Employers should be gearing up for a possible outbreak of coronavirus in their geographic areas. This includes establishing certain safety precautions as well as issuing a policy concerning certain protocols to be followed in the workplace. The policy should include:
notification concerning how the virus is transmitted;
the incubation period of the virus;
whether the Company will provide any protective clothing;
for companies in certain industries, the guidelines OSHA has issued; and
steps the Company wants employees to follow including hand washing, working from home, providing a doctor’s note before returning to work, etc.
Policies need to be in conformity with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and state disability laws such as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) concerning inquiring about employee’s health and the need to provide any reasonable accommodations. Leaves of absence also may be necessary and must comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) for employers with at least fifty (50) employees and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (“NJFLA”) for employers with at least thirty (30) employees. Employers should also review the EEOC’s guideline entitled “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act.” We are here (or working remotely) should you need further guidance.