Podcast Episode 16

Episode details

Melissa K. Peters, Special Counsel at Littler Mendelson, shares key insights into the law firm’s recent COVID-19 Return-to-Work Survey of 1,000 employers across the U.S. She discusses best practices and key strategies for employers to keep in mind as they build and implement a return-to-work plan.

  • The CDC has been the default guidance throughout this time, but businesses should also carefully follow and adhere to any regulations or orders from the state, county or city where they are located. [01:55]
  • Employers have a key concern around leave of absence entitlements. Summer brings childcare issues and this will likely impact employees who need to return. [03:41]
  • The “general duty” clause is the primary OSHA regulation employers are following. OSHA requires employers to provide a safe and healthy environment and to protect against a “serious hazard” — i.e., exposure to COVID-19. [05:25]
  • Employers should keep rigorous notes on all the measures they are taking to keep employees safe — keeping contact tracing logs, cleaning logs, and so on. They should also consider implementing a daily walkaround. High-hazard industries do “site walks,” which can be as simple as walking around the office or facility to make sure all the social distancing measures are being put in place, with an eye on potential lawsuits or liabilities. [07:17]
  • Learn more about the Littler Mendelson survey report here.

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Melissa K Peters headshot

Melissa K. Peters

Special Counsel at Littler Mendelson

With an in-depth understanding of the regulations that apply to safety and health in the workplace, Melissa K. Peters assists employers in complying with these requirements and provides counsel surrounding workplace incidents. Her primary focus is on California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) matters. Previously, while at Cal/OSHA, she regularly advised on enforcement and investigation-related matters and represented the Division in administrative appeals and third-party litigation arising from workplace fatalities. She worked closely with Cal/OSHA’s High Hazard, Research and Standards, Labor Enforcement Task Force, and Elevator Unit, and handled numerous cases involving workplace violence, heat illness and bloodborne pathogens.

About the host

Clare Morin headshot

Clare Morin

Unum Content Marketing Manager

Clare Morin is the Content Marketing Manager at Unum and a journalist who’s spent the last 20 years interviewing hundreds of thought leaders on topics ranging from wellness to culture, finance, human resources and technology. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and based in the U.S. since 2009, she brings a global outlook to the HR Trends studio.

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