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September 2020

Managing Coronavirus in The Workplace...Protecting Everyone!

By Ronnie Miles

Each day we are reading reports from golf courses having to close their clubhouses due to employees testing positive for the coronavirus. Do you have a plan to manage the impact it will have on your operation? Do you know the legal requirements for responding when this happens at your club?

All employees are protected under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  They may be eligible for up to 80 hours of emergency paid leave at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day, and $5,110 in the aggregate (over two weeks).

Employers are entitled to receive a refundable credit equal to the amount of the qualified sick leave wages, and eligible family leave wages (collectively “qualified leave wages”), plus allocable qualified health plan expenses.

Most states require the removal of infected employees from the job site and employer notification to local health officials. Co-workers and guests who may have come in close contact with the infected or symptomatic employee may be asked to monitor themselves for coronavirus symptoms. Based on contact tracing results, local health officials may require worksite closure until the completion of proper cleaning and disinfection. OSHA recently released guidance that provides requirements for employer reporting of infected employees.

The Restaurant Law Center of the National Restaurant Association recently released guidance to assist employers with developing a plan for responding to COVID-19 positive employees. This guidance is applicable across all golf industry work centers. This guidance, provided by CDC, OSHA, DEH and other state and federal agencies, is intended to protect the employee and employers alike.

Many states are adopting Tort Liability Reform legislation. The legislation generally states, “an individual or legal entity (a ‘person’) will not be liable for loss, damage, injury, or death (collectively referred to hereinafter as an ‘injury’) that arises from COVID-19 unless the claimant proves by clear and convincing evidence that the person caused the injury by an act or omission constituting gross negligence or willful misconduct.”  While the burden appears to be on the injured party, it is expected that courts will require businesses to demonstrate they followed established state and federal guidelines.

Also addressing this issue was Foley and Lardner LLP, in their blog post entitled “Beware of the Top 5 Employment Law Risks Due to COVID-19”, by Karan Mirrafati. He states that “while maintaining good safety practices and protocols regarding COVID-19 may not stop all potential claims, it will place the employer on the best footing to maintain a strong defense and reduce liability.”

NGCOA has published many tools and guidelines to help you reopen your golf operations and safely remain open. The information level is continuously changing and can be overwhelming and require time to digest to determine what impacts your business. NGCOA is here to help by keeping you informed on matters that require your attention to ensure your business is protected. Add our Coronavirus Center to your favorite places where you have access to the latest information on COVID-19 affecting the golf industry.

This article is not intended to serve as legal advice and is provided for general information and educational purposes only. NGCOA encourages you to consult with your legal advisor regarding any issues related to these matters. 




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