It’s that time of year when many folks look forward to seeing family members near and far. In the context of the pandemic, however, the CDC and many state and local officials are recommending that folks avoid travel and gatherings with those outside of the immediate household.  Given the workplace impact of employees’ holiday travel – with possible infections, exposures, and quarantines – employers are wondering whether they can prohibit employees from traveling during the holidays. And the answer, of course: It’s complicated.

Continue Reading It’s The Holiday Season – Can Employers Restrict Personal Travel?

In this new pandemic world, employers are grappling with many questions. One of them is when can they require employees to provide the results from any COVID-19 tests that they have taken, in the context of granting leave and returning to work.

Continue Reading When Can Employers Require Employees to Provide COVID-19 Test Results?

As offices and other workplaces reopen, employers are struggling with the issue of masks and face coverings in the workplace. There has been much confusion about whether and when cloth face coverings are required, and what are an employer’s obligations with regard to their use.

Continue Reading Masks/Face Coverings in the Workplace Uncovered! What Can Employers Require?

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a great deal of discussion – and confusion – about the use of masks and face coverings and respirators. Are they personal protective equipment (PPE)? Who should use them? Who must use them? Should employers provide them? Must employers provide them? Which one should employers provide? Should employers provide training on their use? Must employers providing training? And on and on…

Continue Reading OSHA Speaks: Face Coverings, Masks and Respirators – Oh My!

As the United States still struggles with testing capacity for active COVID-19 infections, employers are increasingly asking “may we require our employees be tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies?” This is particularly true following the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position that employers were permitted to test for the presence of active COVID-19 infection, set forth in its What You Should Know About COVID-19 resource (Q&A 6).

Continue Reading COVID-19 Antibody Testing:  Useful Screening Tool or Impermissible Medical Examination?

In the COVID-19 recession, many employers made reductions in force en masse, thus avoiding selection decisions that might be challenged as discriminatory.  If the same employers recall or rehire employees en masse, they will continue to avoid such decisions.  But what if the employer’s need to recall or rehire is partial or gradual, such that some employees are brought back before others?  Such choices can give rise discrimination claims.  To protect itself, an employer will need to apply and document a non-discriminatory method of choosing among employees.

Continue Reading Selecting Employees for Recall or Rehire

As businesses slowly begin to reopen, workers are being recalled to the workplace. Some of them are expressing reluctance to return due to increased health risks from COVID-19 based on underlying medical conditions or age. Others are struggling with child care issues as schools remain closed for the remainder of the academic year and summer care programs are canceled. Some employers have asked what are their obligations to such workers under the law? Can they terminate them, or do they have to accommodate them?

Continue Reading Recalled Workers Don’t Want to Return Because of Health Risks or Child Care – Now What?

By now we probably all have seen the YouTube Video of poor Danny, who finished his Zoom video meeting with his colleagues and forgot to end the call as he walked away from the screen, his colorful boxer short underwear in plain sight (along with his backscratching stretch to loosen his muscles).  Or the son of the late Steve Reeve of Superman fame (Will), a reporter who was spied at the end of a news piece he broadcasted from home without any suit pants! Ah, Danny and Will! But, other things are happening while employees work from home that raise concerns.  For example, the employee who during a conference call is slurring his speech as if intoxicated.

Continue Reading DWZ – Drinking While Zooming (And Other Telework Dilemmas)

The Centers for Disease Control recently updated its guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting, including those that apply to employers.  These guidelines address proper disinfectant techniques and solutions, and specifically advise how to clean soft surfaces (i.e., carpeted floors, rugs, and drapes), electronics, and laundry.  The CDC’s guidelines also address the appropriate steps to take if an individual in your building or facility tests positive for COVID-19.
Continue Reading Updated Workplace Cleaning Guidelines from the CDC and a New OSHA Poster!