- Does Your Company Have A Pandemic Coordinator and/or Team To Ensure That Its Employees/Business Are Protected In Times Of Emergency? It Should.
- December 10, 2014 | Author: Dominick J. Bratti
- Law Firm: Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer P.A. - Woodbridge Office
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that employers be prepared in advance to deal with the unique workplace issues which arise in the event of a pandemic. The issues extend well beyond whether precautions by employers in high risk industries, such as the healthcare and mortuary fields, meet OSHA requests. Whether employers can question employees regarding their medical conditions and/or susceptibility to disease, whether employees returning from travel during a pandemic can be sent home and/or required to stay out of work for a certain period of time and whether the employer can take action against employees who refuse to come to work during a pandemic are only a few of the questions employers may need to answer this year in light of a potential Ebola outbreak in the United States.
As a result, HHS advises employers to begin pandemic planning in advance, and to start with appointing a pandemic coordinator or team of persons responsible for preparing for and responding to pandemic related issues. Because of the numerous employment laws which may be implicated, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also recommends that someone on the pandemic team be versed in Employment Law.
A number of employers in New Jersey last addressed these issues in 2009 when the H1N1 virus reached pandemic levels. Unfortunately, the current Ebola crisis threatens to have an even greater effect on the State’s businesses. As a result, all employers, large and small, should consider having an emergency/pandemic plan in place.