The severity and lasting impacts and effects of the spread of COVID-19 remain unknown. Each day federal, state, and local governments deploy new measures in an effort to curtail the spread of the virus, and such measures will impact the workforce and implicate legal obligations of employers. For example, some jurisdictions have closed, or are considering closing, schools, which may require parents without access to childcare to remain home. Additionally, individuals who tested positive or were exposed to someone who tested positive to COVID-19 may be required or advised to quarantine for several weeks.
In the most recent move, the CDC and President Trump issued new guidance on March 16, 2020, recommending the avoidance of gatherings larger than ten (10) people. In light of these developments, employers should consider their options on how best to decrease the spread of the virus in light of their obligations under applicable employment laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and related state and local laws. Additionally, to the extent an employer is considering implementing temporary layoffs or furloughs, employers should be aware of their obligations under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act, and related state laws.
Based on the information we have to date regarding the virus and the Department of Labor’s existing guidance, we developed the following practice guide for employers.
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