Episode 16 (June 16, 2020)
Best practices in COVID-19 return-to-work planning
Melissa K. Peters, Special Counsel at Littler Mendelson, shares key insights into the law firm’s recent COVID-19 Return-to-Work Survey of 1,000 employers across the U.S. She discusses best practices and key strategies for employers to keep in mind as they build and implement a return-to-work plan.
- The CDC has been the default guidance throughout this time, but businesses should also carefully follow and adhere to any regulations or orders from the state, county or city where they are located. [01:55]
- Employers have a key concern around leave of absence entitlements. Summer brings childcare issues and this will likely impact employees who need to return. [03:41]
- The “general duty” clause is the primary OSHA regulation employers are following. OSHA requires employers to provide a safe and healthy environment and to protect against a “serious hazard” — i.e., exposure to COVID-19. [05:25]
- Employers can keep rigorous notes on all the measures they are taking to keep employees safe — keeping contact tracing logs, cleaning logs, and so on. They can also consider implementing a daily walkaround. High-hazard industries do “site walks,” which can be as simple as walking around the office or facility to make sure all the social distancing measures are being put in place, with an eye on potential lawsuits or liabilities. [07:17]
- Learn more about the Littler Mendelson survey report here.
Melissa K. Peters
Special Counsel at Littler Mendelson
With an in-depth understanding of the regulations that apply to safety and health in the workplace, Melissa K. Peters assists employers in complying with these requirements and provides counsel surrounding workplace incidents. Her primary focus is on California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) matters. Previously, while at Cal/OSHA, she regularly advised on enforcement and investigation-related matters and represented the Division in administrative appeals and third-party litigation arising from workplace fatalities. She worked closely with Cal/OSHA’s High Hazard, Research and Standards, Labor Enforcement Task Force, and Elevator units, and handled numerous cases involving workplace violence, heat illness and bloodborne pathogens.