The past few months have been particularly challenging as the country prepares to reopen. While this does not mean that the COVID-19 pandemic is in the rearview mirror, it does mean that businesses are going to have their employees slowly start to return to work. As they do, it is important to realize that the virus is going to be with us, as a country, for the foreseeable future (until a vaccine is finished). Therefore, it is important to hone in on some of the biggest issues that are going to matter surrounding employment law.
In the past, employment lawsuits have usually gone up during times of economic turmoil. Many people try to fight harder to make more money (or protect what they have), leading to lawsuits. When this is combined with layoffs and furloughs, the issues become apparent. All employees need to make sure they take the appropriate precautions to protect their employees as they return to work. This means making sure that they are not forced to come to work while sick and that there are appropriate measures put in place to protect them while they are working. This will protect employers from issues down the road.
In addition, it is important to note that there are measures in place to protect those who make a “whistleblower complaint.” Often, employees are reluctant to come forward with issues due to a fear of retaliation from the employer. It is critical for all businesses to note that any issues that are raised need to deal with without reprisal on behalf of the employer toward the employee. Some of the issues that employees could complain about including people not washing their hands, not wearing masks, and not covering their coughs properly. Employees should be allowed to voice these concerns without worrying about how their employer might react.
Finally, all businesses need to make sure that they follow the guidelines that have been issued by the CDC. Some businesses might feel like these guidelines might make it hard for customers to come and visit the store. While this might be true, it pales in comparison to the safety of other customers and employees who work at the business. Therefore, all businesses need to make sure they place the needs of others ahead of the economic interests of the company. This will shield everyone from legal action.
These are a few of the biggest issues that are going to surround employment law as the country begins to reopen. While it is great that the country is getting back to some semblance of normalcy, it is critical to focus on healthcare as well.