H1N1 in the workplace

Regardless of whether you call it the "swine flu" or "H1N1 virus," you must ensure your workplace is prepared to handle its economic and health consequences. The much-feared H1N1 virus not only poses a threat to the health of your employees and their loved ones, it also presents significant dangers for your business and challenges your ability to comply with various labor and employment laws.

Anticipated problems

Because the H1N1 virus is expected to keep waves of workers home, you may need to consider developing policies and procedures for ensuring absences are treated in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act and National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Perhaps more disconcerting is the possibility of sick employees coming to work and infecting co-workers. You should consider enacting policies to maintain a safe and healthy workplace consistent with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations while preventing liability under anti-discrimination laws and the NLRA.