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COVID-19: Key Considerations for Developing Reopening Strategies (Audio Only)

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This program, led by Skadden Counsels Anne Villanueva and Helena Derbyshire, highlights the various legal and practical considerations in connection with employees returning to the physical workplace in a COVID-19 setting.

In developing their reopening strategies, employers should consider their own corporate philosophy; guidelines issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and equivalent bodies, such as Public Health England; and various realities (e.g., country, state and county orders, industry, geography, and practical concerns for employees, such as childcare). Specific return-to-work approaches include alternating weeks in the office, temperature checks, and daily health certifications, employees wearing masks, contact tracing, redefining the workspace, encouraging proper behavior, and managing remote workers, in each case subject to applicable law and guidance from the relevant administrative and government entities.  However, certain return-to-work approaches, such as requiring employees to take antibody tests, check their temperature, or sign waivers, may present legal issues in different jurisdictions. According to CDC and EEOC guidance, employers should ensure they are providing reasonable accommodations to vulnerable employees. COVID-19 creates significant additional liability concerns with respect to employees; customers, vendors, and invitees to property; and various other stakeholders. Finally, employers should be aware of liability concerns relating to cybersecurity, privacy and data security, employee monitoring, and biometrics laws.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Grasp key considerations in developing reopening strategies in the context of guidelines and rules promulgated by OSHA, the CDC, the EEOC, and other administrative and government entities

  2. Gain an understanding of  the approach to phasing out furlough and the application of other social policies across Europe, specifically in England, France, Germany, and Italy

  3. Discuss specific approaches to returning to the workplace, including accommodations for vulnerable employees and caretakers

  4. Review additional liability concerns created by COVID-19, including those related to cybersecurity

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