As much as we’d all like to wish the COVID-19 madness away, Employment Law Attorney Alexis C. Knapp, a board member for Littler Mendelson P.C., says there’s no ignoring the ever-evolving legislation and keeping up with the “fast and furious” pace of it all.
On April 30, G&A Partners hosted a free webinar titled “Employment Law Forecast: 2020 & Beyond” featuring Knapp, who is board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and who is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®).
Knapp spent the hour-long webinar discussing the many and varied legal issues that employers have faced since news of the novel-coronavirus pandemic first broke. She covered everything from the complications caused by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to wage-and-hour issues and the Department of Labor investigations that would undoubtedly result if employers aren’t extremely careful in how they react to the new laws.
As a litigation attorney, Knapp warns that she’s already seeing a number of cases start flowing through her law firm. She recommends constant communication between employers and their employees and keeping excellent records and documentation during this time to avoid major legal issues or audits later on.
A few other important pieces of advice include:
- “Compliance is a tricky thing,” work closely with G&A Partners and your legal counsel to ensure you are able to keep up with state, federal and local laws because they are “changing like wildfire.”
- Keep “old-fashioned” Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and American Disabilities Act (ADA) in mind when considering employees’ requests.
- Watch your headcount in the coming days and weeks if you have between 300 and 700 employees because it could become impacted by the FFCRA, which is effective through December 31, 2020.
Knapp also advises employers to slow down and carefully consider the decisions they make during this time. Making rush decisions to keep up with the lightning pace of legislation can lead to trouble down the road, so she says to spend an extra day or week—whatever is needed—to ensure every action taken is warranted and documented to protect you in the future.
Reopening the workplace is at the top of every employer’s mind these days, but what if an employee gets COVID-19 from the workplace? Knapp shared several tips and considerations for all the “what ifs” businesses should consider as they contemplate their options.
From readying the workplace, to screening and testing employees and keeping their rights and confidentiality in mind, she covered several important laws to follow. She also addressed what to do in the event employees don’t feel safe enough to return to work—their options as employees and yours as an employer.
Watch this webinar before making any important decisions about your business. It will be an hour well spent.