Date/Time
Date(s) - February 3, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Categories


The Pivot Plan from COVID-19: What Employers and Job Seekers Need to Know About Surviving in a Digital World


  • Description


    Welcome to the Santomassimo Davis LLP webinar, where our team of highly experienced Outside General Counsel attorneys provides important information that you and your business can potentially act on. For this webinar, our topic will cover the pivot plan from COVID-19 and what employers and job seekers need to know about surviving the digital world.

    Join our host, Chris Santomassimo, in this discussion as he covers the latest topics within the potential risks a workplace may now undertake due to COVID-19. Joining Chris will be Susan Kleiner and Eric Drew. We hope this discussion is insightful and helpful for you and your business. If you would like to check out more of our webinars, you can find upcoming events here, as well as on our YouTube channel. Or contact us directly with any questions, comments, or concerns!


  • Agenda


    Agenda

    1. Introduction to OGC Solutions
    2. Flexibility and Documentation
    3. Vaccines
    4. Remote Workers: Employer Perspective
    5. Remote Workers: Employee Perspective
    6. Enforcing Restrictive Covenants
    7. Your RTW Plan
    8. Issues for Workers in Transition


  • Transcript



    Click here to expand this section

    Chris Santomassimo 0:03
    Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome today, today’s webinar, the pivot plan from COVID-19 what employers and job seekers need to know and to survive in a digital world. I’m Chris Santomassimo, from the law firm Santomassimo Davis LLP Outside General Counsel Solutions. And with me today are my colleagues, Susan Kleiner and Erin Drew, who will join in the presentation as well. We really appreciate everybody coming to take part in the conversation today. I think the issues that we’ll talk about today, it’s fair to say impact just about every employer in the United States and perhaps beyond. Thanks to what we’re dealing with right now, which is COVID-19. What we’re hoping to do is also discuss how we’re turning the page from COVID-19. With this idea of that pivot plan, how do we get ourselves back into a productive work environment? How do we manage employees in the meantime? And then what job seekers expect? What should they expect in the marketplace as they move from an in-transition status back to being employed or starting businesses, etc? A couple of housekeeping items. First, I’d invite everyone who has any questions or comments, to post those in the q&a. That’s the zoom q&a, we’ll answer as many as we can, during the course of the presentation. Some of the questions you might have actually might be part of our material. So we’ll, you know, sort of getting through the materials and hopefully, answer the questions in the process. If there are questions that we either don’t have time for today or are a little bit fact-specific, very specific to your companies. What we’ll do is reach out to you after the program to set up a time to speak about those and answer again, you know, continue to dialogue after the program and answer as many questions as we can. Secondly, we’d invite you to give us a call or send us an email after the presentation to raise any issues that you’ve thought of after the program. We’re happy to answer as many questions as we can and provide you with as many services as we can free of charge, just because you were nice enough to participate in the program today. And, and also, we want to help as many folks as we can get through these difficult times. So again, feel free to reach out. And then lastly, you may get a call from somebody on our team, just inviting you to have one of those conversations. So feel free to use that as a resource to set up a time slot that works for your calendars. So just the agenda for today we’re going to talk just a little bit about our firm. And the reason why I want to do that is just to give you the context from which these issues come. Because many of the topics that we’re covering today really are sort of ripped from the headlines of our law practice. And our role as the outside General Counsel for companies. We want to talk about flexibility and documentation as a strategy, vaccines remote employees from both the employer and the employee perspective, enforcing restrictive covenants, your return to work plan. And then lastly, specific issues for workers that are in transition. So our outside General Counsel solution is really an offering in which we make our law firm, a virtual law department for mid-cap companies, what we find is mid-cap companies that are not large enough to have their own internal General Counsel find themselves in a place where they’re reluctant to use attorneys because of high hourly rates. And they wish they had the dedicated services of an attorney acting as a general counsel managing their legal and regulatory affairs. So what we do is make our firm available on a fractional basis to provide that service for mid-cap companies. One of the ways that we make our services available to folks is through a fixed fee, which again replicates what it’s like to have a captive law department in your company. That fixed fee also enables us to get a little bit closer to the business to really participate in management meetings and strategic discussions and makes our you know, are the law of law practice and legal services, you know, much more business-friendly because they really help executives, solve legal problems, prevent them in the first place. And again, enable us to give you business-friendly advice. So as I said, in the context of these outside General Counsel engagements, we run across lots of issues in the employment area. In fact, we spend a pretty significant amount of our practice helping executives through employment issues. So the issues that we’ve included in the slides today really come from a lot of the advice that we’ve given clients over the last year or so. So where do we start from in this whole dilemma that we find ourselves in?

    We’re just, we’re just faced with a lot of challenges as everyone knows, not only is the virus a problem in and of itself but trying to understand the unclear state executive orders that have been issued in many, many states, figuring out how those executive orders square with what we’re hearing from the CDC, from OSHA, etc. So we’ve got the Fed saying some things in the state executive order saying things that appear to be conflicting. How do we reconcile those things? So hopefully, we’re going to answer some of those questions. But the conflicts are difficult to get through sometimes, and the issues are very complex. So the place that we start is to tell business leaders, flexibility is the place you have to be being as flexible with your employees as you can. Just being prepared to pivot when you have to understand that the playing field is going to change on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis, I think you just have to take a breath and be as flexible as you can to manage and balance your business needs with the needs of employees. And many of our employees find themselves in difficult situations personally, where they’ve got, maybe they’ve got people in their family that are in transition, maybe they’re working from home themselves. And they may have children that are trying to learn on a remote basis from school, they’ve got a lot, a lot of stuff going on crammed in cramped quarters in many cases. So you have to understand that there’s a lot of stresses on both sides of the table. So to be as flexible as you can as a place that’s going to enable you to balance all these needs in a much more friendly way. And then to understand a lot of the issues that we’re talking about today, when I talk about flexibility, I don’t just mean allowing people to work from home because I think that goes far deeper than that. What we what we’ve come to know is that, in order to balance our lives, quite often, we work at different times from when we worked in an office, maybe you’ve got employees that are trying to put in time early in the morning or late at night so that they can use portions of the day to manage their family issues. That’s part of the flexibility equation. It requires executives like the folks on the phone to think outside the box a little bit to throw away some of the preconceived notions about how people are supposed to be productive, or when they’re going to be productive. And just again, give them a platform to contribute to the organization, but do it at times, and at a pace that might be slightly different from how he did it in the office. I also think it’s important to be flexible because I would expect there to be an uptick in union organizing campaigns for those. So for those folks that don’t have a union presence in their workplace, you should be on the lookout for unions that are trying to organize dissatisfied workers. So the more on the other side of the equation, if you can keep your people happy, they’re less likely to pay attention to union organizing campaigns and keep your workplaces union-free.

    In addition, so in addition to being flexible, I think it’s really important for us to be able to document the decisions that we make as we pivot and being able to explain why we made them later. What we’re going to talk about later in the discussion is a concern about whistleblowers and folks that feel like they’re retaliated against in the workplace, folks that are raising claims and litigation. Many of those folks have been subject to layoffs or their work environments have changed in some way. So we would expect them we’re already seeing an uptick in litigation related to employment, and folks that have been terminated or laid off as a result of COVID-19. So what we want to be able to do is document why we made the decisions we made in terms of sending people to a telework environment or deciding who would be laid off or who is subject to a plant closure. Documenting those decisions is really important so that you can explain later in the context of litigation that you did not have discriminatory intent when you made those decisions. Also, when individual employees are requesting accommodations, either because of a fear of COVID, or because they physically need certain accommodations, going through your normal process of documenting the decisions that you make, as you respond to those requests is very important, again, to be able to explain the decisions that you made, and justify them and make sure that they’re consistent with the law. Now be careful, the notes and records that you create in this area are usually not going to be privileged. So if there is litigation, you should expect that the documentation you create is going to is going to be produced to an adverse party. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create the records because I think the value of creating those records far exceeds the concern about producing them in litigation. And just be careful about your reopening plans. And other there’s folks from different places in the country on the call today. I know we’ve got folks in North Carolina, for example, that are represented so that the rules in North Carolina are going to be different in many cases of Pennsylvania and New York and New Jersey and California. So be careful to know what your state’s requirements are to decide whether you can open in the first place and if you do, what measures you need to take in the workplace to keep people safe, and we’re going to go over those requirements in just a minute. The hottest issue I think the in the legal press in the employment area is the COVID vaccine, and that is employer employer-sponsored programs to get people vaccinated either efforts to get people vaccinated or programs to require that they be vaccinated. So this is an example of how the rules have changed in response to COVID. Before COVID-19, the idea of requiring vaccination would be considered a medical exam under the ADA, in some cases, but thanks to any EEOC update in December, the EEOC determined that that the COVID-19 vaccine is not a medical examination, that would require a disability analysis in terms of whether it’s some whether somebody is subject to it. But again, one of the biggest issues is do you require your employees to get a vaccine to get the COVID vaccine? And what do you do if they object to it? Just by way of background, this is probably one of the most polarized issues. I think in the last few months, this idea of whether the vaccine is safe. How was it developed the fact that was developed so quickly as cost some alarm. But in addition to some of the fears around the vaccine and how was approved by the FDA, there’s a lot of political overtones on this issue. So I think you need as an employer, you need to keep those things in mind as you make your decision about do I require my employees to get it and why? And what do I do if they object? So just know that there’s a lot of emotion attached to this issue? As I said a moment ago, the EEOC said in December that it’s not a medical exam, in and of itself. But keep in mind, though, that if you do ask your employees to provide medical information, as in terms of pre-screening questions, that you may create a situation in which there would be a concern about a medical exam because you’re asking people to disclose information about their medical conditions.

    The first decision, I think that you make the first part of the analysis about whether you require the vaccine in your workforce, is whether there’s a connection between the getting of the vaccine and some work-related requirement. So we see this happen pretty frequently, where health care providers and first responders in many jurisdictions are required by their employers to get vaccinated for the flu. Because there’s a direct connection between minimizing the transmission of the flu in the healthcare environment, for example. So as an employer, when it comes to COVID-19, you need to decide is there a job requirement? And can I justify the connection between the job requirements and getting the vaccine? I think when you once you get outside first responders in a healthcare environment, just my own opinion if you’ve been able to operate successfully, during this whole pandemic, without too many interruptions, I think it’s going to be a little bit difficult to make that direct connection between the job and the need for the vaccine. So I would just be cautious about whether you’re going to mandate this for your workforces. We are starting to see this though, even in largely administrative environments, we’ve seen law firms now that are requiring their attorneys and their other staff to get vaccinated before they return to the office. Again, those folks have been able to work pretty successfully in a remote situation. So the firm’s that decided that the safety or the need for safety coming from the vaccine outweighs any inconvenience to the employees for getting it. So what we’re telling clients is Be very careful about mandating it. In fact, if they’re, if you’re on the fence about it, you may start with a program where you’re suggesting, or you’re highly recommending to your employees that they get vaccinated as soon as they’re able, under the state regulations. Alright. But you got to be if you’re going to mandate it, if you finally if you decide you’re going to you need to provide for religious exemptions, and also physical limitations that would prevent some of your employees from getting vaccinated. So those need to be part of your program. And you have to and you have to be ready to evaluate those requests for exemptions as they come in. Also, take a look at your collective bargaining agreements to see if there’s any kind of requirements related to unionizing employees. And then is the question is arisen about whether there’s some employer liability for vaccines requiring a vaccine. I think that’s an unsettled issue, quite frankly, and whether it’s going to be covered or whether any injuries that would stem from a mandatory vaccination program and whether they’re covered by worker’s comp as an unsettled issue. So we’ve got a couple of question marks around those issues.

    Now discussing some issues related to remote workers, I’d like to introduce my partner, Susan Kleiner.

    Susan Kleiner 15:08
    Hello, everyone, thank you for joining us here today. So in speaking about remote workers, you know, back in March of last year, who would have thought you know, that we would still be here in these unprecedented times, and still talking about remote workers. Interestingly, I would say, you know, probably the majority of my clients at the start of the pandemic didn’t have a remote work policy on the books. And I think that that’s probably pretty typical, at least in this area, maybe somewhat different out in other areas. So if you don’t have a remote work policy, you should get one, you should create a written policy. And you know, that policy, you know, as with other policies and handbooks say that it can be amended or eliminated from time to time. Even when you have a policy, though, you have to keep in mind that, you know, we need to be flexible, just like what Chris was saying before. And you know, that policy may also provide some information about, you know, what we do with regard to home office expenses. The remote policy can also be really important, and we’re going to talk about this momentarily concerning having employees make sure that they mark all of their time. One of the things that Chris was talking about before with documentation is you know, the importance of documenting transitions. Similarly, it’s really important that you document, you know, how you do what you do, although you can’t expect those documents to be privileged. In other words, we have to make sure that we act in an equitable manner, but we have to be prepared to explain why we’ve done what we’ve done, and treat similar people similarly. I think it’s also really important to make sure that even though we are operating remotely, you know, we’re continuing to enforce our workplace policies, we’re continuing to do reviews and performance management, you know, and that we’ve taken care of everything. But, you know, if you didn’t have a remote policy before, I think that COVID has demonstrated to us how important it is to get that done. Because you can switch to the next slide. One of the issues that we have seen, and And granted, this is all you know, real-time that we are encountering some issues with the Fair Labor Standards Act with regard to overtime pay. So this was clarified somewhat by the USD department of labor in August of 2020. But the employer has to pay for work that the employer knows or has constructive knowledge was performed. So that’s an issue of actual versus constructive knowledge. And that’s one really good reason to make sure that employees are logging their time. Because if they haven’t logged in, then how can you Now we also have to make sure that there are policies in place regarding overtime and off-work hours, and you have to enforce it. For example, if you know that you have an employee that is working way more hours than they’re supposed to, you need to enforce your policies and say to the employee, you know, even though we’re working remotely, it’s important for you to take care of yourself, it’s important to stick to your stated work times, etc. And again, you have to remind employees that it’s important to take meal and rest breaks, at least for those nonexempt employees. So it’s really important, you know, that the employer makes sure that, you know, it stays abreast of what’s happening with the employees that the employees aren’t working all the time. Because if the employer has knowledge of that, and doesn’t pay the overtime, the employer subjects himself or herself to potential liability.

    So one of the issues with remote work that we’re also seeing, you know, come to the forefront is when we’re having employees work from home, you know, are they working in a safe manner? And interestingly, you know, there is questions about, you know, is there a duty to provide a safe workplace, and does that apply to remote workers and the truth there is yes like OSHA would say that there is a duty to make sure that remote workers are working safely. So, what can the employer do? Well, the employer can make sure that there are periodic reviews of the employee’s work area to make sure that they’re minimized. Seeing all hazards, and the employer should also be flexible when the employer can be flexible, maybe there’s something that the employer can offer the employee to make it a safer workplace, you know, the entire time that we have to be so aware of the need for flexibility. You so many of us are operating at home with trying to manage childcare and homes can schooling, and the employer has to be flexible with those arrangements and be flexible with the workplace itself. Another question, another important issue is that the employer must continue, you know, while it’s monitoring, you know, what the employee is doing the hours worked, the employer must also continue to offer training programs, such as anti-harassment programs, or even like an OSHA workplace type survey, to make sure that employees are acting in a safe manner. Next slide. From the employee’s view, remote working is not easy. I’m sure that many of us could chime in here on the difficulties of working remotely. And, you know, we’ll see more and more studies come out, you know, that are coming out now, regarding the effect of remote work on employees. I took a look. And I found at least two new studies that were talking about the psychological impact of teleworking versus office-based work. And at least the studies that I was looking at said that the results are not good. There’s a negative emotional impact of teleworking, particularly in terms of loneliness, irritability, worrying guilts. Teleworkers experience more mental health symptoms of stress than office workers and slightly more physical health symptoms. I think for a lot of people that comes as somewhat of a surprise, I think that people often used to think that remote working, you know, was a great reduction in stress because we’re reducing some time constraints in terms of commuting or, you know, issues in the office. And I think exactly the opposite is being studied now that, you know, working from home, you know, even though we’re giving up the commutes, you know, employees are still reporting issues. There have been some other studies to also saying that, in addition to this, you know, increased stress, we’re now seeing and questioning whether or not you know, our workers working as productively remotely. So all of these issues, you know, that an employee is facing, with isolation, technology, time management, and distractions, make everything pretty difficult. There’s more bad news, too. And we’re still seeing whether you know what the effects of this are, but there’s going to question increasingly regarding taxation for employees. Now, income taxes vary by state. The general rule for withholding state income tax is for employers to withhold income tax for the state where the work was performed. So that’s interesting now, like if we have remote if we have a workplace that’s in New York, you know, and we know that our remote workers are now elsewhere, you know, that could subject the employees to additional taxes. So again, if there are questions about this, with regard to your specific workplace, it’s really important to get on the call with us, your accountant to make sure that you’re doing things right. And obviously, this affects both the employer and the employee.

    Another question facing employers and employees regarding remote work, we saw, you know, this mass exodus from New York City, where new york city employees were leaving and going elsewhere since you can perform the remote work anywhere. Why stay in New York City? I think employers are now going to be questioning whether or not the pay scale needs to be adjusted based on not where the main workplace is, the where the employee is actually performing the work. So that’s another issue that we’ll continue to see in the future, and we’re trying to figure things out.

    Next slide.

    Of course, one of the biggest issues facing both employers and employees is privacy and privacy issues. You know, we know that with remote work, so many people are trying to juggle taking care of their children, trying to make sure that the kids are signed on to zoom, and going to school. And at the same time, they’re expected to do their work. So how is it that an employee can make sure you know that they keep all of their information safe? I know that you know, Aaron, I don’t know if you wanted to chime in a little bit on this. I know you had some thoughts on policies that employees could implement.

    Erin Drew 25:31
    Sure. Welcome, everyone. I’m Erin drew another attorney in the firm. With regard to working from home and actually even working in the office, you need to decide and look at whether or not you have a clean desk security policy. And I’m sure you’re all thinking great, yet another policy to be thinking about. But the truth of the matter is, we do need to be thinking about whether or not we have a clean desk security policy. And that would just look at how employees must leave their desk or their workstation at the end of the day. And why would we want to do this? One, it’s secure sensitive data, you know, perhaps you’re in you know, have financial data or personal data related to employees or customer data, medical information, strategy, trade secrets, there’s a number of things that you would not want to be exposed to visitors to the workplace, or even to potentially other employees, depending on what that person’s role is. A clean desk also increases productivity efficiency, people aren’t looking around. They’re not spending time looking for documents or information. At the end of the day, they put things back where they belong. So when they then need them two days later, three days later, they can find them. Less paper, you want to try to be as digital as much as possible, there’s lower cost. There are lower costs, there’s less chance of papers flying off of a deck off of a workstation, somebody else picking up a piece of paper and walking off with it. It also makes the works workspace more presentable for those who come in. And finally, ISO does have an information security standard where you can get ISO certified. And there is a frame, there’s a framework for a clean desk policy, it is part of the certification. So if you have this and you’re thinking about this at the workplace, you really also need to be thinking about what’s happening in an employee’s home. are the documents being secured, where are papers being left out overnight. You want people to be securing the paperwork, you want people to be securing the data. So just as you would have a clean desk policy in the office where you have people leave their desk clean, lock away important paperwork, you want people to do the same thing in their homes, you want them to put important paperwork, in a safe spot where a visitor, a child can’t come and grab that piece of paper and write on it and use it for homework or scratch paper for doing math. You don’t want someone you know who has come into your home, maybe you have an office space to grab a piece of paper, see it a document that has a client’s personal information. So you want your employees at home to be doing the same thing. locking the computer when stepping away. You know, we’ve all heard of things wherewith students at home with children at home working from home, could they accidentally take the Family Computer and log into it to play a game and that’s the computer that’s being used for the employee’s remote work? These are things that you need to be thinking about. Do you want your employees shredding certain documents after they use them at home? What about home printers? You know, did they leave a document on the printer? And again, never use an open Wi-Fi network? These are all things that we should all be thinking about as we are working remotely and as our employees are working remotely.

    Susan Kleiner 29:48
    Yeah. Aaron, I think it’s also I mean for sure like that’s all-important. Another important thing to add here is that you know hopefully, everyone on this call, make sure that their employees have signed confidentiality policies or it’s a part of their handbook. It probably a good time to take another look at that. And to the extent that it’s necessary to address some of these issues, to add them to your policy. Another really important thing to note, and you mentioned it, you know, somewhat there, but is to make sure that we are continually reminding our employees regarding privacy and cybersecurity threats. I mean, these hackers are getting better than ever, in terms of their phishing schemes, and ransomware. And it can hit an employee working remotely, just like you can it hit an employee in the physical workplace. So this is a good time to take a look at those policies, make sure we’re training our employees, and making sure that our data is secure. Another interesting aspect of remote work and I definitely hear this coming up with some of our clients have to do with monitoring remote employees’ activities. And I think that the rule of thumb here is, if you could monitor them, you know, in your physical location, for example, with keystroke tracking, it’s okay to also do it remotely. Again, you know, this is a new time for all of us. You know it. And I think that we need to be careful. But in general, I think courts are going to allow some monitoring, certainly okay to have time clocks, certainly okay to have keystroke tracking. It’s another question about whether or not cameras would be allowed. I think if you have a specific question about cameras, you should give us a call. Because I know that I for one would want to take a look at whether or not where the employee is working is a one-party or two-party consent state. And we’re still figuring out all of this. But in general, it is okay to monitor your employees to make sure that they’re doing work.

    Erin Drew 32:17
    Susan may follow up with a question. Yeah. With regard to the keys, stroke, track, keystroke tracking. When you’re talking about that, are you talking about that on a company-owned laptop or a company-owned device versus a family device or a personal device that is then remoting into an employer workstation? Or you know, remoting? in to the employee? employer? database?

    Susan Kleiner 32:54
    That’s a great question, Aaron, I think it’s definitely easier. It’s easier if it’s if the person is working on a company laptop, a company computer, having keystroke tracking, certainly allowable because I think at that point, you could say, listen, it was an employer-sponsored machine. And we are allowed to monitor. I think that when it is the use of a personal laptop or a family laptop, that is remoting into employer software, if it is keystroke track only during the remotes connection period, probably okay. But if it is keystroke tracking of everything, maybe not actually, probably not a good idea. And I think that most employers wouldn’t want to see that anyway, or at least I’d hope not. So, keystroke tracking is good for the company sponsor laptop, but I would be very wary of recording everything on the family machine. Next slide, please. So here’s a really interesting area. And you know, we’re waiting for litigation to catch up. Obviously, we know that you know, there have been a lot of court closures and things are happening still in courts, and there’s, you know, zoom proceedings, etc. But, you know, litigation takes a while to catch up with what’s happening in the real world. And I would say that restrictive covenants are no exception to that. So here’s the question. A restrictive covenant is where the employer has had the employee sign something that says, You know, I promise, you know, that I am not going to work for a competing entity for a certain period of time in a certain geographic area, and the question that’s coming up is whether or not courts will hold restrictive covenants enforceable given the covid 19 pandemic. I think one of the distinctions to make here is that all of these rules concerning restrictive covenants are dealt with on a state-specific basis. For example, some states are much more likely to enforce restrictive covenants than others, for example, you know, are you going to be able to get a restrictive covenant enforced in California?

    No.

    What about Massachusetts? Well, there’s a difference in Massachusetts with exempt and nonexempt employees. And then the District of Columbia had a new law passed on January 1, concerning restrictive covenants. So again, this is an area that if you think that you have an issue, or you may have an issue, give us a call, we’re happy to look at the state-specific roles. In general, restrictive covenants are held enforceable to the extent that they are reasonable in time, in geographic scope. And in scope. Generally, if an employer has a restrictive covenant, and has laid off its workforce, because of lack of work for COVID-19, I believe it is less likely that a judge would enforce a restrictive covenant. And that is because most courts will agree that your employee has got to eat. And while we want to keep things fair unless there’s a very long severance period, you know, and if there’s been like this major layoff, it is less likely that a judge would hold a restrictive covenant enforceable. So those are like the non-compete nonsolicitation covenants. With regard to confidentiality, which is also considered sometimes a restrictive covenant. courts will definitely continue to hold those enforceable, regardless of COVID-19. I just want to note here, though, that the case law is certainly developing prior to this webinar, you know, I did a search nationally and found very little case law on this issue. One case from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that a non-compete wasn’t enforceable after there was a company-wide layoff. And also, in the Northern District of New York, the attack case, also found that it was unenforceable. So here judges are, you know, trying to be equitable, trying to make sure that, you know, employees can pay their bills. And if an employer has terminated an employee, because of COVID-19, it is less likely, in my opinion, that, you know, overly restrictive covenants will be held enforceable. Next slide.

    And at this point, I’m going to turn it over to my colleague Aaron Drew, and she can talk a little bit about the return to work plans.

    Erin Drew 38:21
    Allow, okay, so, you know, with regard to the return to work plan, you’re going to hear me state something that you’ve heard both Susan and Chris, say repeatedly, you need to know your state and local requirements. I understand that we have people from New York and DC and Connecticut, as well as New Jersey and perhaps New York on the call. So you need to really know what your state and local requirements are. You can obviously look to the CDC and OSHA for safety and hygiene practices. And we encourage you to do so the OSHA has sent out new guidance. It’s really just an update. There aren’t many new things on here. They updated their guidance on January 29th. And what you see is the typical things that we’ve been dealing with all along, maintaining a social distance, good hygiene practices, making the good hygiene practices, easy for employees by having hand sanitizer, and soap and sinks available for them. But what the seed what the OSHA does say is that you should actually sit down and create a plan and have it be a return to work plan that looks at your protocol with regard to COVID-19. And so you should have a workplace coordinator, somebody who’s going to be responsible For the COVID-19 issues on the employer’s behalf. And while you’re creating this plan you do want to engage, with some key employees, as well as if you are in a union situation, obviously a union representative just to get their input as to how to craft a return to work plan. Again, as I said this, this return to work plan, or rather the OSHA guidance, doesn’t really have many new things. But what it does have that is new, is it states that an employer should consider providing the vaccine at no cost to the employees. Now, they’re not mandating employers to do this. But they’re encouraging employers to look at whether or not they will be doing this. And they want you to consider making it at no cost to all eligible employees, and also provide information and training on the benefits and Safety Safety of vaccinations. Either does this open up the door to employer-sponsored vaccinations for other viruses? No, I don’t believe it does. And, as I stated earlier, it is not mandated. It is just guidance at this point. They also state that you cannot treat workers who are vaccinated differently from those who are not. That’s pretty obvious, you know, you don’t want to treat one population differently than the other. However, this means that those workers who have received the vaccination still must wear face-covering, they still must social distance. Right now, this vaccine is not, it’s not an immunity card to do whatever you would like to do. They’re encouraging people still not to travel not to get on a plane even though you’ve got the vaccination. So this is all still new and developing. So you cannot treat those who have been vaccinated differently from those who have not been vaccinated. I do think that this guidance is possibly a precursor to what the new administration is going to require employers to do. The Biden administration has asked OSHA to look at the return-to-work guidelines to look at the vaccines and come up with more than just guidelines come up with.