Return to Work after Covid Legal Issues

Most likely. During the COVID-19 pandemic, employers will likely be allowed to require employees interacting with customers or other employees to wear masks to prevent the spread of the disease. The ADA likely does not require employers to make exceptions to an appropriate mask policy necessary to protect the health and safety of their employees. D.3. In a workplace where all employees must telework during this period, should an employer defer discussion of a request for unnecessary accommodation by an employee with a disability until the employee returns to work when the mandatory telework ends? (4/9/20) Undue hardship considerations may also differ in assessing a request for accommodation in the case of telework and not in the case of work in the workplace. Reasonable accommodations that are practicable and do not amount to undue hardship in the workplace could be accommodated if circumstances such as where they are needed and why telework is considered. For example, the fact that the telework period may be temporary or unknown may make certain arrangements impractical or unduly difficult. There may also be restrictions on the normal availability of items or on an employer`s ability to conduct a required assessment. The flexibility of employers and employees is important in determining whether some adjustment is possible in the circumstances.

Temporary restructuring of minor duties, temporary transfer to another position, or modification of work schedules or shift assignments may also allow a person with a disability to safely perform the essential duties of the job while reducing exposure to others in the workplace or while travelling. Workplaces have the right to set their own work policies, which may include when and where people work. As long as employers follow the safety policies and rules established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workers do not have much legal clout to defend themselves. In accordance with federal, state, and local policies and the repeal of stay-in-place stay/shelter orders, tens of millions of Americans are returning to their usual place of work (either after being unemployed for a period of time or after working from home). As part of this process, leaders must implement practical workplace policies and procedures that balance the needs of the business with the health and safety of their employees. Below are some possible considerations that employers should discuss with legal counsel: In addition to labour law, the booming labour market also gives workers more power. As employers struggle to hire and retain talent, employees could seize the opportunity to influence office policy. As Fisk put it, there is „nothing better than a labour shortage” to give workers a boost. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers can currently ask questions about their symptoms to employees who regularly or occasionally work on-site and feel sick or call for questions about their symptoms as part of workplace COVID-19 testing.

Labor laws, while different from state to state, often give employers the most power when it comes to enforcing their own workplace policies. While it may not be in an employer`s best interest to fire the 50% of employees who don`t follow the return-to-office protocol, the company has the legal right to do so. Companies should carefully create safety and health plans, as well as an employee return to work plan, to ensure they avoid liability and penalties under applicable federal, state, and executive orders. While some states, such as Georgia, issue orders to protect companies from liability if they act in accordance with executive orders, such language in executive orders almost certainly does not create immunity from federal and state labor laws. Most importantly, it does not extinguish a commitment to the safety of your employees, nor any liability for non-compliance, including workers` compensation disputes.