Because of COVID “I don’t feel safe” (Part 2 of 2)

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Key “Compliance” Employee Return to Work Issues. Click for resources on each of these. FYI, these rules apply to public, private, and nonprofit employers.  

1. An employee says, 

    • I don’t feel safe coming back.
    • I don’t feel safe using public transportation to get to work.
    • I’m high risk.
    • I don’t have childcare.

The FFCRA doesn’t make provisions for fear; however, an employee may have a right to ADA Accommodations or leave time, depending on the basis for their fear. Additionally, depending on your State, an employee may have a claim if it can be proven that your organization wasn’t meeting safety protocols. Finally, loss of childcare may also be a reason for leave.  


2. What about my high-risk employees? The CDC has a list of people who it has deemed to be at higher risk for contracting Covid-19 and has suggested that those individuals take greater precautions to protect themselves. Likewise, it has also suggested that organizations anticipate the needs of such individuals. But this does NOT mean that employers are exempt from ADA requirements. Essentially, you need to make sure employees are aware of their rights, but you can’t be paternalistic (i.e., making what you think are helpful decisions on their behalf). They have to ask for accommodations; then, you have an obligation to respond accordingly – as you have always done. Here are all of the EEOC statements and rules concerning COVID-19.


3. How can we reduce risk? Here’s a state-by-state reopening guide.
Here’s the ‘CDC Decision Tree’, which provides the agency’s baseline recommendations for steps you must take for keeping your employees safe. Failing to meet these steps increases your liability. Finally, the CDC has provided a resuming business toolkit.


4. What are my FFCRA obligations? These broad changes include requiring some employers to provide paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave along with tax credits for the paid leave, and expansion of unemployment insurance.


If you want to have more detailed discussions about these compliance concerns, feel free to contact me to dig into the particulars of your specific organization.  




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