October 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 291

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October 18, 2021

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October 15, 2021

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COVID-19 Designated as an Airborne Infectious Disease under New York State’s HERO Act

On Monday, September 6, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Commissioner of Health has designated COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health” under the New York State HERO Act. As we previously reported, the HERO Act requires all employers in New York to implement certain safety standards and adopt a prevention plan to protect against the spread of airborne infectious diseases in the workplace. Now that COVID-19 has received such a designation, employers across the state must now “promptly” take certain steps to activate their plans and ensure compliance.

According to the Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard, once such as designation is made, each employer must:

  1. Immediately review the worksite’s exposure prevention plan and update the plan, if necessary, to ensure that it incorporates current information, guidance, and mandatory requirements;

  2. Finalize and promptly activate the worksite exposure prevention plan;

  3. Provide a verbal review of the plan; and

  4. Provide each employee with a copy of the exposure prevention plan, post a copy of the plan in a visible and prominent location at each worksite, and ensure that a copy is accessible to employees during all shifts.

While the designation remains in effect, each employer shall ensure that the plan is followed by:

  1. Assigning enforcement responsibilities to one or more supervisory employees;

  2. Monitoring and maintaining exposure controls; and

  3. Regularly checking for updated information from the New York State Department of Health and CDC, and updating the plan as necessary.

We are closely monitoring for developments from the State and will provide updates as they become available.

© 2021 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 250
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About this Author

Evandro Gigante Labor and Employment Lawyer Proskauer Rose Law FIrm
Partner

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of sexual harassment, race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force, employee relations issues and other sensitive employment matters.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment claims,...

212.969.3132
Harris M Mufson, Class/Collective Action Attorney, Proskauer
Senior Counsel

Harris Mufson is a senior associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration and Whistleblowing & Retaliation Groups.

Adept at counseling clients at every turn of the litigation process, Harris represents employers in a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, entertainment, sports and legal, with respect to a wide range of labor and employment law matters. These include compensation disputes, employment discrimination and retaliation, whistleblowing,...

212-969-3794
Laura M. Fant, Labor & Employment Attorney, Proskauer Law Firm
Associate

Laura M. Fant is an Associate in the Labor & Employment Department, resident in the New York office. She is a member of the Accessibility and Accommodations Practice Group, and frequently counsels on matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state public accommodation law, as well as disability accommodation in the workplace. She has experience conducting accessibility audits and providing ADA and accessibility training for clients in a variety of sectors, including retail, sports, and not-for-profit. Her practice also focuses on wage and hour...

212-969-3631
Alex Downie  New York  Labor & Employment Law
Law Clerk

Alex Downie is a law clerk in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group. He previously worked as a summer associate at Proskauer and as an intern at the Department of Justice.

Alex earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as the executive editor of the Virginia Law & Business Review. He also volunteered for the school’s employment law clinic, where he assisted with a variety of employment-related matters ranging from employment discrimination to wage and hour disputes...

212-969-3848
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