Business owners want to reopen and start making some money ASAP! And they need to change the way things, everything really, used to be done. Customers and employees must feel safe.
Customer and employee safety during the phased reopening of businesses will determine whether the timing was right. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to keep both groups safe. I will not be so foolish as to offer legal advice as I’m not a lawyer. I will offer a number of issues you should think about in terms of your legal responsibilities in running a business during a pandemic.
- It is possible that you may want to or be required to check temperatures of employees and customers entering your business. Have a plan to ensure that any data collected is kept private. You also need to make sure people are able to practice social distancing while waiting to be temperature checked.
- Social distancing and possibly masks will be an element of most states’ requirements for businesses to reopen. How are you supposed to enforce these requirements? What are your risks of choosing not to serve a customer you think is not adhering to the rules?
- Workers might refuse to come back to work. What are your liabilities to that person once you’ve reopened and taken steps to keep everyone safe? OSHA has guidelines to help you understand what you can and cannot expect of your employees with respect to their concern for their safety while at work. “Good faith” and “reasonable person” are terms that will be relevant if you find yourself being sued by an employee because you fired them when they refused to return to work.
My partner chides me because he thinks I worry too much about the “what if’s.” As usual, I’m right and he’s wrong! It is important to think through risks to your business and how your actions increase or decrease them. It might be a good idea to seek legal guidance on those things which nobody really knows what to expect these days.
As I said, I’m not a lawyer but if you’d like guidance on how to recruit better salespeople, I’m your guy. Click HERE to set a time for us to talk.