advice for businesses in dealing with the expanding coronavirus events

Employment Issues

March 09, 2020

By Elena Baca, Felicia Davis, Stephen Harris, Kenneth Willner, Ira Klein, Elizabeth Minoofar, Sarah Spiegelman, & Anna Yoon

Employers face uncertainty around what they can and should do to promote the health and well-being of their workforce while navigating federal, state, and local regulations. Employers must consider ever-changing government warnings, travel restrictions (including potential exit and reentry detentions), and privacy concerns regulated by federal, state, and local laws, including:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”), which requires employers to provide “employment and a place of employment, which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm”;

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), which protects the safety of personal health information with respect to health plans, but not general employment information;

  • Federal and state disability statutes, which limit medical inquiries and protect against discrimination based on perceived and actual disability;

  • Federal and state leave laws, and local sick pay requirements;

  • Federal and state wage and hour laws; and

  • Federal and state anti-retaliation provisions protecting employees who raise safety concerns or perceived violations of state or federal regulations or laws.