Risk and Compliance

Navigating the Legal Landscape

Breaking down OSHA, EEOC, and ADA guidance on safely reopening the office.

By James E. Beyer

There’s been a wealth of information released by various government agencies in recent weeks regarding workplace safety and equal employment opportunity issues. In April, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminded employers of their legal obligations when facing employee concerns about workplace safety. Similarly, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been continually updating guidance on its website in “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.” How can employers navigate this evolving legal landscape and the potential land mines that stand in the way of a return to safe business operations?

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COVID-19 and GDPR

Organisations should keep these considerations top of mind when processing employee personal data for COVID-19 detection and prevention purposes.

By David Dumont and Anna Pateraki

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, businesses are dealing with new, unprecedented, and rapidly changing operational and legal challenges. Over the past weeks, data protection authorities in the EU and the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) have issued guidance on the processing of personal data for COVID-19 detection and prevention purposes, including the processing of employees’ health data by private sector organisations.

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Clearing After the Storm

COVID-19

HR leaders reflect on the lessons learned during the height of COVID-19 and share three ways the world of work has been permanently impacted.

By Marta Chmielowicz

Over the course of a few weeks, the coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down. Schools and businesses shuttered as strict social distancing guidelines fell into place. Travel and morning commutes became a thing of the past. Eighty-eight percent of employees turned to their laptops to continue working in newly remote jobs, according to a Gartner survey. And the Department of Labor reported that over 20.5 million workers lost their jobs in April alone as companies floundered, sending the unemployment rate to a devastating 14.7 percent.

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Reopening the Doors

Three key priorities for HR managers when bringing employees back to the office post-COVID-19.

By Pamela Lacy

As many U.S. states begin to lift their stay-at-home or similar orders, businesses across the country are weighing their options, questioning when and how to reopen their doors safely for both customers and employees. There are a wide range of laws and regulations, as well as guidance from federal, state, and local governmental authorities, that should be top of mind for business owners and HR managers as they prepare to welcome employees back to the workplace.

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Maintaining Health, Minimizing Risk

A dive into OSHA requirements for employee safety as workplaces open.

By Andrew Zelman

While the country begins to reopen from the COVID-19 shutdown and states and cities gradually release restrictions imposed upon essential and non-essential businesses, new considerations of employee safety, controlling the spread of the virus, and screening visitors and workers will take precedent. For employers eager to jump-start their businesses while ensuring a healthy workforce and minimizing liability from exposed employees, compliance with the ever-changing laws and guidance is essential. This will mainly come from HR. In the absence of a mutual agreement by both the organization and employees to follow company policies aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, a safe workplace upon reopening may not be feasible.

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COVID-19 Reboarding Checklist

Six best practices to consider before reopening.

By Andrew Rawson

Many organizations are now focusing on when and how to reopen, and what changes to make before employees return to the physical workplace. It’s a complicated process that involves many steps, from implementing health and safety guidelines to making employees feel as comfortable as possible navigating a changing work environment. While every organization is different, here are six things to consider when preparing employees for some of the adjustments they may expect in their day-to-day interactions and operations.

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Safety and Stability

Organizations will need to execute thoughtful measures when managing the return to the office.

By Gretchen Alarcon

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the global workforce in ways that could have never been expected. HR professionals have been forced to take center stage, lead their organizations through unexpected changes, and define what’s next. But the hard work is not over yet.

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Conducting Coronavirus Testing in the Workplace

The EEOC provides a much-needed life vest for employers.

By Alex Leiva

News outlets, social media platforms, and firsthand experiences showcase the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) pandemic across a broad spectrum of the American (and global) economy without regard to industry, socioeconomic status, or other indicators traditionally associated with the modern economic system. Many businesses have been forced to close their doors for prolonged periods of time and others have had no choice but to proactively and reactively furlough, lay off, or terminate large portions of their workforces simply to stay afloat in the wake of significant decreases to business revenue. For those businesses fortunate enough to maintain operations over the last two months, and for those planning to re-open following the relaxation of state and local “shutdown,” “stay at home,” or “quarantine” orders, many questions remain. However, a singular question seems to dominate the minds of every business—how can they operate a safe workplace and successfully avoid a “liability trap” in the face of many laws made relevant by the pandemic (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and other equal employment opportunity laws)?

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Managing in Crisis

Two companies share how they are adapting their workplace policies to protect their employees and businesses from the impact of COVID-19.

By Simon Kent

The speed at which the coronavirus has moved around the world means that for many HR teams, the work of creating an action plan to protect their people has shifted from the hypothetical to the top priority almost overnight. According to Julie Provino, international HR expert and award-winning CEO and founder of HR consultancy VeryHR, HR teams must now provide support, policies, and frameworks to enable their organisations to act quickly, efficiently, and smoothly—no matter what happens as the situation evolves.

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