Nathaniel M. Glasser, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was cited in HR Dive, in “Another Tough Flu Season Could Cost Businesses $17B,” by Lisa Burden.

Following is an excerpt:

The 2017-18 flu season featured high levels of outpatient clinic and ER visits and was the first flu season to be classified as having “high severity” across all age groups, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This season, as of the end of December 2018, flu-like illness is at 4.1%, up from the national baseline of 2.2%. Last year’s numbers reached 7.7% — near-pandemic levels …

Workplaces are ripe for the spread of contagious diseases like the flu, especially with the long-term trend of open floor plans in the workspace, shared devices and workers who fear negative repercussions if they miss work, research has shown. It doesn’t help that employees choose to come to work even when they’re sick; 40% of respondents to an October 2018 Walgreens survey admitted coming to work with the flu. …

Employers can encourage employees and their families to get vaccinated each year and can offer vaccinations at work. But mandatory vaccinations for workers can be risky for most employers. Nathaniel Glasser, an attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., previously told HR Divethat if employers start requiring vaccinations, they have to be prepared to address requests for accommodations from employees and that there have been a number of enforcement actions by both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice in the last few years along those lines.

Related reading:

HR Dive, “3 Tips for Getting a Workforce Through Flu Season,” by Jennifer Carsen.

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