In our last post, we discussed policy changes and new procedures that companies should consider as they reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly given the increase in cases in many parts of the country. But companies cannot change policies in a vacuum: they must clearly and effectively communicate these changes to employees, customers, and the public. Clear, written policies will be ineffective if they are not communicated effectively. Continue Reading Reopening and Readjusting: Communicating COVID-19 Policies to All Stakeholders
Business closures have been immensely difficult for companies of all sizes during the COVID-19 pandemic. But reopening is proving difficult, too, especially given the ever-changing nature of the pandemic. As cases have surged in recent weeks in new parts of the country, businesses have been forced to reassess their operational plans in both the near- and long-term. Owners and executives are paying close attention both to customer and employee safety. And businesses must be mindful of potential legal ramifications of their decisions. Continue Reading Reopening and Readjusting: What Businesses Should Be Thinking About
Effective July 6, travelers coming into the City of Chicago from 15 designated high-risk states have been asked to quarantine for 14 days or risk incurring fines. With few exceptions to the order, employers will have to navigate the practical implications that are sure to arise as summer travel heats up. Continue Reading Stay Home, Chicago: Emergency Order Requires Travelers from High-Risk States to Quarantine
Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court’s opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia resolves a circuit split and makes adverse employment actions against gay, lesbian, or transgender people illegal across the nation.
The City of Chicago has enacted an anti-retaliation ordinance effective immediately aimed at protecting employees from retaliation if they refuse to work at an employer’s premises in compliance with a public health order issued by the City or the State of Illinois. The ordinance also protects employees from adverse employment actions if they do not report to work at the employer’s worksite due to direction from their healthcare provider to stay at home or to care for an individual who has been directed to stay at home. Continue Reading Chicago’s Anti-Retaliation Ordinance Protects Some Employees from Reporting to Work
In a widely watched case, the Seventh Circuit decided last week that companies that collect individuals’ biometric data may be able to defend their cases in federal court when plaintiffs allege a procedural violation of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Continue Reading Good News for Companies: Seventh Circuit Holds Removal of Plaintiffs’ Biometrics Privacy Claims to Federal Court OK
Thousands of businesses nationwide are trying to reopen after shutting their doors because of statewide stay at home orders due to COVID-19. Without question, this has created a significant burden on employers whose financial obligations – employee wages and benefits, rent and mortgage payments, among others – have not ceased despite economic uncertainty and decreased consumption across the board. Continue Reading To Terminate or Not to Terminate? How PPP Loans Impact Termination Considerations for Employers Seeking Loan Forgiveness
Businesses across the country are facing challenges, including lawsuits, as they grapple with how COVID-19 has impacted their operations, work forces, and supply chains. The wave of litigation is rising, and it appears that no industry is immune. Schiff Hardin’s Coronavirus Task Force is publishing this series to identify of-the-moment issues and potential liabilities facing businesses as they begin to re-open, transform their processes, and adapt to the new reality.
As businesses start to reopen across the country, customer-facing companies should consider best practices to reduce the risks of customer and employee exposure to the novel coronavirus, the cause of COVID-19. The right approach will differ based on the type of business, the state and local government guidelines and orders in place, and the geographic region in which the business operates. A hair salon in New York City, for example, will need to take different precautions than an outdoor nursery in Anchorage. Companies should develop a thoughtful plan to reduce the chance of exposure to the virus at a business given the ever-evolving scientific understanding of the disease. Here are five ideas that businesses can use to help ensure that their customers and employees remain safe. Continue Reading Five Approaches to Keep Customers and Employees Safe When Reopening
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress created a federal unemployment supplement program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which extends emergency jobless benefits to gig workers and others who may be ineligible for benefits under existing programs, but are out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic. Continue Reading DOL Issues Guidance on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Benefits Under CARES Act
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continues to update its guidance on the interplay of COVID-related issues and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The EEOC added new FAQs on April 9 (view our summary) addressing issues of confidentiality, reasonable accommodation, hiring, and harassment. On April 17 and April 23, the EEOC added additional FAQs addressing numerous topics, including the permissibility of widespread COVID-19 testing for employees entering the workplace and additional topics involving requests for accommodations during the pandemic and other issues. Continue Reading EEOC Updates ADA/COVID Guidance Allowing for COVID Virus Testing and “End Dates” to Some Accommodations