What Employers Should Know About Coronavirus and the Workplace

What Employers Should Know About Coronavirus and the Workplace

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, employers are facing questions about employees and how to avoid the virus spreading in their workplace, while also meeting business needs.  Developments and modifications in state and federal protocols are changing rapidly.  Employers are encountering a number of novel employee-related legal issues.  This alert gives an overview of practical steps for how to handle the issues that most frequently arise.  We are closely monitoring changes to federal and state law and will address any new obligations on employers in a subsequent alert. 

Key Takeaways

  • Employers must provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees.  During this crisis, employers may order employees to leave work if they become ill with symptoms of coronavirus, ask employees if they are experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms, and alert those employees who have been in direct contact with infected employees of their possible exposure to coronavirus.
  • Employers must be cognizant of local, state and federal wage and hour laws and their applicability to employees working remotely or who cannot come to work.
  • Employers should be aware of their obligations under federal, state and local laws both to employees who are ill and to those taking care of sick family members, including obligations related to paid time off.
  • Employers should be mindful that infected employees may be covered under state and federal disability laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, and what that implies.
  • Employers should monitor and adhere to guidance from federal, state and local government and health authorities, to which we have provided links below.

Read the complete client alert.

Kasowitz Benson Torres’ Employment Practices and Litigation Group has been named 2019 Litigation Department of the Year for Labor and Employment by The New York Law Journal.  They have extensive experience and familiarity with workplace policies and how to manage emerging workplace issues like the coronavirus.  If you would like to discuss these issues, please contact Mark W. Lerner (212-506-1728) or Jessica T. Rosenberg (212-506-1789).