especially employers’ obligations, exemptions, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) positions and the applicability of certain statutes.

One thing is clear, he says: “The ever-changing landscape makes it particularly hard for employers to understand what they need to do.”

Colin notes that many employers have turned to incentives, such as extra pay or time off, to encourage employees to get vaccinated.

The way he sees it, “It’s not a legal question. It’s something for human resources supervisors and managers to think about. Why not provide an incentive even when you don’t have to?”

It’s a great opportunity to enhance your standing as an employer, Colin says. The payoffs are many – from improved morale and retention to heightened recruiting prospects, he adds. It makes the situation “an easier pill to swallow.”

Colin also supports employers adopting COVID-19 policies, especially if they take into account any federal guidance that has been put forth. Policies help clarify expectations for employers and employees and create a more efficient and well-run organization, he says.

The bottom line when weighing the pandemic’s impact on the workplace, Colin notes, is that there are “all sorts of nooks and crannies of how this is going to be put in place.”

Listen to the full interview with Colin Barnacle about how COVID-19 is affecting the practice of labor and employment law.

About Colin Barnacle:

Colin Barnacle is a partner in Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP’s Denver office who focuses his practice on labor and employment as well as litigation. His labor and employment practice focuses on compliance counseling, corporate governance counseling and investigations, noncompete and trade secret enforcement, wage and hour class and collective actions, and employment litigation. His commercial litigation practice has spanned state and federal courts and arbitrations involving a wide array of areas, ranging from complex commercial disputes, construction litigation and dispute resolution, and intellectual property.


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