There are many reasons why companies need to be vigilant about their efforts to maintain a safe work environment during the pandemic. This includes both a desire to keep all employees and their families safe and the concern that a failure to do so could result in litigation and worker’s compensation claims brought by employees who are exposed to Covid-19 and become sick.
We are in between several major holidays and everyone is weary of the limitations resulting from Covid-19. Just when we should “up our game” and embrace restrictions, however, most of us want to get back to “normal” and enjoy Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. But we cannot; if anything, more vigilance is required. Many of us know people who have experienced the virus or are suffering from Covid-19 symptoms, or even worse have lost friends and loved ones. Let us all minimize risks. It appears vaccines are just around the corner, so let’s stay strong through this final phase of sheltering!
Where employees are required to work at the company’s workplace, they appear to be getting exposed to Covid-19 with increased frequency. The risk of exposure is also profound for those who are remote and not working at the company’s usual workplace. In the event you have not recently shared the company’s Covid-19 guidelines, or have relaxed them over the preceding months, we strongly recommend that you use this opportunity to consider implementation of the following critical, common-sense guidelines and provide reminders to your employees.
- Even if you want to come to the workplace – avoid that temptation except when absolutely necessary and do so in a manner consistent with the county’s health directives. Interaction with co-workers, intended or accidental, can create unnecessary risk. The worst-case scenario: an outbreak could occur and result in the mandatory shuttering of the workplace.
- Self-testing is now available in some Northern California counties, and door-to-door testing is being rolled out in some hard-hit communities. Take advantage of these opportunities where they exist.
- If you have been exposed to Covid-19 you must get tested and quarantine yourself regardless of whether you have suffered symptoms. This would include potential exposure from travel. Quarantine restrictions vary and are the subject of local or state governmental rules; however, most health professionals recommend at least ten days. Follow the requirements of your county.
Avoid doing anything that could make an employee fear a reprisal if they report an exposure or a positive Covid-19 diagnosis. Do your best to be flexible to the needs of your employees. This includes employee obligations to manage childcare, schooling, and care for other family members. We recommend that you revisit your company’s Covid-19 work policies and procedures and adjust where necessary.
As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues always said, “let’s stay careful out there.” Be well and enjoy your holiday season everyone. Contact us if you have any employment related questions or concerns.
This blog is written as of December 17, 2020. Recommendations and legal requirements are changing rapidly, so please continue to review our legal updates or review postings on relevant government websites.
All blogs on this site are for educational purposes only, do not constitute legal advice or opinion, and should not be applied to your situation, or any specific situation, without consultation with counsel. Strategy Law, LLP does not provide any legal advice concerning any matter discussed in a blog except upon formal engagement including, without limitation, execution of Strategy Law, LLP’s formal legal services agreement, and with respect to specific factual situations. No blog constitutes a guaranty, warranty, or prediction regarding the result of any legal matter discussed in the blog or any representation.