News and Insights

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Written by: John A. Conley

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) encouraged employers to consider implementing telecommuting practices to reduce the risk of infection among their workforce.[1] Those employers who implement telecommuting practices should ensure they have an updated, relevant, written telecommuting agreement in place.  A strong telecommuting agreement will address:

  • Employee eligibility for telecommuting
  • Expectations for work hours
  • Equipment and cybersecurity
  • HIPAA and protected health information security (for certain healthcare-related employers)
  • Safety of the remote working location
  • Liability to third-parties
  • Tax and zoning issues
  • Other issues unique to your business

For those employees ineligible to telecommute, the CDC recommends keeping the workplace safe by encouraging employees to:

Practice good hygiene
Stop handshaking
Use other non-contact methods of greeting
Clean hands at the door and schedule regular hand washing reminders by email
Create habits and reminders to avoid touching their faces and cover coughs and sneezes
Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, and handrails regularly
Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning

Be careful with meetings and travel
Use videoconferencing for meetings when possible
When not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces
Consider adjusting or postponing large meetings or gatherings
Assess the risks of business travel

Handle food carefully
Limit food sharing
Strengthen health screening for cafeteria staff and their close contacts
Ensure cafeteria staff and their close contacts practice strict hygiene

Stay home if
They are feeling sick
They have a sick family member in their home.[2]

For more information about employee telecommuting or otherwise adapting your employment policies and practices to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact John Conley at john@milliganlawless.com.


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/workplace-school-and-home-guidance.pdf, accessed March 16, 2020.
[2] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/workplace-school-and-home-guidance.pdf, accessed March 16, 2020.