> Workplace Coronavirus posters from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Emotional Health Resources
What Emotional Health resources are available?
As deadlines have been extended for self-isolation, social distancing, cancelled events and school closures, there is an emotional toll taking place in society. For this reason, resources for emotional health will now take a prominent place on our main page and will be updated regularly as the best articles, websites and videos are discovered.
United Way of Utah, dial: 2-1-1 or click here for access to free community resources
Family Medical Leave Act Questions
Is COVID-19 an FMLA-covered serious health condition?
Not necessarily. If COVID-19 does not satisfy the regulatory definition of a “serious health condition,” employers should not count the absence against the employee’s 12 weeks of FMLA leave. An example of a situation in which the leave may not be FMLA-qualifying is when an employee is required by the employer to stay home but is asymptomatic. Employers should evaluate any applicable state mini-FMLAs to ensure they do not contain different or additional requirements or provisions.
What are the requirements for an FMLA-covered serious health condition?
The regulatory definition sections that most likely apply in the COVID-19 context (assuming a mild case) are the following:
More than three calendar (not work) days of incapacity plus two treatments by a healthcare provider (the first of which must occur within seven days of the first day of incapacity and the second within 30 days of the first day of incapacity)
More than three calendar (not work) days of incapacity plus one treatment by a healthcare provider (which must occur within seven days of the first incapacity) plus continuing treatment (including prescription medication) under the supervision of a healthcare provider
Because some individuals will not seek health care treatment unless they need urgent medical attention or they are at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19, some cases of COVID-19 will not qualify as a serious health condition simply because the employees will not have visited a doctor/healthcare provider for any treatment.
Common HR Questions
Should an employer take temperature scans at work?
According to the EEOC Guidance, whether the Coronavirus will rise to the level of a “direct threat” under the ADA will depend on it if reaches pandemic levels versus current epidemic levels and the severity of the illness/risk. Employers who are considering temperature scans or other medical inquiries should consult with labor and employment counsel to ensure that the medical inquiry is permitted under the ADA.
An employee of ours has tested positive for COVID-19. What should we do?
You should send home all employees who worked closely with that employee for a 14-day period of time to ensure the infection does not spread. Before the employee departs, ask them to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (three to six feet) with them in the previous 14 days to ensure you have a full list of those who should be sent home. When sending the employees home, do not identify by name the infected employee or you could risk a violation of confidentiality laws. You may also want to consider asking a cleaning company to undertake a deep cleaning of your affected workspaces. If you work in a shared office building or area, you should inform building management so they can take whatever precautions they deem necessary.
One of our employees has a suspected but unconfirmed case of COVID-19. What should we do?
Take the same precautions as noted above. Treat the situation as if the suspected case is a confirmed case for purposes of sending home potentially infected employees. Communicate with your affected workers to let them know that the employee has not tested positive for the virus but has been exhibiting symptoms that lead you to believe a positive diagnosis is possible.
In addition to our EAP program, what other resources exist to help our employees during this period of stress?
In addition to your accessing your personal health provider, and even mental health resources through some telemedicine the CDC put out the following link with helpful hints.
According to attorney Davis, Wright and Tremaine, LLP – Any travel policies should be narrowly focused and apply only with regard to specific geographic areas identified by the CDC and WHO as high-risk. In addition, travel policies should be in writing and distributed to all employees, not just to employees who the employer believes is or may be considering travel to high-risk areas. By so doing, the employer can avoid the appearance of discrimination and limit potential race, national origin, or other discrimination claims, while helping to protect the health and well-being of employees.
How does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) affect an employer’s Coronavirus preparation and response?
The ADA prohibits discrimination in the workplace against employees and applicants with disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations when necessary. The ADA also limits the type of medically related inquiries that an employer can ask of an applicant or employee, and imposes strict confidentiality requirements relating to any medical information that is obtained. A medical inquiry or examination during employment is permissible only if it is job-related and consistent with business necessity. If an employer has a reasonable belief based on objective evidence that an employee will pose a direct threat to other employees due to a medical condition, then medical inquiries concerning that condition will be job-related and consistent with business necessity. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), taking an employee’s temperature to determine if he or she has a fever is an example of a medical inquiry.
Work from Home
How do we implement a Work From Home policy?
If your company does not currently have a Work From Home (WFH) policy it can be a daunting task to establish at “the last minute”. We think the attached sample policies may be of help while you plan to implement such a policy. One is more of a temporary implementation and the other one long-term.