A Helpful Guide On How to Prepare For the Various Legal Issues and Anticipated Employment Difficulties Arising From Covid-19
Currently employers, large and small, are faced with unprecedent financial difficulties. While some large companies may be positioned to weather the storm of managing the risks of varied legal complication, most businesses, especially smaller businesses, are without the financial resources as well as without the know-how to handle the extensive covid-19 challenges. The difficult risk management questions, many of which pose a Catch-22, that may lead legal issues include, among other things:
- Whether a business should remain operational, if such is a business that is permitted to do so;
- Whether continued operations are possible with employees working from home;
- Whether continuing operations at a physical premise places employees at risk of illness;
- Whether employees can legally be laid-off temporarily.
Of course, this is just a very small sample of the questions currently faced by business in the context of need to consider employee concerns.
Many businesses are deemed essential services and are permitted to continue operations. For those businesses, continuing operations during the pandemic, protecting employees (as well as suppliers and customers) is of utmost importance yet often quite logistically challenging; and accordingly, employers should carefully consider whether providing a reasonably safe workplace is possible or practical. Employers failing to provide a safe workplace may be subject to liability for health issues, fines for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, among other things. Employers unable to limit the risk of exposing employees to customers, suppliers, and other employees, by social distancing, sterilizing of shared spaces, and other techniques may be wise to suspend operations and reduce services to those deliverable via telecommunications.
Work When Possible From Home
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