Many cities and states have issued guidance regarding face coverings, social distancing, and other safety measures for employees. When each state has different, rapidly evolving guidance, and sometimes conflicting guidance, this can quickly become confusing.  However, failure to establish policies and obtain consent can expose startups to litigation.

Startups may have questions and concerns regarding best practices for reopening and reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. To address these concerns and mitigate risk, we have compiled a number of return-to-work policies and procedures for startups to consider.

Face Coverings

  • Provide each employee with a washable, reusable mask.
  • Investigate any instances of non-compliance consistently and fairly (without violating the ADA).
  • Refrain from making assumptions about employees with known pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Avoid automatic exclusions for individuals perceived as vulnerable when creating and implementing return-to-work policies and procedures.

Symptom-Monitoring

  • Implement symptom-monitoring protocols for employees and visitors (could be anything from self-monitoring symptoms to temperature scan stations).
  • Determine what temperature threshold is required for your work site (the CDC recommends 100.4°F (38°C) but some states have a lower threshold).
  • Do not retain any employee symptom information to avoid a potential violation of the ADA’s confidential information requirements.

Cleaning Requirements

  • Establish and maintain cleaning protocols specific to the needs and nature of your business.
  • Identify high touch areas, such as door handles and light switches, and frequently clean and sanitize these areas.
  • Provide hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes in various areas throughout the workplace.
  • Review state-specific cleaning requirements and implement these procedures accordingly.

The best way to mitigate risk is to have return-to-work policies and procedures in place.  Since every startup is unique, we recommend creating a plan specifically for your employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.  If you have specific questions regarding your startup’s return-to-work plan, please reach out to your Husch Blackwell attorney or consider using our Return-to-Work Policy Generator customized to your specific business.