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Volume XI, Number 23


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January 20, 2021

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Best Practices for Employers' COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plans

The coronavirus outbreak has caused many employers to rethink their ability to respond to widespread pandemic affecting their employees and workplace operations. Specifically, the outbreak has caused employers to scramble to develop and adopt policies and procedures to ensure the health and safety of their workers during times of unprecedented uncertainty. Additionally, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Executive Order 2020-42 requires businesses, operations and government agencies that are continuing in-person work to adhere to social distancing practices and measures, which include developing a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan consistent with recommendations provided by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. One portion of this plan is to develop a confirmed coronavirus case procedure by which an employer can ensure prompt identification and isolation of sick employees, while maintaining a safe work environment. The below outlined case procedure generally addresses these concerns.

  1. Employees should self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.

  2. When an employee reports signs or symptoms of COVID-19, the employee should not show up to conduct in-person work and should notify their direct supervisor immediately.

  3. If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, he/she should notify the HR director (or other applicable individual) immediately.

  4. The HR director (or other applicable individual) should inquire into the following areas of the employees situation:

    • Ask about current health status.

    • Ask about emotional state.

    • Answer health insurance questions.

    • Answer other benefits related questions.

    • Ask about other resources or assistance employer can provide.

    • Ask for information about when and where the employee had been in the past several days and for a list of other personnel with whom he/she has had contact.

  5. Employer should notify all relevant personnel, including employees, customers, vendors, etc., with whom the diagnosed employee has come in close contact. Employer should request all personnel who have been in close contact with the employee self-quarantine for 14 days.

  6. Employer should notify all employees of the fact that an employee (who shall remain anonymous) has tested positive for COVID-19. This message shall include the following:

    • Reminder to all employees of CDC and local health department testing guidelines.

    • Reminder to all employees of policies and procedures that have been put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19.

    • Acknowledgement of the emotional impact this news and all COVID-19 news is having on members of employer's organization, and encourage employees to contact their supervisors with any questions or concerns.

  7. Employer should arrange for a thorough cleaning of the areas of employer's facilities that the employee with a confirmed case inhabited. Such cleaning should follow all applicable CDC guidelines and cleaning standards.

© 2020 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 107



About this Author

Luis E. Avila, Labor Employment Attorney, Varnum Law, Immigration Issues Lawyer, Grand Rapids

Luis focuses his practice on labor, employment and immigration issues. Luis has a wide range of experience in traditional labor matters, including grievances, arbitrations, collective bargaining negotiations, union drives, and matters in front of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). Luis has counseled employers on a number of workplace matters, including effective employee handbooks and policies, disciplinary and dispute resolution procedures, discrimination, disability accommodation, wage-hour matters, family medical leave, and...

Eric R. Post, Retail Manufacturing Lawyer, Varnum, Corporate & business attorney

Eric is a business and corporate attorney who advises startups, private and family-owned businesses, and multinational companies in the automotive, manufacturing, technology, retail and health care industries. His practice is focused on domestic and international mergers, stock and asset acquisitions, joint ventures, business entity formation, export and import compliance, international trade and a wide variety of general business matters, including commercial contracts, regulatory compliance, strategic and operational issues, and general corporate governance. Eric also advises his...

Ethan Beswick Business Attorney Varnum Law Firm

Ethan Beswick is an associate attorney with a business and corporate service practice and additional experience in tax, real estate and aircraft matters. He provides general business and transactional work and has experience in mergers and acquisitions, business transactions, financing, contracts, and day-to-day business issues.

Ethan also works regularly with business tax, international tax, and other tax related issues, and assists clients with real estate sales and acquisitions, commercial leasing matters, and real estate financing transactions.

 An instrument-rated...