The world of yesteryear, yesterweek even, is gone. U.S. businesses have entered into an unprecedented period of physical closures, supply chain disruptions, and employee quarantines. In the coming weeks, businesses will wrestle with what contractual obligations they owe and are owed, how employment policies must be rewritten, what safety measures they must implement, where security vulnerabilities arise in newfangled virtual operations, how to invoke pandemic claim coverage under general liability policies, among many, many other novel business considerations.
Some of the questions we are already fielding and issues we are addressing with corporate executives, general counsel, and small business owners include:
- Can I convert my employees to independent contractors so they bear the burden of paid leave?
- Am I an independent contractor now that I’m working remotely?
- If I closed my business before a governmental closure was issued, in order to protect employees and customers, am I still covered under my insurance policy? Or did my early closure amount to a waiver of this coverage?
- What is force majeure? Is coronavirus COVID-19 an Act of God? Is coronavirus COVID-19 a contamination?
- Am I liable for employees who get sick at my business? Am I liable for customers who get sick at my business?
- How do I prevent a data breach and/or keep from getting hacked now that all my employees are working from home?
- Because my business is in high demand due to the outbreak, can I expect all of my exempt employees to work nights and weekends to meet demand?
- What negligence standards can you expect in a pandemic?
This page will serve as an ongoing and regularly updated Business Guide to Coronavirus. We invite you to bookmark this summary of resources and ever-evolving situational analysis.