The CDC has recommended temperature checks for workers in some counties.  Governors are beginning to make the same recommendation.  This step already is in place for many healthcare workers.  Now, employers in other industries are considering whether they should conduct temperature checks on employees who are reporting to work and send them home to avoid possible spread of the virus on the employer’s premises.  
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Employers in the difficult position of making workplace reductions because of COVID-19-related business losses should spare a moment for consideration of layoff notice obligations under the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act of 1988, 29 U.S.C. § 2100 et seq. and its state counterparts (so-called “mini-WARN” laws). The “unforeseen business circumstances” exception in federal WARN and most analogous state laws may excuse strict compliance with notification requirements, but employers should take the time now to analyze the applicability of this exception rather than make assumptions about it.
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The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently published Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, outlining steps employers can take to help protect their workforce. The Guidance focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, work practice controls and personal protective equipment, as well as considerations for doing so.
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Workers’ compensation provides the exclusive remedy for injuries and illness that employees suffer arising out of and within the course of their employment.  In the early stages of this pandemic, work-related travel to high impact countries or work-related exposure in a case that was being tracked by public health authorities provided support for work-related exposure.  In health care settings, work-related exposure will likely be established when exposure to infected patients occurs.  But in other settings and as the diseases spreads in the United States, the analysis about whether an illness is covered by workers’ compensation will be more difficult.
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The Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016, which implements the District of Columbia’s new Paid Family Leave program, kicks-in for employees on July 1, 2020.  However, employers must post a PFL notice in the workplace no later than February 1, 2020.   
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Although the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” it has not yet declared the outbreak as a pandemic. Nevertheless, the emergence of the latest coronavirus is an opportunity for employers, as it reminds them to consider policies and procedures related to pandemic planning.
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As California braces for wildfire season, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health approved an emergency regulation on July 30, 2019, that requires California employers to monitor air quality for particle pollution, and reduce workers exposure to the potential harmful pollutants from wildfire smoke.
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Last August, we reported on OSHA’s proposed rulemaking regarding electronic submissions of workplace injuries and illnesses in our blog entitled, “OSHA Issues Proposed Rule Regarding Electronic Submission Requirements.” OSHA has since issued a final rule which became effective on February 25, 2019.  The new rule rescinds the requirement that employers with 250 or more employees, or employers in certain high-hazard industries, electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries or Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report).
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