00:04:16.560 –> 00:04:24.150
MP: Good afternoon, and thank you all for joining us for an MP webinar on HR compliance and return to work best practices and legal advice.
00:04:24.480 –> 00:04:33.240
MP: i’m amy women had a marketing here at MP and we are thrilled to have an employment law expert here today from the renowned employment law firm of Jackson Lewis.
00:04:39.120 –> 00:04:52.650
MP: focused on Labor and employment law since 1958 Jackson Lewis has 950 plus attorneys located in major cities nationwide who consistently identify and respond to new ways workplace lot intersects business.
00:04:53.160 –> 00:05:00.690
MP: Jackson Lewis helps employers develop proactive strategies strong policies and business oriented solutions.
00:05:01.170 –> 00:05:13.350
MP: The firm assist clients and cultivating high functioning work forces that are engaged stable and diverse they share their clients schools to emphasize increase diversity and respect for the contribution of every employee.
00:05:14.490 –> 00:05:14.820
00:05:17.670 –> 00:05:31.530
MP: Those of you joining us on a webinar for the first time MP, is a full service human capital management company offering a suite of products and services, including HR payroll benefits administration time and attendance and compliance assistance.
00:05:31.890 –> 00:05:48.030
MP: We support our clients with cutting edge technical solutions, as well as proactive reliable service and deep HR and payroll expertise at MP, we are wired for HR and help clients succeed by aligning their HR strategy with their business goals.
00:05:50.340 –> 00:06:04.710
MP: Your presenter today is Saturday Jane and associate in the Boston office of Jackson Lewis her practice focuses on representing employers and workflow place law matters before federal state and State courts administrative agencies.
00:06:05.190 –> 00:06:14.280
MP: After graduating from emory university school of law SAFA served as a research assistant for Professor frank Alexander and his work for the Community Center.
00:06:15.120 –> 00:06:24.810
MP: For the Center for Community progress relating to judicial receiverships receivers liens and the tax foreclosure system in Shelby county Tennessee.
00:06:28.320 –> 00:06:37.650
MP: And just a short disclaimer and while today’s program is intended for educational purposes, it should not be construed as specific specific legal advice.
00:06:38.940 –> 00:06:44.730
MP: And just a few notes if you’d like to submit a question during the webinar please use the Q amp a feature at the bottom of the screen.
00:06:44.970 –> 00:06:53.490
MP: and also a recording of the webinar will be sent out later today, following the presentation, along with the slides and with that I will turn the MIC over to sadness.
00:06:56.130 –> 00:07:05.280
Sapna Jain: Thank you amy good afternoon everyone as amy said, my name is subnet Jane I am an associate in the Boston office of Jackson Lewis.
00:07:06.810 –> 00:07:11.640
Sapna Jain: And sort of going off that if you have any specific questions at the end.
00:07:14.400 –> 00:07:29.580
Sapna Jain: My contact information will be sent out with these slides so there’s questions that you want to talk about relating to your company, we can work through those together to find answers to all your employment needs so.
00:07:30.690 –> 00:07:37.230
Sapna Jain: Today we’re going to be talking about the transition back to the non virtual office.
00:07:38.190 –> 00:07:43.860
Sapna Jain: We There are a variety of topics and sort of the return to work umbrella but we’re going to focus on.
00:07:44.220 –> 00:07:58.680
Sapna Jain: sort of these four issues that have started to come up more and more so those include bringing employees back to the workspace the coven 19 safety measures that may be required when people come back to work.
00:08:00.120 –> 00:08:08.790
Sapna Jain: coven 19 accommodation issues and things to sort of keep in mind and, lastly, vaccines and and how to.
00:08:09.930 –> 00:08:19.260
Sapna Jain: discuss and sort of have those conversations around vaccinations and vaccination cards and what may be the best course for.
00:08:20.280 –> 00:08:21.840
Sapna Jain: You and your company.
00:08:26.730 –> 00:08:30.720
Sapna Jain: So, a lot has changed in the time of.
00:08:32.250 –> 00:08:56.850
Sapna Jain: People have adjusted to working from home for more than a year now, and so this will talk about a variety of different things that employers need to keep in mind in terms of how policies are applied to limit exposure in terms of both legal liability and just general best practices.
00:08:59.070 –> 00:09:03.180
Sapna Jain: So as states are starting to lift restrictions.
00:09:04.650 –> 00:09:14.010
Sapna Jain: As more and more people return to work, it is a business decision on whether to require employees to return back to the workplace.
00:09:15.570 –> 00:09:25.770
Sapna Jain: A key part of this is the importance of maintaining flexibility, think about what returning to the workplace looks like for different roles.
00:09:26.940 –> 00:09:32.550
Sapna Jain: and develop transition plans to bring employees back to work if you haven’t already.
00:09:34.890 –> 00:09:44.100
Sapna Jain: In Massachusetts we’ve seen restrictions be eased in the past few weeks, and so.
00:09:45.120 –> 00:09:56.490
Sapna Jain: No matter where your employees are you’ll need to assess the coven 19 cases in the city and state of the workplace so For those of you have clients across.
00:09:57.300 –> 00:10:12.030
Sapna Jain: The country that will mean juggling a variety of different a variety of different restrictions and and those are things that Jackson Lewis is equipped to help with, as we have offices across the country.
00:10:16.350 –> 00:10:23.850
Sapna Jain: So, along with implement and then the next slide we’re going to talk about is implementing these policies and practices.
00:10:24.600 –> 00:10:41.580
Sapna Jain: To ensure the safe and lawful return to work, so you have a variety of coven 19 related protocols which have been implemented implemented throughout the last year, these include you know screenings medical inquiries temperature checks.
00:10:43.560 –> 00:10:55.260
Sapna Jain: And you’ll need to prepare and update existing policies to address new laws related to the use of of leave and accommodation so.
00:10:56.520 –> 00:11:05.100
Sapna Jain: One example of this is the the Massachusetts sick paid sick leave requirement that just came in to effect.
00:11:06.300 –> 00:11:16.740
Sapna Jain: I believe in May on may 28 of this year, so the this area is constantly changing so you need to be mindful of that.
00:11:18.570 –> 00:11:27.240
Sapna Jain: The other thing is to develop policies related to off duty conduct, and it may also be updating policies so.
00:11:29.430 –> 00:11:39.930
Sapna Jain: This also includes standardizing your work from home policies, there may have been one that you had before, but it’s it’s probably a good time to take a look at that as.
00:11:40.710 –> 00:11:54.030
Sapna Jain: People are starting to come back to work and have questions about well you know I worked at home for a year for more than a year for an end my performance was great you know why, can I continue to do that so.
00:11:54.810 –> 00:12:09.990
Sapna Jain: The key here is to make sure that it’s clear to your employees, what the expectation is and communication is key, often where we see issues is where somebody thought Oh well.
00:12:10.680 –> 00:12:22.590
Sapna Jain: I that that’s not what I thought you know that’s not what was communicated to me so make sure that the communication and the resources for employees are clear and accessible.
00:12:25.590 –> 00:12:26.280
Sapna Jain: and
00:12:29.490 –> 00:12:43.140
Sapna Jain: The other things so some some ideas and suggestions here are to impose appropriate limits on business travel in person, meetings and seating proximity, this is for when you’re in your offices.
00:12:44.250 –> 00:12:54.120
Sapna Jain: You need to train employees on the new policies and protocols and rules provide these resources, whether they’re on an internal.
00:12:55.440 –> 00:13:09.150
Sapna Jain: Internal website portal, whether they go out hardcopy whether they go out and an email it’s never a bad idea to have employees read and acknowledge policies to make sure that.
00:13:10.470 –> 00:13:15.900
Sapna Jain: They understand what what they are agreeing to.
00:13:17.130 –> 00:13:27.480
Sapna Jain: again consider job description updates to reflect changes and job do job duties and essential job functions, so this includes.
00:13:29.040 –> 00:13:39.180
Sapna Jain: You know somebody needs to come into work every day, you know understand why that is, and make sure that the job description is clear and reflects that.
00:13:40.530 –> 00:13:49.890
Sapna Jain: And you’ll need to consider how to adhere to regulations on changes in terms and conditions for employees on temporary visas we’ve seen.
00:13:51.000 –> 00:14:12.750
Sapna Jain: A significant increase in our immigration practice group focusing on how work from home policies have sort of adjusted and what that means for temporary visas or other other individuals or other employees who have strict requirements relating to visas.
00:14:15.720 –> 00:14:22.500
Sapna Jain: And, and lastly, you know think create business continuity plans, what does this mean going forward.
00:14:24.210 –> 00:14:38.220
Sapna Jain: What does this look like and how how have you adapted in the past here and and how can you continue to adapt and do both what’s best for your work what’s best for your teams and.
00:14:39.690 –> 00:14:43.200
Sapna Jain: is in compliance with the law to avoid liability.
00:14:46.740 –> 00:15:04.290
Sapna Jain: on developing that return to work plan consider reopening and other orders specific to your state and county we’ve seen sort of a mishmash of things at one point Massachusetts had reopening.
00:15:05.910 –> 00:15:17.430
Sapna Jain: notices then then Boston as a city had different ones and and some of the other areas have have a variety of different restrictions so you’ll need to you’ll really need to look closely at that.
00:15:18.540 –> 00:15:24.180
Sapna Jain: or work with somebody who can help you help navigate those restrictions.
00:15:25.770 –> 00:15:45.090
Sapna Jain: you’ll need to procure supplies and make workplace modifications required for safe operation, this may include having hand sanitizer stations more frequently throughout the office, it may include providing masks if that’s the case.
00:15:46.110 –> 00:15:50.370
Sapna Jain: And, and if you as an employer.
00:15:52.170 –> 00:15:58.620
Sapna Jain: feel like you would like to keep these restrictions private employers have the ability to do that, to ensure that.
00:16:00.990 –> 00:16:09.900
Sapna Jain: That individuals are wearing masks when they come into the area that they’re doing temperature checks before they come in to keep the other employees safe.
00:16:11.490 –> 00:16:31.260
Sapna Jain: you’ll want to identify individuals who will be brought back to work, using a neutral selection criteria we’ll talk a little bit about this later, but you can bring people back in phases, but the important thing, there is to make sure that is a neutral selection criteria.
00:16:32.550 –> 00:16:53.220
Sapna Jain: And then you’ll want to identify those who can continue to work remotely and consider more formal telework plans, this is this is sort of in line with the return to work policies and and updated job descriptions, you want to make it very clear what the expectations are.
00:16:59.490 –> 00:17:15.480
Sapna Jain: Again sort of in this return to work plan determine changes to exempt status compensation and schedule, such as staggered shift, this is an important one to avoid wage and hour issues which can be incredibly costly.
00:17:17.430 –> 00:17:19.140
Sapna Jain: You really want to make sure.
00:17:20.550 –> 00:17:33.960
Sapna Jain: That people keeping track of their time you’ll want to consider work share and unemployment insurance implication and determine updates that must be made to I nine verification forms.
00:17:35.250 –> 00:17:46.980
Sapna Jain: You want to anticipate unique needs of various vulnerable employer employee population, so that may be individuals who’ve had disabilities that may be.
00:17:48.960 –> 00:17:55.140
Sapna Jain: Pregnant individuals and we’ll talk about how to sort of plan for that and also.
00:17:56.850 –> 00:18:07.530
Sapna Jain: Work work and engage in the interactive process to ensure that you’re engaging in the in the proper accommodation.
00:18:09.720 –> 00:18:11.640
Sapna Jain: In the proper accommodation.
00:18:12.870 –> 00:18:14.370
Sapna Jain: sort of requirements.
00:18:16.680 –> 00:18:29.250
Sapna Jain: And you want to notify employees have returned to work with established dates and if they were terminated with rehire documents again communication communication communication.
00:18:31.260 –> 00:18:53.250
Sapna Jain: When you have employees returning to work in phases you’ll want to take steps to articulate and document the legitimate non discriminatory reasons why some individuals were permitted to return to work or work remotely but not all of them.
00:18:57.180 –> 00:19:04.740
Sapna Jain: So to accomplish this, the focus should be on excuse me positions and duties.
00:19:07.620 –> 00:19:18.180
Sapna Jain: Not on the individuals who are in those roles, so the the logic and rationale relates to the business judgment.
00:19:19.650 –> 00:19:20.910
Sapna Jain: That employers have.
00:19:28.410 –> 00:19:45.810
Sapna Jain: And there are also additional considerations if vaccination is the condition of returns, so we will talk about that vaccinations, as you saw was one of the topics, so we will definitely discuss the vaccination topic.
00:19:53.010 –> 00:20:06.510
Sapna Jain: So the next thing you want to do is address the remote work challenges, so if it’s going to continue make sure you have a plan in place for the employees unique circumstances.
00:20:09.000 –> 00:20:11.760
Sapna Jain: And the companies need to get the job done.
00:20:12.780 –> 00:20:23.490
Sapna Jain: So you know it may be time to sort of sit down and figure out Okay, what do we need you want to set forth the expectations of the job.
00:20:24.180 –> 00:20:37.710
Sapna Jain: you’ll want to do this in the job description, but then again when somebody starts you’ll want to make clear what the expectations are you want to talk to employees about performance issues that have arisen with any previous flexibility.
00:20:38.970 –> 00:20:42.180
Sapna Jain: If if somebody has been.
00:20:45.330 –> 00:20:51.450
Sapna Jain: If somebody has been continually absent on calls or meetings when they are.
00:20:53.160 –> 00:21:03.750
Sapna Jain: Working remotely you’ll want to address that with individuals you’ll want to address that with that employee, because one of just in general.
00:21:04.410 –> 00:21:14.880
Sapna Jain: In terms of good communication and documentation and employees shouldn’t be surprised about performance issues you’ll want it to be something that.
00:21:15.510 –> 00:21:24.600
Sapna Jain: They have been made aware of, and that they can work to improve so again that communication comes in, so.
00:21:25.080 –> 00:21:33.510
Sapna Jain: And and make clear that, while you’re willing to work with them, you know, during this difficult time and want that want them to succeed.
00:21:34.110 –> 00:21:47.190
Sapna Jain: Ultimately, it requires effort on their part to ensure that the job gets done so making those expectations, clear and and holding them to that through communication and and guidance.
00:21:50.550 –> 00:21:54.690
Sapna Jain: In a valid things to evaluate for work from home positions include.
00:21:56.100 –> 00:22:06.930
Sapna Jain: You know, creating or modifying your policy we’ve talked about that you want to assess the viability of moving positions to work from home if they’re not already.
00:22:08.250 –> 00:22:08.790
Sapna Jain: and
00:22:11.280 –> 00:22:17.040
Sapna Jain: And and making sure that you communicate and implement consistent messaging.
00:22:24.000 –> 00:22:26.820
Sapna Jain: And you want to have benchmarks for performance.
00:22:28.860 –> 00:22:29.520
Sapna Jain: That way.
00:22:30.750 –> 00:22:37.170
Sapna Jain: employees and their managers can be clear on what the expectations are and how an employee’s doing.
00:22:38.940 –> 00:22:43.110
Sapna Jain: Based on a variety of different factors that they’re aware of.
00:22:44.340 –> 00:22:47.580
Sapna Jain: And also keep employees connected.
00:22:48.840 –> 00:22:55.470
Sapna Jain: Employees if they’re working from home, you want to make sure that they are still involved that they still feel.
00:22:56.550 –> 00:22:58.470
Sapna Jain: Like they’re part of the company.
00:23:04.710 –> 00:23:05.100
Sapna Jain: sees me.
00:23:06.870 –> 00:23:13.200
Sapna Jain: Another thing that we’ve seen in terms of remote work is security risks and and.
00:23:15.240 –> 00:23:25.740
Sapna Jain: Potential phishing attacks and breaches of of confidential information that’s important to consider do you have employees.
00:23:27.180 –> 00:23:33.900
Sapna Jain: Using a vpn a secure network to transfer files to do their work on.
00:23:36.870 –> 00:23:50.430
Sapna Jain: Those The second point here if non exempt employers are working remotely you want to make sure that systems are in place to properly record and track time so those wage and our issues you want to avoid having those.
00:23:51.840 –> 00:23:52.470
Sapna Jain: and
00:23:54.240 –> 00:24:07.950
Sapna Jain: You want to be aware of these potential evidence of the, off the clock work, you know whether those are late night emails that are not generally when the employee is supposed to be working or plans on working.
00:24:10.890 –> 00:24:16.080
Sapna Jain: And then you’ll want to make sure that your managers are trained on how to manage remotely.
00:24:17.820 –> 00:24:26.280
Sapna Jain: it’s easy to sort of go down the hall and have a conversation about okay here’s what we’re going to do today, but how do you encourage that and and ensure that.
00:24:27.240 –> 00:24:40.020
Sapna Jain: managers and the employees who report to them are able to sort of have those conversations and and continue to do their work in this remote environment and and succeed.
00:24:41.010 –> 00:24:54.240
Sapna Jain: You know, not an and thrive in those positions so like we talked about earlier communicating with employees, when their issues and making clear, you know here are.
00:24:54.870 –> 00:25:03.960
Sapna Jain: here’s what’s going on here’s how we can work together to improve that and providing the employees with the tools to be able to.
00:25:05.220 –> 00:25:06.030
Sapna Jain: To do that.
00:25:09.060 –> 00:25:09.720
Sapna Jain: So.
00:25:10.950 –> 00:25:27.000
Sapna Jain: safety measures, we have seen a variety of different things and guidance that employers have had to juggle since all of this occurred in in sort of the beginning of last year.
00:25:28.710 –> 00:25:44.670
Sapna Jain: And the guidance continues to come so with with your company there’s a variety of different things there’s the CDC guidance, the OSHA guidance, the recent eeoc guidance that just came out the Department of Labor guidance, along with.
00:25:45.780 –> 00:25:51.630
Sapna Jain: State and local laws so all of those things are.
00:25:53.130 –> 00:25:54.900
Sapna Jain: things that have to be considered.
00:25:56.340 –> 00:26:01.950
Sapna Jain: I want to take a minute just to talk about the eeoc guidance that recent recently came out.
00:26:03.090 –> 00:26:14.820
Sapna Jain: That the eeoc the equal employment opportunity Commission it clarified that it aligns only on the legal implications under the federal discrimination laws and not.
00:26:16.200 –> 00:26:25.560
Sapna Jain: You know sort of the on state laws or legality of other mandates so keep in mind this is for federal discrimination laws.
00:26:26.820 –> 00:26:38.760
Sapna Jain: But according to the eeoc the federal equal employment opportunity laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees.
00:26:39.030 –> 00:26:55.050
Sapna Jain: Who are physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for coven 19 now like we like I mentioned earlier, you want to keep the reasonable accommodation provisions in mind that are triggered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
00:26:56.190 –> 00:27:13.980
Sapna Jain: But you want to know here the eeoc is silent on whether employers can mandate, the vaccine for remote workers, the eeoc guidance talks about people physically entering the workspace but not the individuals who are working remotely.
00:27:16.020 –> 00:27:25.260
Sapna Jain: Employers can require the COPA 19 vaccine for all employees entering the workplace, but you have to meet certain requirements.
00:27:25.980 –> 00:27:39.780
Sapna Jain: And and those two requirements are the first is the qualification standard must be a job must be job related and consistent with a business necessity so business need and then.
00:27:40.890 –> 00:27:45.300
Sapna Jain: The second one is if a particular employee can’t meet such.
00:27:46.680 –> 00:27:58.470
Sapna Jain: The the safety related qualification standard because of a disability or some of the reason the employee the employer can’t require that an employee.
00:28:00.120 –> 00:28:11.940
Sapna Jain: That employee comply unless and can demonstrate that that individual would pose what’s called a direct threat to the to the health or safety of the employee or others in the workplace.
00:28:14.550 –> 00:28:28.320
Sapna Jain: So it’s not clear what’s defined as a direct threat which often happens in guidance, but this remains a controversial position and some employers argue that.
00:28:30.000 –> 00:28:38.040
Sapna Jain: A lower burden of proof applies so again, this is, this is a recent guidance we’ll probably see other issues come up.
00:28:39.150 –> 00:28:41.700
Sapna Jain: As we as we sort of go through this.
00:28:43.560 –> 00:28:56.370
Sapna Jain: The eeoc recommends that as a best practice and employer introducing a coven vaccine policy a coven 19 vaccine policy and requiring documentation.
00:28:57.390 –> 00:29:10.140
Sapna Jain: or other confirmation of vaccination should notify all employees that it will consider requests for reasonable accommodations based on disability or on an individualized basis so again.
00:29:10.590 –> 00:29:25.170
Sapna Jain: That communication to employees and making clear that if there is something else, whether it’s a disability or an individual request that those need to be raised.
00:29:26.580 –> 00:29:27.240
Sapna Jain: So.
00:29:28.500 –> 00:29:49.200
Sapna Jain: What do you need to do so, we have three basic rules which is sick sanitize stay home if sick or exposed and mask and social distance So what does that mean for employers, that means clean screen and mean.
00:29:50.250 –> 00:29:53.280
Sapna Jain: So for cleaning.
00:29:54.300 –> 00:30:01.230
Sapna Jain: There are a variety of different things that have been implemented, but these include regular hand washing.
00:30:02.340 –> 00:30:21.450
Sapna Jain: Again, placing hand sanitizers and high contact locations cleaning merchandise before stocking if that’s possible and then daily disinfecting daily disinfection of desks workstations work areas and then, if anybody’s diagnosed with.
00:30:22.800 –> 00:30:25.650
Sapna Jain: close and deep clean of those areas.
00:30:27.300 –> 00:30:40.440
Sapna Jain: And then you’ll want to disinfect commonly touch surfaces so for in terms of practical considerations you’ll want to have signs around the office or work areas and I hand washing stations.
00:30:41.970 –> 00:30:47.580
Sapna Jain: And you’ll want to address and speak with employees who don’t practice good hygiene.
00:30:49.110 –> 00:30:57.930
Sapna Jain: One one important thing here is to ask employees to think about their their co workers and what and why.
00:30:59.520 –> 00:31:00.180
Sapna Jain: These.
00:31:01.740 –> 00:31:03.300
Sapna Jain: And, and why these.
00:31:06.180 –> 00:31:17.520
Sapna Jain: Steps are in place to to make sure and and be mindful of the health and safety of not only them but the their co workers.
00:31:19.140 –> 00:31:22.710
Sapna Jain: You know scheduling disinfection of high touch areas throughout the day.
00:31:26.910 –> 00:31:32.280
Sapna Jain: So that’s clean, then we have screen so.
00:31:33.720 –> 00:31:45.150
Sapna Jain: What this sort of looks like in terms of practical considerations, so a daily symptom assessment now whether that is on paper, whether that is through an APP or.
00:31:46.230 –> 00:31:54.570
Sapna Jain: Whether that and that may lead to potential assistance with contract tracing again, you want to be mindful of the other.
00:31:56.400 –> 00:32:01.620
Sapna Jain: health information laws that are that are in this area.
00:32:05.160 –> 00:32:28.170
Sapna Jain: So, limiting travel contacting local health department, if an employee is diagnosed with colon 19 now, these are as as vaccinations rate in vaccination rates increase there may be a decrease in these but it’s still important to note that you’ll want to keep this in mind.
00:32:30.360 –> 00:32:33.570
Sapna Jain: And you’ll want to think about policies and training.
00:32:34.890 –> 00:32:39.480
Sapna Jain: What what training, do you need to do around this is it.
00:32:40.950 –> 00:32:48.630
Sapna Jain: Just letting people know, is it a calendar reminder every morning, that if you come into the office you need to.
00:32:50.730 –> 00:32:54.510
Sapna Jain: get your temperature checked and fill out a certification that you do not have.
00:32:58.170 –> 00:33:17.580
Sapna Jain: Another thing to think about here is reviewing percent attendance and leave policies so consider how disciplinary action for excessive tardiness or absenteeism may discourage employees from staying home if they’re sick, you may want to allow for unpaid leave if necessary.
00:33:19.020 –> 00:33:25.350
Sapna Jain: Recognizing the doctor’s notes may not always be readily available and to train managers.
00:33:27.960 –> 00:33:40.410
Sapna Jain: For proper implementation so again, all of those things are important in thinking about how to approach these the screen.
00:33:42.390 –> 00:33:43.020
Sapna Jain: Part of it.
00:33:44.370 –> 00:33:47.880
Sapna Jain: Alright, so mean it masks and social distancing.
00:33:49.260 –> 00:33:59.850
Sapna Jain: Depending on your business, you could be in for yet another significant change and cultural and personnel dynamics we’ve seen this come up across the country.
00:34:02.430 –> 00:34:09.810
Sapna Jain: You know, consider facemasks for employees or customers again thinking about local and state orders.
00:34:12.900 –> 00:34:24.810
Sapna Jain: you’ll want to think about potentially staggering lunch breaks and times maximum establishing maximum capacities what what is safe in your space.
00:34:28.830 –> 00:34:30.360
Sapna Jain: And postage on.
00:34:32.040 –> 00:34:37.800
Sapna Jain: signage are around health safety guidelines and common areas so.
00:34:39.270 –> 00:34:46.320
Sapna Jain: important things to think about here, you know how does it tie into the company culture, you know tie these things into your core value.
00:34:46.770 –> 00:34:58.170
Sapna Jain: you’ll want to encourage employees to look out for each other’s well being and sort of trying to find ways sort of keep to keep fun events alive and creative ways.
00:34:59.820 –> 00:35:02.610
Sapna Jain: For day to day considerations.
00:35:03.720 –> 00:35:13.620
Sapna Jain: You know scheduling calls or meetings online versus in person or if you’re going to do it in person to see if you can maintain these these six feet between individuals.
00:35:14.760 –> 00:35:22.440
Sapna Jain: or reconfiguring workspace, to the extent that it may need to that it may need to be reconfigured.
00:35:25.050 –> 00:35:31.980
Sapna Jain: So in this return to work so let’s think about preparing for.
00:35:33.480 –> 00:35:38.850
Sapna Jain: Common coven 19 sort of related scenarios when people when people come back so.
00:35:41.310 –> 00:35:49.770
Sapna Jain: Whether somebody is behaviors raise safety concerns people who are capable, but unwilling to work from home.
00:35:52.770 –> 00:36:02.850
Sapna Jain: Employees who report, who are asked to or the opposite of that employees who are asked to report to work but prefer to and are able to work from home.
00:36:04.320 –> 00:36:18.930
Sapna Jain: here’s one thing that we’ve seen is whether employers can discipline employees who refuse to return to the office so generally yes employers can.
00:36:20.490 –> 00:36:31.440
Sapna Jain: Discipline employees who refuse to return to the office, but you have to keep in mind leave entitlements or potential reasonable accommodation requirements.
00:36:33.180 –> 00:36:47.670
Sapna Jain: And another thing to also consider is the HR and recruitment retention implications of all decisions, so you sort of have the legal side and then you have the practical side which are considerations, you have to look at.
00:36:49.860 –> 00:36:57.450
Sapna Jain: Employee you know you should think about and understand the reason why an employee is unwilling to return to work.
00:36:59.430 –> 00:37:08.280
Sapna Jain: You know, it may be a conversation about a conversation with the employee about why they don’t want to come so.
00:37:13.290 –> 00:37:26.460
Sapna Jain: And and based on that conversation, then you want to look at if it triggers a potential legal analysis, so this may relate to child care obligations continuing health concerns.
00:37:27.660 –> 00:37:36.690
Sapna Jain: And, and how those may be how those may relate to leave entitlements and accommodation obligations.
00:37:39.930 –> 00:37:58.830
Sapna Jain: So, and then other things that we’ve seen our you know non clinical fears or anxiety, or just general desires to avoid exposure to cover 19 or commuting or working you know these are not likely to trigger affirmative legal protections and and you can.
00:38:01.140 –> 00:38:11.430
Sapna Jain: You know, you may be able to discipline those employees who failed her return to work and and the same goes for employees who just want to work from home so.
00:38:12.720 –> 00:38:16.200
Sapna Jain: Those are things to sort of think about there so.
00:38:17.400 –> 00:38:25.260
Sapna Jain: We briefly talked about sort of accommodations but we’re going to dive into that a little bit more here so with coven.
00:38:26.700 –> 00:38:31.080
Sapna Jain: Accommodation issues, there are a variety of different things to think about.
00:38:33.120 –> 00:38:45.480
Sapna Jain: So what coven 19 related requests, should you anticipate so a variety of different things here, you know, the government has advised I stay home because I fall into a vulnerable population category.
00:38:46.950 –> 00:38:52.980
Sapna Jain: I have been exposed to coven 19 my spouse has my child has.
00:38:55.080 –> 00:39:09.120
Sapna Jain: My child’s daycare schools closed and I need to take care of the child, or I need help or help with schoolwork so think about training to proactively have managers be ready for these questions.
00:39:10.620 –> 00:39:22.560
Sapna Jain: When you’re addressing these situations, you want managers and and other individuals, including co workers to so to show empathy and be sensitive to.
00:39:23.010 –> 00:39:34.530
Sapna Jain: Individual employees situations, but along with doing that you want to have them balance and be consistent in their approach because that’s key here.
00:39:36.120 –> 00:39:51.720
Sapna Jain: To be consistent in the approach you will want to train managers on proper protocols you’ll want to discuss possible options with these individuals such as moving workstations are staggering shifts.
00:39:53.100 –> 00:40:10.020
Sapna Jain: or allowing time off for a reduced work schedule so talking about the different the different ways to address the concerns and then most importantly documenting these conversations and how how situations are addressed.
00:40:13.200 –> 00:40:16.980
Sapna Jain: I can’t tell you how many times we’ve we’ve had issues come up where.
00:40:18.690 –> 00:40:29.070
Sapna Jain: You know, Joe talked to susie and they decided that this was going to be the situation and how they were going to approach it approach it and then you have.
00:40:31.230 –> 00:40:48.510
Sapna Jain: Sub nine and josie talking on the other side and saying Okay, this is a similar situation now you don’t want the response to be different, just because it was two different managers, you want to have a consistent approach and so documenting those conversations.
00:40:49.650 –> 00:40:55.560
Sapna Jain: You know not identifying individuals but, but making sure that managers are clear.
00:40:56.610 –> 00:41:03.870
Sapna Jain: In what that looks like across the board, so that the company can have an overall consistent approach.
00:41:10.110 –> 00:41:21.540
Sapna Jain: Within the accommodation sphere, for the coven 19 vaccines so employers are mandating the vaccine which again we’ll get to that in just just a minute.
00:41:22.560 –> 00:41:35.700
Sapna Jain: you’ll have Ada implication, so the Americans with disability act implications you’ll have religious implications and then you’ll have gina implication so gina relates to genetic information.
00:41:38.100 –> 00:41:44.010
Sapna Jain: And so, again, the new eeoc guidance talked about this it reminded employers that.
00:41:45.060 –> 00:41:50.190
Sapna Jain: Title seven and the Ada so the title seven act.
00:41:51.210 –> 00:42:00.720
Sapna Jain: may require an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation for employees who, because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief.
00:42:01.620 –> 00:42:12.510
Sapna Jain: Practice or observance, you know they may not get vaccinated for coven 19 and so you know, unless providing an accommodation would pose.
00:42:12.930 –> 00:42:24.450
Sapna Jain: what’s called an undue hardship on the operation of the employers business so again, it depends on the facts of the situation, but but that undue hardship standard.
00:42:25.410 –> 00:42:40.350
Sapna Jain: is one that you’ll have to look at and in it depends on the operation of the employers business, this means something very different for a small mom and pop company that may have.
00:42:41.790 –> 00:42:49.140
Sapna Jain: 50 employees and you know that’s very different than a large company that has.
00:42:50.160 –> 00:42:55.110
Sapna Jain: offices across the country, so those are things to keep in mind.
00:42:57.060 –> 00:43:11.400
Sapna Jain: In addition, employees who are not vaccinated because of pregnancy may be entitled under Title seven to adjustments to keep working if the employer makes modifications or exceptions for other employees so.
00:43:12.540 –> 00:43:24.810
Sapna Jain: These modifications may be the same as the accommodations made for an employee based on disability or religion, so another thing to keep in mind when having those accommodation conversations.
00:43:26.010 –> 00:43:36.930
Sapna Jain: So in the guidance, there are some examples of reasonable accommodations and so these include and unvaccinated employee entering the workplace.
00:43:37.830 –> 00:43:49.350
Sapna Jain: They might wear a face mask or they might wear a mask they may work at a social distance from coworkers are not employees, they might work a modified shift or.
00:43:50.730 –> 00:43:54.030
Sapna Jain: They may be periodically tested for coven 19 so.
00:43:56.970 –> 00:44:04.290
Sapna Jain: These are all examples of reasonable accommodations and and the guidance also says, you know, this may be.
00:44:05.310 –> 00:44:12.720
Sapna Jain: reassignment may also be a reasonable accommodation, depending on the situation so you’ll want to take a look at those.
00:44:14.280 –> 00:44:19.770
Sapna Jain: And really look at what what the specific issues are.
00:44:23.550 –> 00:44:27.000
Sapna Jain: Other potential issues and things to think about so.
00:44:28.590 –> 00:44:39.630
Sapna Jain: Just I want to touch on Back to School plans and the impact of that on employees, so a variety of different laws to think about here.
00:44:41.010 –> 00:44:47.370
Sapna Jain: But the important thing here is you’ll want to work with with legal counsel to develop.
00:44:48.600 –> 00:45:00.720
Sapna Jain: communicate and enforce a strong equal opportunity equal employment opportunity policy if you don’t already have one for your company that’s something you should definitely have and we can assist you with that.
00:45:02.400 –> 00:45:12.030
Sapna Jain: At Jackson Lewis, but you want to clearly address the types of conduct that might constitute caregiver discrimination for things like this.
00:45:13.140 –> 00:45:25.290
Sapna Jain: So when there’s no policy or procedure that’s when you run into risk, and so, if you sort of leave things up to managers to decide that is.
00:45:26.190 –> 00:45:42.300
Sapna Jain: That can create a lot of issues in terms of applying these applying the laws, you want to train managers on gender stereotyping, which can violate title seven of the Civil Rights Act, so the title seven that we were talking about.
00:45:45.150 –> 00:45:46.800
Sapna Jain: and other laws.
00:45:48.330 –> 00:45:55.710
Sapna Jain: And as often, this is a key component of many caregiver lawsuits so An example of this is one.
00:45:56.520 –> 00:46:14.250
Sapna Jain: A manager applies a double standards such as denying leave to a man who needs time off to care for a child, because he has a wife, but giving a female that that same amount of time off to care for a child, so you want to be mindful of that.
00:46:15.690 –> 00:46:21.060
Sapna Jain: The family, you want to emphasize the FM la the family medical leave act during training.
00:46:22.380 –> 00:46:31.800
Sapna Jain: Given the complexity of the law, this is an area where we see an incredible amount of litigation, you want to make sure managers know.
00:46:33.060 –> 00:46:47.100
Sapna Jain: They should talk to HR before answering any employee questions or making any decisions around an individual’s FM la leave that that is an area that can cause a significant amount of issues.
00:46:49.650 –> 00:46:59.490
Sapna Jain: you’ll want to consider you know hiring this is we’ve seen more and more of this of having unconscious bias training with employees.
00:47:01.230 –> 00:47:14.310
Sapna Jain: to sort of help understand and avoid these issues and and the other thing is, you want to avoid paternalistic policies regarding work and time off.
00:47:15.150 –> 00:47:24.990
Sapna Jain: Here I can’t stress this enough managers are not in a position to determine what a pregnant employee can and cannot do.
00:47:25.470 –> 00:47:44.190
Sapna Jain: That is not a determination for managers to make so and doing so may violate the pregnancy discrimination act title seven or other laws so you want to watch out for these red flags, you want to make sure that individuals are aware of.
00:47:46.470 –> 00:47:55.290
Sapna Jain: The issues here and they know when to get HR or or legal counsel involved to help guide them through these issues.
00:47:57.930 –> 00:48:10.650
Sapna Jain: Alright, so the vaccine topic, this is a very hot topic as more and more individuals are becoming vaccinated and have their vaccine cards so.
00:48:12.270 –> 00:48:20.370
Sapna Jain: vaccines and returning to work, so the eeoc guidance on vaccines we’ve talked about it a little bit.
00:48:21.840 –> 00:48:26.370
Sapna Jain: The eeoc clarified that as to incentives.
00:48:27.450 –> 00:48:40.140
Sapna Jain: They may be provided to encourage vaccination without running afoul of the eeoc his boss, but you have to make sure that the incentive is not tied to.
00:48:41.220 –> 00:48:57.180
Sapna Jain: The employee receiving the vaccine from the employer or someone with whom the employer like is contracting, so you want to make it very clear who is providing the vaccine.
00:48:59.550 –> 00:49:26.340
Sapna Jain: If there if the incentive is tied to a vaccine provided by the employer or its agent, then any incentive, which includes both rewards and penalties must not be what’s called so substantial as to be coercive now what is coercive I, that is not defined in the guidance.
00:49:27.420 –> 00:49:33.030
Sapna Jain: So we will see what what ends up being course of as things sort of play out.
00:49:34.770 –> 00:49:35.250
Sapna Jain: Excuse me.
00:49:36.690 –> 00:49:40.200
Sapna Jain: In terms of mandating vaccines so.
00:49:41.370 –> 00:49:43.440
Sapna Jain: Employers contemplating.
00:49:45.960 –> 00:49:58.110
Sapna Jain: A vaccination mandate you want to weigh a variety of different factors that go beyond sort of strict legal compliance so they’re sort of the legal answer and then there’s sort of a best practices answer.
00:50:01.260 –> 00:50:02.640
Sapna Jain: So you want to think about.
00:50:04.170 –> 00:50:18.690
Sapna Jain: Our employees, providing care for others who may not be able to be vaccinated the amount of close contact necessary in the workplace, the risk of harm to others if employees are not vaccinated.
00:50:20.610 –> 00:50:27.270
Sapna Jain: One thing to think about year How did the company fair during the height of Panda the height of the pandemic when there was no vaccine.
00:50:29.520 –> 00:50:42.540
Sapna Jain: If there were administrative controls used, you know, during the pandemic, you may not need to incur the sort of legal and operational risks that come with mandating vaccines.
00:50:44.220 –> 00:50:53.220
Sapna Jain: The culture is always something to think about and and the impact on employee relations and disruption in the workplace, if vaccines are mandated.
00:50:54.390 –> 00:50:57.030
Sapna Jain: So those Those are some areas.
00:50:58.350 –> 00:51:00.930
Sapna Jain: Potential resistance from employees.
00:51:02.850 –> 00:51:09.750
Sapna Jain: And you know the prospect of absenteeism following vaccinations because of adverse reactions.
00:51:11.310 –> 00:51:25.800
Sapna Jain: and potential needs to pay employees for time spent receiving vaccinations So these are a variety of different things to consider, so there, there are not only the legal, but the practical considerations against.
00:51:27.450 –> 00:51:33.870
Sapna Jain: The underlying goals, which is driving of that are driving a potential vaccination mandate so.
00:51:35.880 –> 00:51:49.440
Sapna Jain: No matter what you decide to do, whether you encourage or mandate vaccines employers, you should be prepared with at least a policy framework and and communications plan.
00:51:50.820 –> 00:52:00.450
Sapna Jain: As covert 19 vaccines, become more available so again communicating understanding and letting letting your employees know what that looks like.
00:52:04.740 –> 00:52:11.490
Sapna Jain: Can you ask employees if they have been vaccinated generally, yes, you can ask.
00:52:12.510 –> 00:52:14.340
Sapna Jain: But you want to keep in mind.
00:52:15.540 –> 00:52:30.540
Sapna Jain: The vaccination records of the Vaccination Card may be subject to osha’s 30 year record retention requirements so that means OSHA has a records retention requirement which says that medical.
00:52:31.110 –> 00:52:44.730
Sapna Jain: records must be kept for 30 or so do you as an employer want to keep somebody your employees medical vaccination cards for 30 years, what are the implications of that look like.
00:52:47.100 –> 00:52:59.250
Sapna Jain: So those are a variety of things to consider now, I also want to touch on the Massachusetts coven 19 paid sick leave law that just came into effect.
00:53:01.350 –> 00:53:12.990
Sapna Jain: About two weeks ago Massachusetts established a statewide mandate for employers to temporarily provide employees up to 40 hours of covert.
00:53:14.880 –> 00:53:17.040
Sapna Jain: it’s called emergency paid sick leave.
00:53:18.210 –> 00:53:31.890
Sapna Jain: And so it relates to employees who are absent and unable to work due to a variety of reasons, including needing to self isolate due to coven.
00:53:33.870 –> 00:53:50.970
Sapna Jain: Whether an individual has it or they’re seeking care for symptoms for themselves or another family member if there’s a quarantine order, there are a variety of sort of other examples, but those are some of them.
00:53:52.260 –> 00:53:52.890
Sapna Jain: and
00:53:54.060 –> 00:54:03.180
Sapna Jain: sort of the highlights of this one, or that all employers are required to provide this Paisley but they may seek a reimbursement from the State.
00:54:03.540 –> 00:54:24.630
Sapna Jain: For the amount paid to employees, up to the $850 per week CAP so that’s something to think about and and employees are entitled to use us paid leave from May 28 2021 so just a few weeks ago to September 30 2021.
00:54:25.740 –> 00:54:46.650
Sapna Jain: or until the state says that the Fund is depleted so whichever comes first so again, those are things to think about if you have specific questions about the implementation of the paid sick leave law, the coven 19 paid sickly law how that applies to your company, how to implement that.
00:54:48.180 –> 00:54:57.660
Sapna Jain: That is something that our team at Jackson Lewis, is well equipped to do, and we have been putting out guidance in our newsletters and information.
00:54:59.040 –> 00:55:03.120
Sapna Jain: In that so that that will provide some additional information.
00:55:04.230 –> 00:55:08.730
Sapna Jain: And with that I am going to.
00:55:10.860 –> 00:55:13.080
Sapna Jain: The Q and a’s so.
00:55:15.300 –> 00:55:16.590
Sapna Jain: Let me.
00:55:18.420 –> 00:55:20.280
Sapna Jain: Take a look at this.
00:55:30.240 –> 00:55:34.860
Sapna Jain: Oh right, so one of the questions that we have.
00:55:36.090 –> 00:55:38.280
Sapna Jain: is whether.
00:55:39.480 –> 00:55:42.630
Sapna Jain: Employers can require employees.
00:55:43.680 –> 00:55:49.440
Sapna Jain: To show their code vaccination cards when they return to work.
00:55:52.380 –> 00:56:04.530
Sapna Jain: So you can ask employees if they have been vaccinated as we sort of talked about earlier but you’ll need to be mindful of.
00:56:05.610 –> 00:56:13.440
Sapna Jain: Medical retention requirements of medical record retention requirements, such as the OSHA requirements.
00:56:15.510 –> 00:56:21.420
Sapna Jain: And it may be more problematic to sort of ask for vaccination cards.
00:56:23.070 –> 00:56:30.510
Sapna Jain: Another thing to think about here is minimizing the amount of employee information that you have to retain.
00:56:31.470 –> 00:56:40.590
Sapna Jain: Because that can also help reduce that can also help reduce potential legal exposure in the event of a breach so.
00:56:41.340 –> 00:56:57.780
Sapna Jain: When you’re required to keep medical records for an extended period of time, you know more and more we’ve seen data breaches, so you want to avoid that and the liability that comes with that, so you know ask yourself, is it really necessary.
00:57:00.390 –> 00:57:04.500
Sapna Jain: For you know our company’s purpose to collect or maintain the data.
00:57:07.620 –> 00:57:21.780
Sapna Jain: Another way to sort of implement this is, you can use less demanding vaccine policies such as an honor code to get a sense of whether employees have been vaccinated.
00:57:24.240 –> 00:57:41.730
Sapna Jain: You know the longer a company maintains a record, even if there’s no sort of statutory risk retention restriction so that’s you know legal restrictions, the longer it’s the longer you may be exposed to potential liability if the data is lost or stolen.
00:57:42.870 –> 00:57:45.600
Sapna Jain: One thing we’ve seen in terms of.
00:57:47.880 –> 00:57:51.780
Sapna Jain: sort of honor codes, is where employees are.
00:57:53.250 –> 00:57:59.040
Sapna Jain: are aware of employees are aware of other individuals who.
00:58:00.540 –> 00:58:09.870
Sapna Jain: have not been vaccinated but you know, are not wearing a mask or not following or not sort of abiding by the honor code so again, you want to make that clear.
00:58:10.980 –> 00:58:28.740
Sapna Jain: To the employees, what the expectation is and make clear what the ramifications are if someone you know signed an acknowledgement saying you know or a daily certification saying I don’t have or i’ve gotten the vaccine or something like that, and how that’s implemented.
00:58:30.540 –> 00:58:32.880
Sapna Jain: The implementation should be.
00:58:34.650 –> 00:58:37.530
Sapna Jain: Equal across the board and.
00:58:38.700 –> 00:58:44.580
Sapna Jain: You want to make sure that individuals are treated, or if they’re discipline that they’re disciplined in the same way.
00:58:45.660 –> 00:58:47.130
Sapna Jain: To avoid any sort of.
00:58:48.600 –> 00:58:52.230
Sapna Jain: Discrimination claims that may come up.
00:58:54.450 –> 00:59:05.430
Sapna Jain: um let’s see another question we’ve seen our daily checks required now that mean work reached the vaccination threshold.
00:59:07.980 –> 00:59:16.530
Sapna Jain: You know I am I will say i’m not a New York attorney but you’ll we we do have New York attorneys who can ask who can answer this but.
00:59:17.850 –> 00:59:24.750
Sapna Jain: You know the daily checks are still a best practice to sort of have a discussion around.
00:59:26.520 –> 00:59:34.290
Sapna Jain: To ensure safety within the workplace, so we still have those in place, at least in our offices.
00:59:35.610 –> 00:59:51.750
Sapna Jain: But that will be something whether it’s statutory are required by the state is is changing, and I think I just saw a recent guidance that came out that New York is restrict is lifting a variety of its of its different restrictions so.
00:59:54.000 –> 01:00:00.600
Sapna Jain: I don’t believe that they’re required now, but it still is is definitely a best practice.
01:00:16.050 –> 01:00:32.970
Sapna Jain: For the new Another question is, does the Massachusetts coven 19 sick leave, apply to leaves associated with side effects of the vaccination, this is a great question and one that.
01:00:34.350 –> 01:00:40.740
Sapna Jain: I I believe it may be, but I will refer you to a resource that will give you the answer.
01:00:41.940 –> 01:00:56.640
Sapna Jain: Jackson Lewis online has a variety of different articles on new legislation or guidance or laws that have come into place, and so we have a a full one on the.
01:00:58.620 –> 01:01:03.960
Sapna Jain: The Massachusetts paid sick leave law which really lays out all of the different.
01:01:04.980 –> 01:01:11.970
Sapna Jain: Things that it’s required to cover, so I touched on a few of those you know quarantine order things like that, but.
01:01:13.650 –> 01:01:19.830
Sapna Jain: The you will want to take a look at that, for the specifics either that or the guidance.
01:01:20.880 –> 01:01:40.980
Sapna Jain: set forth by the state, so with that I thank you for your time again, if you have follow up questions, my name is subnet Jane I with Jackson Lewis my information will be sent out with the slides, and I would be happy to talk to any of you and.
01:01:42.000 –> 01:01:50.040
Sapna Jain: go into more detail on questions you may have, and with that I will turn it back over to amy.
01:01:50.850 –> 01:01:56.880
MP: Thank you seth now what a great program Thank you all for attending the webinar today we hope you came away with some helpful information.
01:01:57.420 –> 01:02:05.820
MP: Around legal compliance returning to the workplace, I want to quickly remind everybody that a link to the recording will be sent out along with a copy of the presentation.
01:02:06.150 –> 01:02:12.990
MP: Later this afternoon and we’ll also be sending out sadness contact information I know we didn’t get to everybody’s questions on the webinar today.
01:02:13.560 –> 01:02:21.390
MP: But you can reach out to her and i’m sure she’ll be able to point you in the right direction, so thank you everyone and have a great rest of your afternoon.
Jackson Lewis P.C.
Returning your team to the workplace could be helpful for productivity, but it also comes with increased exposure to legal risk and HR compliance concerns. HR provider MP, in partnership with employment law firm Jackson Lewis, bring you a webinar to discuss how to build a return to work plan that ensures HR legal compliance. Set your team up for success and reduce legal risk.
Register for the webinar to:
- Find out if it’s best to phase your return to the office, or to return all at once
- Learn about how best to approach vaccine cards and vaccination requirements
- Get practical tips for planning the future of your workplace and reduce legal risk
Register for the webinar.