The Ebola virus has reared its ugly head inside the U.S. and is spreading at an unknown rate due to the nature of its incubation period. While guidance is available from the CDC and other health organizations, it is not entirely clear that we know everything about how the disease may be transmitted.
The “facts” and updates change hourly, so, by the time you see this post, these will have changed again.
If the virus continues on its current path, workplaces will be significantly affected. It’s important for HR and other organizational leaders to have a plan in place for how they will handle any actual or suspected cases of Ebola in their workplace and how they will protect employees from infection.
There are several issues that workplaces need to consider for the immediate future, such as the safety of their employees; business continuity planning; legal considerations in the areas covered by FMLA, ADA, OSHA, HIPPA and Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws; and even telecommuting policies and succession planning.
As employment attorney Jonathan Segal writes in this Entrepreneur article, What Employers Need to Know About Ebola for Now, “People should not panic. But employers also don’t want to play ostrich, either.”
What plans are you making in your workplace to protect your employees and keep your business going in the event of a larger outbreak?
Q1. What kind of conversations are taking place in your workplace about the Ebola virus?
Q2. What kind of communications are you planning in your workplace regarding the Ebola virus?
Q3. Are you sharing prevention information regarding Ebola with your employees and how?
Q4. What kind of restrictions are you imposing on work-related travel due to the Ebola virus?
Q5. Do you have a policy in place for those traveling and returning from the epicenter of the Ebola virus?
Q6. Have you or will you be creating a plan or procedure for screening employees for Ebola?
Q7. How do the ADA and FMLA affect employees who have or may have Ebola or wish to care for those who do?
Q8. How do we ensure that we protect our workplaces from Ebola without violating Title VII or other workplace discrimination laws?
Q9. What business continuity issues - specific to an Ebola outbreak - should employers consider as they create or update plans/policies?