Workers File Class-actions Against Employers

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard a thousand times this week alone; “unprecedented”. The truth is, we are living through a time in US and world history that will undoubtedly shape the landscape of the future. When it comes to businesses attempting to navigate the uncertainty that surrounds a global pandemic, many concerns arise that may not have previously topped the list.

 

For about 3 months now, some businesses deemed essential have carried on to the best of their abilities by following federal, state, and local guidelines on how to remain open and safe for the public. Needless to say, these efforts have been a challenge. Weekly (sometimes daily) guidelines were adapting to new information, increasing in severity, and furthering restrictions on businesses that needed to remain open. Then, by the time many of these guidelines were being implemented by essential businesses, reopening announcements started rolling out in many states.

 

Confusion abounds for both the employer and the employee. Essential workers have been working for these past 3 months and many of them feel they were not appropriately protected from the threat of Covid-19. For many of these essential businesses, the confusion has turned into a nightmare situation in the form of class-action lawsuits.

Reopening For Business

As efforts increase around the country to reopen, it’s imperative that you and your business be prepared. Safety must be the top priority for workers, clients, customers, suppliers, and anyone who comes into contact with your business.

 

Reopening for business can be thought of as a two-pronged approach:

  1. Protecting the safety of your employees and all who come into contact with your business
  2. Protecting your business

 

These two elements go hand-in-hand as implementing efforts to do one should inherently help achieve the other. To help protect the safety and well-being of your workforce, it’s important to first understand some of their top concerns.

 

Employees returning to work will be looking for these key factors:

  • Enhanced safety and sanitation measures
    • Physical barriers for those interacting with public
    • Providing handwashing, sanitizers, and cleaning supplies
    • Providing PPE where necessary
    • Routine cleaning of work spaces
  • Social distancing measures
    • Encourage staying home when sick
    • Staggered shifts
    • Teleworking options
    • Discouraging shared spaces and shared equipment
  • Effective communication
    • Clear guidelines provided to employees on safety measures and expectations for following them
    • Listening to employee concerns and addressing them appropriately
    • Communicate flexibility options for employees

Being Prepared and Flexible is Key

Businesses that have a plan in place to protect their workforce will be far better prepared for navigating the reopening process. Following local, state, and federal guidelines for reopening is essential. You can also follow guidelines set out by OSHA for implementing a plan for reopening for business. Doing so can go a long way toward protecting both your workers and your business by mitigating the chances of workers filing for class-action.