The COVID-19 pandemic has brought trouble for businesses in more than one way. While continuity during lockdowns and even in the new normal is a challenge, business owners need to go the extra mile to steer clear of workplace disputes as well. In fact, there has been an increase in internal complaints or litigation during this phase. Unless you are well-aware and vigilant about steering clear of such legal issues, you can expect to be in deep trouble. Here are some employment law implications you should be prepared for in the post-pandemic workplace.
Prioritize Workplace Safety
Right now, workplace safety is the top concern for employers and it is a legal obligation for them. Obviously, you must ensure that all the safety norms are implemented in the workplace as it reopens. You may be held liable for violating workplace safety under OSHA’s “general duty” clause if you are slack with the guidelines. For example, you may get into legal trouble if the virus was present in the workplace and your to control exposure were inadequate. Also, you can expect to be sued if the employees were made to do tasks that led to exposure. So you need to take the feasible steps for eliminating or mitigating recognized hazards, such as implementing social distancing, providing personal protective equipment, and encouraging hand hygiene measures.
Be Aware of Wage and Hour Claims
The sudden shift to remote work has made the employers switch from the traditional tracking mechanisms which were used for determining work hours and breaks. Obviously, this has made them vulnerable to employee claims related to wage and hour. Since employees have labor law to protect their interest, they can use it to their advantage with the help of an expert lawyer. The only way to ward off such claims is by ensuring that you compensate them fairly. Additionally, you must comply with the federal, state, and local laws and avoid minimum wage violations. Further, measures like setting clear expectations with employees, addressing issues promptly, conducting regular check-ins, and maintaining clear communication can go a long way in preventing tiffs.
Anticipate “Leave” Complaints
Another aspect of the pandemic that can result in legal hassles is to “leave” complaints from the employees. With the implementation of the federal paid sick time mandate under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, things have tilted in the favor of employees. As a result, you need to be aware of treating compensated time off for reasons associated with COVID-19, whether it is about to leave for the sickness of the employee or taking care of a sick family member. Keeping such legal hassles at bay is all about being aware of such laws and complying with the requirements so that you do not end up being sued. It is also recommended that you should avoid taking such personnel actions which could lead to retaliation lawsuits by workers.
Don’t Party Too Hard After Normal Business Hours
For most of us, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen or spent time with our work colleagues. As such, the excitement and enthusiasm of hanging out together is natural. It’s important to understand that you shouldn’t overdo it, however. As employers and employees navigate through the pandemic, when company sanctioned get-togethers occur, many people are partying a bit too hard for their own good. This can result in disaster for your company, as well as your employees. If you or one your employees gets caught drunk driving, contact a DC DUI Lawyer to represent you ASAP. Failure to do so can – and often does – result in disastrous consequences.
After all the trouble you may be facing amid the pandemic crisis, the last thing that you would want right now is lawsuits by your employees. So you must do everything possible to avoid them in the first place and also have a strategy to deal with them if they still happen.