July 31, 2020
Authored by: Lily Kurland and Christy Phanthavong
As states across the country see spikes in COVID-19 cases, employers continue to wrestle with how to handle “high risk” employees, i.e., employees who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Guidance from a variety of agencies on the topic, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), has been published in waves, leaving many to wonder how this guidance may or may not continue to be relevant.
Below are six important areas of the law to consider when navigating this evolving landscape. As a reminder, each individual employee’s circumstances are unique, so while employers should have a consistent procedure in place for triaging high risk employees’ presence in the workplace, employers should also be prepared to develop individualized solutions based on an employee’s specific needs.