Get answers to your most urgent questions about COVID-19 and its impacts to employee benefits, human resources, risk management and other issues. Our page provides articles and webinars on critical topics as well as other resources.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to protect employees that are reasonably anticipated to come into contact with blood or certain body fluids. While most employers associate exposure to bloodborne pathogens with healthcare workers only, there are a host of other employees who may be at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
The construction industry continues to face ongoing challenges related to supply chain delays and product availability due to COVID-19. Dodge Data & Analytics, a leading provider of commercial construction project data, recently reported that the construction materials cost index increased by 6% in the month of April alone, more than the average annual increase. Dodge also reported the anticipated timeline for return to normal stockpiled inventory could be as long as another 18-24 months. Historically, skyrocketing material costs and product shortages were addressed through contract contingency; in current market conditions, this method is proving inadequate to address the monthly cost increases of construction materials.
Most businesses know that Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally prohibits employment discrimination because of an employee’s disability. This means, in large part, that employers cannot broadly screen out or create arbitrary barriers for disabled workers. In addition, most companies also know that they have a duty to ensure a safe workplace for their workers and can ask disability-related questions (provided that the inquiry is job-related and consistent with business necessity) and even exclude an employee from the workplace if they have an objective belief that the employee’s condition would pose a direct threat to themselves or others.
Ransomware continues to be a high-priority cyber threat this year – maybe even more than in previous years as cybercriminals find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a boom year for ransomware attacks, mostly in terms of increased volume. According to CrowdStrike’s 2020 Global Security Attitude Survey conducted in August and September, 27% of ransomware victims paid out over the previous 12 months, averaging $1.1 million per ransom demand. Two new trends appeared in 2020 that are of particular concern for cyber experts and employers alike:
“If we get sued, you get sued!” Sounds warm and comforting, right? I bet you cannot wait to partner or contract with a company that already has litigation on its mind. Nevertheless, these types of statements are common, and once formalized by lawyers, are called “indemnification clauses.” They are often necessary but can be very broad and potentially catastrophic to your business.
Predictably, COVID-19 has made up a growing share of workers’ compensation claims, while other claims have dropped because of remote work, layoffs and shutdowns. In Minnesota, for example, the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) reported that, since Minnesota work comp laws were amended to make it easier for designated frontline employees to file a COVID-19-related claim:
Personal social media posts by your employees can have all sorts of unintended business impacts. How you respond (or don’t respond) can have both legal and practical implications. Fortunately, you have more power than you think. While social media has been the platform for any number of very positive things, it can also be terribly divisive and hurtful. Rather than seeking out opposing viewpoints, some people immerse themselves in echo chambers who think exactly the way that they do to the exclusion of others, and in such environments, it’s easy for everything to become politicized.
The civil unrest that has since quieted over the winter has the potential to flare again as the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is set to begin Monday, March 8, 2021. City leaders in Minneapolis have been urging business owners to take precautions ahead of the trial. Businesses with the proper insurance policies in effect most likely have some type of protection in place. But statistics show us that only roughly half of businesses are covered by these policies, putting themselves at significant risk, especially those businesses that are more prone to being subjected to civil unrest. Most small and medium employers (those with up to 100 employees), should have businessowner policies (“BOPs”) that cover property, liability, and business income protection when the business is closed due to damages.
In the first part of this article series, we discussed the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine on manufacturing, including the importance of a back-up plan for raw materials and investing in the right technology. The vaccine’s large-scale delivery will increase the strain on an already fragile global supply chain and the demand for specialized transportation resources, such as refrigerated air and truck cargo carriers, have the potential to cause extensive disruptions.
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