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Jason Gabbard
Founder of justLaw
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How to respond if an employee tests positive for COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted life and work as we know it, to say the least. During such a difficult time, employers must ensure they are doing, at the very least, what is reasonably required to accommodate their employees and customers.

Thus an adequate response to an employee testing positive with the coronavirus is
respectfully required. Here are the steps and considerations each and every employer should contemplate amidst the coronavirus:

Step 0- Develop a Protocol

The first step is not necessarily a step, hence the zero. This step calls for a protocol that each employer should have in place now, and certainly well-ahead of any return to the office.

The protocol should include a variety of precautions that employees must follow,
including:

  1. If you start to develop COVID-19 symptoms, you should notify your
    supervisor immediately.
  2. If the employee is in the physical workplace when COVID-19 symptoms
    appear, the employee must immediately notify your supervisor and then
    subsequently be sent home.
  3. Employees should self-isolate in their home for the recommended amount of
    time.
  4. All employees should notify their employers if any of their family members
    develop COVID-19 like symptoms and thus self-isolate themselves.

Step 1- Notify other employees

If an employee develops COVID-19 symptoms, all other employees should be notified. However, confidentiality should be maintained.

Further steps, beyond the ones above, will ensure that you have handled the situation properly. Thus, employees should monitor themselves daily to discern whether they have developed any symptoms. Moreover, there should be a strong urge of employees who had direct contact with an affected employee, to quarantine and self-isolate for two weeks.

Just as important, the employer should take the time to notify all customers, vendors, and visitors of the business that came in contact with the infected employee to also self-isolate for fourteen days. Therefore, the employer should require all people who enter the business, to provide contact information so that they can be notified in the event that an employee begins to
develop symptoms. Furthermore, the employer should request all customers to reach out to the business if they start to develop symptoms, themselves. Doing so will go a long way in keeping everyone safe.

Step 2- Monitor the Workplace

Keeping the workplace safe is critical to maintaining uninterrupted business activities. Sound practice and medical advice require that all employees wear masks. In addition, all customers should only be let inside a place of business if they are wearing a mask. If not, they should be asked to put a mask on or be sent away.

In addition to the masks, the employer should require that all employees and customers maintain safe social distancing . If six feet cannot be maintained among people in the workplace, then the business should reconsider opening the business. Alternatively, the business could also limit the amount of people they permit inside the store at one time.

Step 3 – Family and Medical Leave Act

For the remainder of the year, all employers must comply with the new mandate of the FMLA. This mandate requires that all employers provide their employees with paid sick leave. Thus, all employers should be aware of this as they start to open up their business during the ongoing pandemic.

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We hope that this article finds you and families in strong health. Take these precautions and seriously consider them as you navigate your business through the pandemic. And always remember, JustLaw is here for you to aid you in all your pandemic and general needs.