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We do not need to tell employers about the lurking spread of the coronavirus. News reports have provided ample input into its spread and the international concerns it has generated.
First, the Centers for Disease Control and the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations have issued guidance. The links to the CDC and OSHA advisories can be found here and here.
Here is what the CDC indicates employers need to do:
- Do not make determinations of risk based upon race or country of origin.
- Maintain the confidentiality of employees confirmed to be infected.
- Send employees home who appear to be symptomatic.
- Have symptomatic employees work at home.
- Remind employees of sick time availability, requirements and limitations, including those that allow time off to care for others.
- Stay in touch with temporary placement agencies
- Require employees with symptoms to provide a physician certification of their ability to return to work.
- Provide respiratory guidance and hygiene materials and receptacles
- Ensure your workplace is clean.
- Provide notices about travel limitations.
- Adopt an outbreak plan.
- Prepare for employee absences.
- Confer with local authorities.
- Anticipate rumors and misinformation.
- Coordinate with counsel and HR.
Of course, employers are encouraged to confer with counsel when considering the steps outlined above.
NOTE: Because of the ever-changing COVID-19 legal environment, employers should consult with counsel for the latest developments and updated guidance on these topics.
Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center often for up-to-date information to help you stay informed of the legal issues related to COVID-19.