Employment law affecting both workers and bosses could change as coronavirus impacts offices and businesses.
Bill Richmond is a managing partner with Platt, Cheema and Richmond in Dallas, representing entrepreneurs and businesses, and offers advice for navigating the challenging times.
“Employers need to make sure that they are honoring medical privacy laws. They are not allowed to openly talk about medical conditions or surmise about the medical condition of their employees,” he says. The rules of HIPPA laws must be applied. As to how managers and bosses apply requests for time off, he advises that not only must applicable laws be followed, but that the ultimate judge of appropriateness could be applied by the court of public opinion.
And employees need to know that the rules of their employer’s handbook still apply. “The key thing right now is that absent a statutory basis to be able to stay home from work you can’t just stay home from work on your own volition just because you’re afraid about going in and possibly getting infected,” he says.
The bottom line is that all aspects of business are going to have to accommodate a rapidly changing environment in which statutory changes are being handed down by city, county, state and federal officials, and are binding, and finding compatible solutions to challenges that arise will be in the best interest of everyone involved.