While the world weathers and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, other dangerous new diseases with the potential to become pandemics are on the rise. Therefore, now more than ever, your company must take actions to put itself in the best possible legal position to respond to a pandemic, including providing a safe and secure workplace and protecting its business operations and assets.
With more than 45 years of experience in employment and health law, Epstein Becker Green is exceptionally well positioned to assist employers with pandemic preparedness for their workforce and business. That’s why, during the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic and multinational employers across industries have been turning to Epstein Becker Green to help them navigate the challenges posed by unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances. Our attorneys have been at the forefront of providing thought leadership and practical and legal guidance in real time during a rapidly changing environment.
We can help your company develop and implement a comprehensive pandemic preparedness plan that not only effectively responds to current events but also anticipates future emergencies.
Our comprehensive pandemic preparedness services include, among other things:
- Creating a pandemic policy and business continuity plan that best ensures protection of your employees’ health and welfare, and the least disruption of business operations, including, but not limited to, communication policies, quarantine procedures, cleaning and sanitizing measures, travel policies, telecommuting policies and flexible work arrangements, sick leave and paid time off policies, and ensuring adequate insurance coverage, including review of “force majeure” and related clauses
- Counseling on existing workplace laws implicated in a pandemic or other health crisis response plan, including:
- the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- the Americans with Disabilities Act
- the Fair Labor Standards Act (and state/local wage and hour laws)
- the Family and Medical Leave Act (and state/local paid sick time laws)
- the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
- the National Labor Relations Act
- the Occupational Safety and Health Act
- the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act (and state “mini-WARN” Acts)
- Advising on the interpretation of, and compliance with, federal, state, and local government responses to a pandemic—from guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other federal agencies to the enactment of pandemic-related laws (including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), rules, regulations, and orders
- Counseling on collective bargaining agreement provisions relating to leaves of absence, accommodation for disabilities or medical conditions, furloughs, force majeure, and closure of facilities or departments
- Reviewing contracts that could be impacted by a pandemic (e.g., employment contracts, vendor contracts, etc.), and updating employee handbooks to ensure compliance with changing laws
- Advising on best practices for protecting your business from cybersecurity and phishing attacks during a pandemic
- Creating “return to work” plans to specify necessary steps to phase employees back onto the company’s physical premises after shelter-in-place orders are lifted