Pandemic Transition – How to Reopen, Bring Staff Back to Work Safely – July 2020


IF YOUR business is reopening after a relaxation of shelter-in-place orders, you should proceed with caution and make sure you have safeguards in place to protect your workers, as well as customers if they are entering your premises.
Here are some recommendations from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health and other sources that can apply to any municipality anywhere in the country.

Measures to protect employees
• If someone can continue working from home, let them do so.
• Tell employees not to come to work if sick.
• If any employee tests positive for, or has symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, you should:
– Ask that they isolate at home, and
– Ask all employees who may have come in contact with that colleague to immediately self-quarantine at home.
• Check employees for symptoms or a fever before they enter. This must include a check-in concerning cough, shortness of breath or fever, and any other symptoms the employee may be experiencing.
• These checks can be done remotely or in-person upon the employee’s arrival. A temperature check should be done at the worksite, if feasible.
• Offer at no cost to your employees cloth face coverings if they are going to have contact with the public during their shift. If they are disposable, masks should be thrown away at the end of every shift. If they are reusable, they should be washed after every shift in hot water.
• Instruct employees not to touch their masks.
• Disinfect break rooms, restrooms, and common areas frequently.
• Place hand sanitizer in strategic locations.
• Allow employees to take frequent breaks to wash their hands.

Signage
Place signs at each public entrance of your facility to inform all employees and customers that they should:
• Avoid entering if they have a cough or fever.
• Maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from one another.
• Wear a mask for their own protection, as well as for the safety of others.

Controlling crowds, lines
Limit the number of customers on the premises at any one time, to allow customers and employees to easily maintain at least 6-foot distance from one another at all practicable times. Post an employee at the door to ensure the maximum number of customers in the facility is not exceeded. If people are queueing up, mark the ground outside to ensure proper social distancing.

Spacing between employees
• Require employees to work at least 6 feet apart. You may need to reorganize workspaces to ensure proper spacing.
• In jobs where workers are on their feet, mark spots on the floor where they should stand to ensure social distancing.
• Space out tables, chairs, and microwaves in break rooms.
• Another option is to use partitions made of plexiglass so workers can communicate and make eye contact.
• In addition, you may want to abandon the popular open workspace concept and revert to using cubicles, which gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as a way to increase productivity by putting barriers between office workers. Having that divider will make your staff feel safer and can offer some protection.
• Reconfigure furniture placement in offices, public seating areas, and other work areas to support physical distancing.

Cleaning and circulation
Take steps to minimize air from fans blowing from one worker directly at another. Also, consider opening windows for circulation.
Also important are:
• Disinfecting surfaces in workspaces, as well as doorknobs, buttons, and controls. Pay special attention to areas that are frequented and touched more often.
• Providing workers and customers with tissues and trash receptacles.
• Employees who are cleaning and disinfecting should wear disposable gloves.
• Cleaning surfaces using soap and water, then using a disinfectant.
• Sanitizing any other personal protective equipment such as hardhats after every shift.


Human Resources – Don’t Forget Anti-Harassment Training for Your Staff


If you have not yet started on your efforts to provide antisexual harassment training to your California employees, you need to get working on it now. Law passed last year puts the onus on most employers in the state to provide anti-sexual harassment training to their staff every two years.
Starting this year, employers with five or more workers must provide:
• At least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees, and
• At least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all non-supervisory staff.

To be compliant by Jan. 1, 2020, as per the law, these trainings need to take place in 2019. They must then be provided every two years thereafter. This new law builds on legislation that has been in place since 2005 requiring employers with 50 or more employees to provide two hours of training to managers and supervisors every two years.

Timing of training

All employees – Under the new law, ushered in by SB 1343, most California employees must undergo anti-harassment training this year and every two years thereafter.
Supervisory employees – Supervisors and managers who are already covered by the aforementioned training requirements must continue to receive at least two hours of anti-harassment training within six months of becoming a supervisor, and at least every two years thereafter.
New employees – New employees must receive at least one hour of anti-harassment training within six months of being hired, and at least every two years thereafter.
Seasonal and temporary workers – This includes any employee that is hired to work for less than six months. These workers are required to receive training within 30 calendar days after the date they were hired, or within 100 hours worked, whichever comes first. Temp workers provided by an outside employment agency must receive anti-harassment training by the temp agency.

Training guidelines

Guidelines for what training should cover for employees have yet to be released.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing is required to make available to employers on its website interactive training courses that satisfy the two-hour supervisory and one-hour nonsupervisory employee training requirements. Those materials are not scheduled to be available until “late 2019,” according to the department’s website.
The agency has on its website some materials to help employers, including a sample training kit, which you can find here.

Trainers

>nder the regulations for supervisory training, the training must be conducted by either:
• An employment law attorney, or
• A human resources or harassment prevention consultant with a minimum of two years of practical experience in sexual harassment prevention training, or
• A professor or instructor in a law school, college or university, and who teaches about employment law.

What training must cover

The training requirements for one hour of training have yet to be released. But you should use as a guide the following, which are in the California Code of Regulations:
• Definition of unlawful sexual harassment under the law.
• The types of conduct that constitute sexual harassment.
• Remedies available for sexual harassment victims in civil actions; potential employer/individual exposure/liability.
• Strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
• Supervisors’ obligation to report sexual harassment,  discrimination, and retaliation of which they become aware.
• Examples that illustrate harassment and discrimination.
• Confidentiality of the complaint process.
• How to report harassment to management.
• The employer’s obligation to conduct an effective workplace investigation of a harassment complaint, and to take remedial action.
• Training on what to do if the supervisor is accused of harassment.
• The essential elements of an anti-harassment policy, and how to utilize it if a harassment complaint is filed.

Trainers

Under the regulations for supervisory training, the training must be conducted by either:
• An employment law attorney, or
• A human resources or harassment prevention consultant with a minimum of two years of practical experience in sexual harassment prevention training, or
• A professor or instructor in a law school, college or university, and who teaches about employment law.

What training must cover

The training requirements for one hour of training have yet to be released. But you should use as a guide the following, which are in the California Code of Regulations:
• Definition of unlawful sexual harassment under the law.
• The types of conduct that constitute sexual harassment.
• Remedies available for sexual harassment victims in civil actions; potential employer/individual exposure/liability.
• Strategies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
• Supervisors’ obligation to report sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation of which they become aware.
• Examples that illustrate harassment and discrimination.
• Confidentiality of the complaint process.
• How to report harassment to management.
• The employer’s obligation to conduct an effective workplace investigation of a harassment complaint, and to take remedial action.
• Training on what to do if the supervisor is accused of harassment.
• The essential elements of an anti-harassment policy, and how to utilize it if a harassment complaint is filed.