Robert Chadwick Interviewed By Texas Lawyer As To COVID-19 Employment Law Issues

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

Robert Chadwick was interviewed by Texas Lawyer for its July 30, 2020 edition of "Texas Takeaways." The topic was health and safety complaints by employees to their employers in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic.

In the interview, Mr. Chadwick noted that retaliation by an employer in response to a health and safety complaint is prohibited by Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety & Health Act. Mr. Chadwick also noted the unique risks presented for Texas employers without worker's compensation insurance:

"Although claims alleging negligent exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace will be hard to prove, they are still likely to be filed ... Non-subscriber employers must understand that the manner in which they respond to a complaint may ultimately be scrutinized by a court or jury."

Mr. Chadwick also outlined the questions which employers should be asking of labor & employment law during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Under what circumstances can an employee refuse to come to work due to COVID-19? Under what circumstances can an employee not refuse to come to work due to COVID-19?

  • What is required of employers by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

  • In the wake of COVID-19, what accommodations need to be made by employers to employees with disabilities under the Americans With Disabilities Act and Texas Labor Code?

  • Does an employer have an obligation to investigate whether an employee who has a positive COVID-19 test result contracted the disease in the workplace?

  • Does an employer have an obligation to record a positive COVID-19 test of an employee on OSHA Form 300?

  • What constraints does HIPAA place on employers in communicating positive COVID-19 test results to employees?

  • What measures must be undertaken by employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace to its employees?

  • How is work-from-home compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

  • Is time spent for temperature checks and disinfecting procedures before work compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act?

  • What are an employer’s obligations as to quarantine periods for employees traveling from other countries or states?

  • Should employers be publishing a coronavirus handbook?

  • How should an employer respond to employee concerns or complaints regarding work conditions in the wake of COVID -19?

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