As employers are likely aware, cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19, but more commonly known simply as the “Coronavirus”) continue to spread. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to maintain that the risk to the general U.S. population presently remains low, the CDC is now stating that “[m]ore cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States,” and that “[i]t’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States.”

This assessment comes after the CDC expanded its Coronavirus travel notices to a number of additional locations. Most notably, on February 24, 2020, the CDC issued a level 3 travel notice for South Korea, recommending that individuals avoid nonessential travel to the country. This follows the issuance of a similar level 3 notice for mainland China earlier in the outbreak on January 27.

Additionally, the CDC has issued level 2 travel notices for Italy, Japan, and Iran, advising high risk travelers, such as older adults and/or those with chronic medical conditions, to practice heightened precautions while traveling or consider postponing nonessential travel all together.  A level 1 travel notice has been issued for Hong Kong, recommending that travelers follow usual sanitary precautions (e.g., hand washing, avoiding contact with those who are sick, and watching for potential Coronavirus symptoms), though at this time the CDC is not recommending that travelers cancel or postpone travel to Hong Kong. Further, the CDC is stating that “community spread” of the Coronavirus (defined as individuals being infected with the virus but not knowing exactly how or where they became infected) has been detected in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, though no official travel notices have yet been issued for these locations.

This continues to be a rapidly changing situation, and employers are strongly advised to frequently monitor the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and U.S. State Department websites for further information about the spread of the Coronavirus and its local impact. Employers should also consult the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, which we discuss in more detail here.

Further, in light of the new CDC notices, many employers are also starting to consider enacting or expanding employee travel restrictions and/or “quarantine” protocols (e.g., remote work requirements) for workers traveling from affected areas. Employers considering such measures are advised to consult with counsel, as certain considerations including anti-discrimination, wage and hour, and leave policies may be implicated. Employers may also consult our more detailed (and frequently updated) blog on Coronavirus and the Workplace: What Employers Need To Know, where we discuss a number of employment-related concerns regarding the virus, including managing employee travel, OSHA requirements, leave and accommodation considerations, and more.

Proskauer’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Response Team is focused on supporting and addressing client concerns. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for guidance on risk management measures, practical steps businesses can take and resources to help manage ongoing operations.

Photo of Evandro Gigante Evandro Gigante

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of…

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents and counsels clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, defamation and breach of contract. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force and advises clients on restrictive covenant issues, such as confidentiality, non-compete and non-solicit agreements.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment matters, Evandro has extensive experience representing clients before federal and state courts. He has tried cases in court and before arbitrators and routinely represents clients before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as state and local human rights commissions.

Photo of Guy Brenner Guy Brenner

Guy Brenner is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and leads the Firm’s Washington, D.C. Labor & Employment practice. He is head of the Government Contractor Compliance Group and is co-head of the Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Group. He has…

Guy Brenner is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and leads the Firm’s Washington, D.C. Labor & Employment practice. He is head of the Government Contractor Compliance Group and is co-head of the Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Group. He has extensive experience representing employers in both single-plaintiff and class action matters, as well as in arbitration proceedings. He also regularly assists federal government contractors with the many special employment-related compliance challenges they face.

Guy represents employers in all aspects of employment and labor litigation and counseling, with an emphasis on non-compete and trade secrets issues, medical and disability leave matters, employee/independent contractor classification issues, and the investigation and litigation of whistleblower claims. He assists employers in negotiating and drafting executive agreements and employee mobility agreements, including non-competition, non-solicit and non-disclosure agreements, and also conducts and supervises internal investigations. He also regularly advises clients on pay equity matters, including privileged pay equity analyses.

Guy advises federal government contractors and subcontractors all aspects of Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regulations and requirements, including preparing affirmative action plans, responding to desk audits, and managing on-site audits.

Photo of Laura Fant Laura Fant

As a special employment law counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-administrative leader of the Counseling, Training & Pay Equity Practice Group, Laura Fant frequently counsels on a wide variety of employment matters, including employee leave and accommodation matters involving…

As a special employment law counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-administrative leader of the Counseling, Training & Pay Equity Practice Group, Laura Fant frequently counsels on a wide variety of employment matters, including employee leave and accommodation matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and related state and local laws. She also regularly drafts and advises on implementation and enforcement of employment and separation agreements, employee handbooks and company policies, as well as provides training on topics such as discrimination and harassment in the workplace, performance management, and the accommodation of physical and mental disabilities. Laura is a frequent contributor to Proskauer’s Law and the Workplace blog.

Before joining the Firm, Laura was assistant general counsel to the City of New York’s Office of Labor Relations. Prior to that, she was law clerk to Judge Jose L. Fuentes of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, and a judicial intern to Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Photo of Nayirie K. Mehdikhani Nayirie K. Mehdikhani

Nayirie Kuyumjian is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. Nayirie represents clients in federal and state litigations, arbitrations, labor-management relations and collective bargaining, as well as, employment matters, including, class actions and employment discrimination.

Previously, Nayirie served as Assistant General…

Nayirie Kuyumjian is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. Nayirie represents clients in federal and state litigations, arbitrations, labor-management relations and collective bargaining, as well as, employment matters, including, class actions and employment discrimination.

Previously, Nayirie served as Assistant General Counsel at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations, where she represented the Mayor and City agencies in every phase of labor administrative proceedings including arbitration, improper practice matters and collective bargaining negotiations. During law school, Nayirie was a teaching assistant for the class, “Labor and Employment Law” at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, a legal extern at NIKE, Inc., and a graduate intern in Business Affairs and Development at ESPN, Inc.