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As the novel coronavirus (Coronavirus) continues to spread in China and around the world, employers may want to consider steps to take in addressing the Coronavirus in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published a webpage that provides workers and employers with interim guidance and resources for preventing exposure to the Coronavirus. See the OSHA 2019 Novel Coronavirus webpage.

Because few cases have been reported in the United States, the first question employers should consider is whether they have a duty to take any measures to prevent or reduce the likelihood of employee exposure to the Coronavirus. That is, do their employees have any risk of exposure? Unfortunately for employers, the short answer is: It depends. (We recognize that non-lawyers despise this answer, but in this case, it’s true!) If an employer has no basis to believe that its employees are at risk of exposure to the Coronavirus, then the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the Act), does not impose any affirmative duties on an employer to engage in abatement or prevention efforts.

Click here to read the full GT alert, “Coronavirus and the Occupational Safety and Health Act: What Employers Need to Know.”

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Photo of Adam Roseman Adam Roseman

Adam Roseman focuses his practice on federal and state labor and employment investigations, counseling and litigation arising under Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act, whistleblower retaliation under Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and restrictive covenants. Adam also has

Adam Roseman focuses his practice on federal and state labor and employment investigations, counseling and litigation arising under Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act, whistleblower retaliation under Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and restrictive covenants. Adam also has experience on white collar matters, representing clients during internal investigations and in civil and criminal government enforcement actions including the defense of qui tam/False Claims Act complaints.

Genus Heidary

Genus Heidary focuses much of her practice on environmental, health, and safety-related matters, providing both proactive compliance counseling, as well as strategic advocacy at times of enforcement litigation. She has comprehensive experience counseling clients through major industrial accidents, workplace fatalities, agency inspections, and

Genus Heidary focuses much of her practice on environmental, health, and safety-related matters, providing both proactive compliance counseling, as well as strategic advocacy at times of enforcement litigation. She has comprehensive experience counseling clients through major industrial accidents, workplace fatalities, agency inspections, and crisis management at times of potential toxic releases. Genus works with technical experts and auditors, providing compliance counseling in relation to the development and improvement of environmental, health, and safety programs. Much of this work requires her to take the lead on internal investigations to evaluate litigation risk, as well as compliance readiness. Her portfolio also includes due diligence risk assessments of commercial deal work.

With a background in public policy and years of courtroom experience as a litigator, Genus also represents clients from a broad array of industries – including manufacturing, health care, technology, energy, real estate, and financial services – in challenges to agency rule-makings, supervisory investigations, complex litigation, and class action lawsuits, as well as civil and criminal enforcement actions brought by federal and state regulatory agencies, state attorneys general, and the Department of Justice (DOJ).  Such experience has allowed her to represent clients before agencies including the Department of Labor (DOL), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Federal Reserve Board, or related state agencies.

Photo of Michael T. Taylor ‡ Michael T. Taylor ‡

Michael Taylor is Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s OSHA group. He focuses his practice exclusively on representing employers regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Chemical Safety Board (CSB) matters across the country. Over the last eighteen years, Michael

Michael Taylor is Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s OSHA group. He focuses his practice exclusively on representing employers regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Chemical Safety Board (CSB) matters across the country. Over the last eighteen years, Michael has defended scores of employers during enforcement litigation before federal OSHA, Cal-OSHA, SC-OSHA, WA-DOSH, as well as other state plan states. Many of these representations have involved a significant injury, fatality, or catastrophic event in the workplace.

Currently, Michael is providing guidance to employers regarding appropriate engineering, work practices, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment when dealing with COVID-19 in the workplace. Michael also provides OSHA compliance counseling, OSHA inspection counseling, OSHA whistleblower representation, and OSHA due diligence reviews, and CSB investigations for clients.  Michael has wide-ranging experience in the workplace safety field, including his prior public service as General Counsel to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the federal agency in charge of the trials and appeals of workplace safety and health disputes between federal OSHA and the regulated community. In 2013, EHS Today named Michael as one of the Top 50 People Who Most Influenced Environmental, Health, and Safety. A highly committed advocate, Michael’s clients can rely on him to be present and engaged regarding any workplace safety and health issue in any state across the country.

‡ Admitted in the District of Columbia. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice in Virginia limited to federal OSHA and proceedings before federal agencies.