As daunting as the current business situation is, as a CEO, you may be facing HR and organizational issues that you have never had to think about. Today, we are addressing a sampling of legal issues to strengthen your response to the new working environment. Knowing that the rapid decisions you make and actions that you take today, however rational and sensible they seem to be now, could expose you or your company to future adverse legal actions. Obviously, the health and wellness of your teams are top of mind and need to be communicated. Being aware of legal implications can further strengthen your organizational and leadership skills. We thank our sponsor, Insperity, (a leader in providing business and HR services) for working with launchpad2X to compile key HR considerations and resources that every CEO needs when navigating these unique times.
Conceivable future legal issues that may arise in the wake of the current pandemic include:
Potential discrimination allegations and lawsuits are possible from COVID-19-related restrictions. This is more apt to happen if employer decisions are based on fear rather than fact.
For example, additional quarantine requirements should not be imposed on people simply because they’re citizens of a demography which has been hard hit by the virus.
If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform the rest of the staff in that work location so they may also be tested. Maintain confidentiality as required by Privacy Laws.
For business leaders managing workplaces or team members in multiple states, it may be helpful to track the number and geographic location of reported cases nationwide through the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering’s map: Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE.
Employers should NOT take punitive action because of an employee’s personal travel plans.
OSHA requires employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees, it also protects employees from being forced to engage in work that they feel is dangerous or they are ill-prepared for.
Here are the national resources on Labor Laws, OSHA and Leave for employers:
Wage and hour laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and equivalent state laws
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and equivalent state laws
Georgia Department of Labor laws
U.S. Department of Labor: Pandemic preparedness in the workplace and the ADA
OSHA: COVID-19 overview and resources for preventing workplace exposure
Providing leadership and management to your team is of utmost importance. Ignorance of the applicable laws and locally imposed practices need not be the case. Arming yourself with real information / data to guide your operations and decision-making will boost your effectiveness.
If you are unsure of any actions, we recommend that seek advice from an attorney or law firm. Please let us know if we at launchpad2X can support you. We have resources that can provide free consultations for members and we are preparing webinars on Business Emergency Preparedness and other timely topics. Please check out our upcoming events to register.
We’re here to help you play to win.
Launchpad2X is a founder-to-CEO accelerator training organization for women entrepreneurs based in Atlanta, GA. Learn more on LinkedIn.