With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread, there are a number of major issues that are arising in the area of employment law. Specifically, numerous legal experts are urging both employees and companies to review their employment contracts with a trained employment lawyer. In addition to reviewing contracts, companies are also being urged to review their handbooks to ensure that they are protected against potential negative exposure.
Specifically, many companies conduct a significant amount of business overseas. There has been a major amount of disruption when it comes to the delivery of contracted goods. Companies that are awaiting goods that are supposed to be coming from overseas so that they know their rights if the goods were delivered late (or not at all). Even though contracts might state one thing, overseas suppliers might also force something called a majeure certificate. This certificate might exempt exporters from fulfilling their contractual obligations in the event of a pandemic. This could lead to a series of legal battles, which is why companies need to review their contracts.
Furthermore, employers should consider requesting employees who are coming in from overseas to quarantine themselves to watch for symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms might not show up for around 14 days. Some of the most common symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Anyone who shows these symptoms should contact the Department of Health and companies should urge their employees to do exactly that.
On the other hand, employees who are forced to stay might allege that this was due to a perceived disability, which might be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This could lead to another legal battle. Therefore, companies must make sure they document this request based on the employee’s travel history, which would make it hard to defend that claim. In any written documentation, it must specify that the request to quarantine is based on the person’s travel history and not on their country of national origin. Furthermore, workers who are being asked to stay home must still be paid for their time. Then, they can reintegrate into the workforce after the quarantine period has passed.
With the country getting ready to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus continues to rage. This is going to create a difficult legal landscape for both employers and employees. Therefore, both side need to know their rights and operate in good faith to minimize disruption to families, the company, and the country as a whole. If people are able to stick together during this difficult time, the country is going to be better off for it. These are a few of the major employment law issues that should be highlighted.