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COVID-19 Reopening Safety Plans and Updating Employee Policies

August 19, 2020

The COVID-19 global pandemic has created additional health and safety considerations for employers, who as it is, already have a general duty to provide a safe working environment.

As businesses and employers prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of their employees and workers, their families, and the wider community, through updating and maintaining their required written Reopening Safety Plans, they are also focusing on disseminating written COVID-19-related workplace policies.

COVID-19 Considerations for the Workplace

Employers should implement new workplace policies such as:

  • Employee Temperature Checks and Health Screening Questionnaires
  • Employee Face Coverings
  • Social Distancing
  • COVID-19-Related Paid Leave
  • Emergency Family and Medical Leave

Employers should also consider updating existing policies, such as the following, in response to challenges they and their employees face due to COVID-19:

  • Disability Accommodations
  • Pregnancy Accommodations
  • Teleworking
  • Timekeeping
  • Office Visitors
  • Employee Travel
  • Vacation, Sick and Personal Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Policies Related to Reporting Workplace Concerns

As employers see a rise in workplace complaints, both formal and informal, regarding workplace safety concerns, employers need also to address any current policies that may unreasonably prevent workers from expressing their criticisms.

While a company has a right to protect its reputation, company policies may go too far when prohibiting workers from criticizing the company to each other, potentially triggering claims stemming from alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

Moving Forward

While certain changes in COVID-19-related policies may only be temporary, others will be a part of our new normal. At this point, knowing which are here to stay is still unclear. Therefore, employers are advised to update and implement any policies that may be affected.

We are available to assist employers in assessing and expanding policies related to the ever-changing workplace terrain and developing legal requirements due to COVID-19. We are also able to assist in establishing a compliant a Re-Opening Safety Plan in accordance with New York State’s reopening requirements.

Attorney Advertising. The information contained in this Legal Alert provides a general summary of the topics covered and is not intended to be and should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should consult with your legal counsel for advice and before making legal, business or other decisions.

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Drogin, Laurent S. Partner and Chair of Labor and Employment Practice and Co-Chair of Restrictive Covenant Practice Partner and Chair of Labor and Employment Practice and Co-Chair of Restrictive Covenant Practice 212.216.8016 VCard
Feder, Hagit Senior Compliance Administrator, CFE Senior Compliance Administrator, CFE 212.216.1109 VCard
Hershberg, Jonathan S. Counsel Counsel 212.216.8009 VCard
Kleinmann, David N. Partner and Co-Chair of Restrictive Covenant Practice Partner and Co-Chair of Restrictive Covenant Practice 212.216.1115 VCard
Schoenstein, Richard C. Partner and Co-Chair of Securities and Financial Services Litigation Group Partner and Co-Chair of Securities and Financial Services Litigation Group 212.216.1120 VCard
Schuchert, Wolf Paralegal Paralegal 212.216.1183 VCard
Steer, Richard L. Partner and Chair of Employment Practices Liability Insurance Practice Partner and Chair of Employment Practices Liability Insurance Practice 212.216.8070 VCard
Toevs Carolan, Tara Partner Partner 212.216.8007 VCard

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