Preventive Law for Employers
Federal Employment Law

H1N1 Flu and Employment Law Issues

The Centers for Disease Control has published a variety of H1N1 resources for employers as part of its effort to slow the spread of this pandemic flu, but employers must also be prepared to address the legal issues that may arise with employees who come down with H1N1 flu, or need to care for family members with the disease.

The federal Wage and Hour Division has just posted information on common issues when employees get the flu and its affect on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated its guidance for employers on workplace preparation strategies for the H1N1 flu. The guidance says that employers may implement infection control measures in the workplace (such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and tissue usage) without running afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The guidance also states that an employer is allowed to survey its workforce in an effort to gather personal information needed for pandemic flu preparation, and provides a sample ADA-compliant survey.

Under the OSHA “General Duty Clause,” an employer must provide a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA has a variety of resources on pandemic flu workplace preparation and preventive measures.

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Ann Kiernan is an employment lawyer who has been practicing law in New Jersey for more than 30 years. She represents only employers and management and regularly provides management training companies big and small. Employment law is constantly changing, and Ann is familiar how these changes affect employers. To keep up-to-date and learn what issues are currently affecting businesses and employers in New Jersey, read the blog.

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