At ESG we are monitoring the current health, safety, and business concerns associated with COVID-19 (also referred to as “Corona Virus”).
These concerns are valid and far reaching; they have both personal and business implications for our customers, their families, clients, and our internal team.
A few key take ways from the reading we have done / guidance they have given are as follows:
- Employers should create a contingency plan for the continuation of business operations in the event infection impacts the area where the company operates or its employees or requires office and facility closures.
- Follow public health guidance and advise employees to do so. Make that guidance readily available to employees by posting it and sharing it with those who request it.
- Advise managers to report any suspected illness to human resources but to refrain from making any inquiries of the employee regarding the illness. Ask managers to report any illness to human resources that is communicated to the manager by other employees in the department, but to refrain from having any discussion about it with the reporting employee. Further, managers should exhibit calmness and foster an environment that does not permit singling out any individual employee who seems ill.
- Encourage employees to report immediately to human resources any concerns that their colleagues may be infected with the Coronavirus. Remind them that it is easy to confuse Coronavirus symptoms with those of the common cold or the flu, and ask them to reserve their comments for human resources and refrain from accusing employees or reporting to work ill or complaining about them to their peers.
- Devise a plan for reallocating work to those employees able to report to work whether that be in the office or working remotely.
- Identify gaps in service if the business must rely on remote work and formulate solutions to address those gaps.
- Ban non-essential work trips to areas where the infection has spread.
- Enlist the IT department’s assistance in offering employees’ online opportunities to meet with clients in lieu of business travel.
- Require employees who have recently returned from an infected area to advise human resources of that travel.
- The EEOC permits employers to require employees showing symptoms to stay home in the event a pandemic is declared by the CDC or WHO and offers employers other guidance on balancing the need to protect other employees against the requirements of the ADA here.
- Refrain from spraying aerosols that might induce coughing and further spreading of germs.
- Identify which medical facilities in employer’s area are best for risk assessment and treatment.
- Consider offering additional paid leave in the event of hardship to those employees who are nonexempt and out of paid leave who have provided evidence of being infected with the Coronavirus.
These recommendations are provided for informational purposes only.