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Your Business’s Response to COVID-19

03.19.2020 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Business Law

See Also: Employers’ Obligations Under the WARN Act

Planning for meeting customer expectations, employee needs, fulfilling contracted for work, continuing marketing, and otherwise maintaining the business or nonprofit organization under difficult circumstances is especially important when adverse conditions – like the ones we are now dealing with – occur.

To help, we have developed ideas to not only help our business and nonprofit organization clients, but our firm as well, address some of the practical and legal risks that might arise during the COVID-19 pandemic (all employees, and decisions regarding employees, should be treated in a consistent manner in accordance with applicable employment-related rules and requirements): 

1. Use phone conferences and online programs for meetings in place of in-person gatherings, especially those involving travel. 

2. Require employees who travel, whether for work or personal reasons, to report in advance when and where they are traveling and require they self-quarantine themselves upon their return. 

3. Direct all personnel to adhere to protective measures such as: 

  • Stay home when ill and affirm the employer’s right to send someone home who appears to be sick. 
  • Wash hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Sneeze into elbows or cover one’s mouth with a tissue and then wash hands or discard the used tissue in the trash. 
  • Avoid touching one’s mouth, nose, or eyes. 
  • Follow “social distancing” expectations such as six-foot separation from one another. 
  • Refrain from shaking hands. 

In addition…

4. Impose limits on the kinds and size of group activities personnel may attend. 

5. Make sure appropriate policies are in place for the potential expansion of employees working from home (whether with or without access to the employer’s computer system). Impose safeguards for the employer’s intellectual property and confidential information. 

6. Ensure appropriate and correct records required by Minneapolis and St. Paul’s “safe and sick” leave policies are in place, since employees may be utilizing these benefits in the coming weeks. 

7. Review and update existing business continuation plans. 

Our thoughts and best wishes are with our clients, friends, and everyone’s personnel during these difficult circumstances. Please contact us if you have any questions about this firm’s response to COVID-19 or would like to talk with one of our attorneys about any legal aspect of the current challenges we are all dealing with.

Jim Snoxell

JIM SNOXELL chairs the Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. Business Law and Nonprofit Organizations Department. He works primarily with the firm’s business and nonprofit clients by advising about business and corporate law issues. 

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