Category: Employment Law

COVID-19 Return to Work – What Can an Employer Proactively Do about the Health of a High-Risk Employee Returning to Work?

June 25, 2020  |  BGS

With the gradual return to work associated with the various Executive Orders, an issue that is popping up with increasing frequency is what may employers do when they have employees who the employer knows are at high risk. Read on for tips related to the health of a high-risk employee returning to work. The Basics The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued interim guidance for employers with employees at high risk. Basically, the CDC notes that when gradually scaling up activities towards pre-COVID-19 operating practices, it is important to note that certain employees are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. These employees include individuals over age 65 and those with underlying medical conditions Such underlying conditions include, but are not limited to, chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, hypertension, severe heart conditions, weakened immunity, severe obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis.   The Self-Identification Step The CDC says that: Employees at higher risk for severe illness should be encouraged to self-identify, and employers should avoid making unnecessary medical inquiries. Employers should take particular care to reduce employees’ risk of exposure to COVID-19, while making sure to be compliant with relevant Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)…

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The Need for Businesses to Accommodate At-Risk Customers | Executive Order Under COVID-19

May 22, 2020  |  Scott M. Lepak

In addition to the Minnesota Governor’s May 13, 2020 Executive Order related to the Safe Reopening of Minnesota’s Economy, the Minnesota governor issued an Executive Order the same day that also warrants attention by businesses providing in-person services to customers. In Executive Order 20-55, the Minnesota Governor ordered the Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development to issue guidance necessary for private and public businesses to provide accommodations to at-risk customers by adjusting times, services, and manner of delivering goods and services to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection. The Executive Order is called Protecting the Rights and Health of At-Risk Populations during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency. At-risk persons include people who are: 65 years and older. Living in a nursing home or a long-term care facility, as defined by the Commissioner of Health. Any age with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including people With chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma. With serious heart conditions. Who are immunocompromised (caused by cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications). With severe obesity (body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher). Who are diabetic. With chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis. With liver disease. While…

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The Right to Refusal to Work Executive Order Under Covid-19

May 15, 2020  |  Scott M. Lepak

While the Minnesota Governor’s May 13, 2020 Executive Order related to the Safe Reopening of Minnesota’s Economy is generating considerable headlines and discussion, it is notable that there was an Executive Order issued the same day that also warrants attention by employers. In Executive Order 20-54, the Minnesota Governor ordered that employers must protect workers from unsafe working conditions and retaliation during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency. Employers are forbidden from discriminating or retaliating in any way against a worker communicating orally or in writing with management about occupational safety or health matters related to COVID-19, including asking questions or expressing concerns. This Executive Order also specifically applies existing law related to a refusal to work under certain conditions to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers have the right to refuse to work under conditions that they, in good faith, reasonably believe present an imminent danger of death or serious physical harm. This includes a reasonable belief that they have been assigned to work in an unsafe or unhealthful manner with an infectious agent such as COVID-19. Employers must not discriminate or retaliate in any way against a worker for the worker’s good faith refusal to perform assigned tasks if the worker has asked the employer to correct the hazardous conditions, but they remain uncorrected. These…

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