Coronavirus Preparedness, Is Your Firm Ready?

By Brendan Kennedy

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As communities across the state prepare to deal with the coronavirus and the uncertainty surrounding the safety of work environments and large gatherings, the New York State Bar Association is committed to keeping its members and the legal community informed.

In the coming days and weeks ahead NYSBA will continue to serve as a resource for the legal community. We’ll have webinars and articles from experts on cyber-protection, business management and crisis communications.

This Wednesday, March 18, NYSBA will offer a webinar that will give lawyers the must-have work from home procedures they’ll need to remain productive and in compliance while working on personal computing devices. Cyber-Protect Your Firm When You Work From Home will offer common-sense tips for remote employees, include using digital workspaces and ensuring attorneys know how to use them securely, what you should require IT staff and other services providers to do to meet your needs.

For more program information and to reserve your spot click here.

During the Coronavirus – What Businesses Should Do to Prepare webinar held March 16th, Ronald J. Levine, Esq. (Herrick, Feinstein LLP) and Elizabeth E. Schlissel, Esq. (Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP), gave practical tips that firms should be taking to ensure that employees are kept informed, what to do in the event that an employee tests positive and how vital a crisis communication plan is for ensuring.

In a time when new information can appear on someone’s phone in an instant, its imperative that senior leadership gets out ahead of any rumors and potential misinformation. According to Levine, there is no such thing as overcommunicating during a crisis.

“In a crisis, you must over-communicate,” Lavine said. “It’s important to know your next steps and to not get into speculation or make predictions. Be frank and honest as possible because a loss of trust can be a disaster.”

In the event that someone tests positive at your firm, that person’s privacy is paramount. Under no circumstances should employers identify the individual that tested positive. However, if that person chooses to self-identify to their colleagues, you should allow them to do so.

Employees also have a responsibility during crises to alert senior leadership about any travel to high-risk areas including that of spouses or anyone that they live with.

Schlissel suggests that firms take an across the board approach when confronted with employees showing symptoms of coronavirus.

“The goal is to keep the workplace free of the virus, so anyone showing symptoms should be sent home,” Schlissel said. “Employers shouldn’t be diagnosing but they should be encouraging employees who are showing symptoms to stay home and not return until they’ve been symptom-free for 72 hours.”

For More Information
CDC Website
Work Securely While Working Remotely

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