With COVID-19 (coronavirus) impacting communities in the Northwest and around the U.S. and world, employers are wondering what role they can play in keeping their employees safe and healthy. Don’t panic! Your current policies and practices are probably sufficient to handle any issues that may affect your workplace. But here are some general recommendations. (See
Seven Steps for Employers to Address the Ebola Threat (Step 1: Don’t Panic!)
The recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, with the few isolated cases occurring in the United States, is spurring employers to review their emergency response plans for pandemic preparedness. In seven steps, this writing sets forth best practices for pandemic preparedness, considerations regarding travel during a pandemic, and addressing employees’ immediate concerns without running afoul of relevant employment laws.
1. Don’t Panic and Stay Informed
With any emergent threat, accurate and reliable information is critical; with a pandemic threat, not having accurate and reliable information causes panic. Note that as of this writing, the current Ebola outbreak has not been declared a pandemic (meaning, a global epidemic), but employers should monitor communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information.
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