The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have released new guidance to assist employers in re-opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidance takes the form of new checklists which employers may utilize to determine if they are ready to re-open. The guidance is at a relatively high level and does not provide the details many employers have been clamoring for.
We receive questions daily from employers who want to know what screening measures they should implement and to what extent such measures may be considered a medical exam under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or other laws. Employers are simultaneously concerned about exposure under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) if they don’t do enough to protect workers. Layered on top of those concerns are questions about liability for employee illness under state workers’ compensation laws and general liability for customers or visitors.
We are hopeful that more specific guidance will be issued so that employers can demonstrate a good faith effort to protect their employees and the public.
The following are links to CDC, EEOC, and OSHA guidelines:
Employers must also remain cognizant of state and local laws, which may be far more specific than current federal rules. Employers should carefully evaluate the specific risks present in their workplace when developing a mitigation strategy. While there are no guarantees, strict compliance with state or local laws and good faith efforts to follow federal guidelines, should help limit risk.
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