Employment (U.S. and International)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Crowell & Moring has been advising employers across the U.S. and around the globe on the unprecedented employment issues caused by the virus, including adapting business continuity plans for existing operations and designing effective re-opening strategies.

  • Compliance with Stay-at-Home Orders and “Reopening” Orders: While state and local governments have implemented stay-at-home measures and now “reopening” orders, there are significant differences in these orders and how they are implemented and enforced. Issues of concern for employers include:
    • Implementation of local orders, including definitions of essential business and essential employee and additional nuances in enforcement of the orders.
    • Implementation of remote work policies.
    • Development of “return to work” protocols to comply with state and local orders and CDC guidance.
    • Strategies for employees whose work cannot be performed remotely.
    • Temporary suspension of workforce and alternative strategies.
    • Remote work outside the country of employment, especially for foreign employees and expats on assignment who are unable to come back from travels, or wish to return to their home countries.
  • Health and Safety Measures for the Workplace: Some companies are struggling to keep their workplace open for essential workers, while others are trying to determine the timing for – and extent of – reopening. Both scenarios require developing new health and safety measures to address the effects of COVID-19. We help employers establish best practices for:
    • Precautionary measures to ensure social distancing and proper hygiene practices, including new physical barriers, staggered shifts, and reduced capacities.
    • Temperature taking and potential COVID-19 testing; document retention relating to such measures.
    • Tracking and monitoring of employee health and travel history that comply with government orders and data privacy requirements.
    • Preparation for return of foreign employees, including requirements to ensure their compliance with quarantine rules.
    • Implementation of policies in response to suspected cases of COVID-19.
  • Supply Chain Disruptions Impacting Employees: The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting existing supply chains and altering global talent management strategies in a myriad of ways. As a result, employers may need to consider:
    • Coordinated global strategies for redundancies and mass lay-offs, mutual terminations, voluntary separation programs and plant closures, including specific temporary government measures for employee retention.
    • Re-enforcement of training for local management and employees on compliance with employee handbooks, codes of conduct, and ethics policies in connection with specific supply chain restructuring.
    • Review of employee data privacy policy, notices, and consents to accommodate supply chain restructuring.
    • Travel restrictions that delay visa and work permit applications for foreign employees and expat secondments.
    • Requiring host companies to ensure compliance with quarantine orders.
  • Traditional Employment Issues: Day-to-day domestic and international employment issues now have different dimensions in light of new rules and guidelines being implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some examples include:
    • Use of vacations and paid leaves instead of temporary layoffs and furloughs.
    • Wage and hour issues for remote work and reduction in pay.
    • WARN Act issues in cases of employee layoffs or site closures.
    • Terminations not related to COVID-19 that nevertheless must be viewed in light of the pandemic.
    • Enforcement of independent contractor and contract agency agreements.
    • Payroll tax holidays and other employer/employee incentives to ease the economic impacts of the pandemic.

With more than 40 lawyers and in-depth experience navigating the employment laws throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, Crowell & Moring's Labor and Employment Group delivers business-oriented solutions based on industry-specific best practices tailored to comply with the applicable labor and employment laws.

Our group has also been active in sponsoring webinars, issuing client alerts on employment law considerations, and drafting various workplace guidelines for employers to consider. 

Current Employment COVID-19 Representative Matters:

  • Advising a semiconductor and software manufacturer on employment related options for screening employees for the coronavirus.
  • Advising a hospitality and entertainment entity as it begins a phased reopening of its hotels, restaurants, retail operations, and entertainment parks.
  • Advising and counseling a carbon manufacturer on COVID-19 HR and employment issues.
  • Advising a hospitality industry company on commercial, liability, and employee issues, including employee communications strategies and travel limitations.
  • Providing general employment advice regarding the COVID-19 crisis to a pharmaceutical laboratory.
  • Advising an international nonprofit organization on how to impose telework while the employment contracts and work regulations did not provide for such possibility.
  • Advising an app developer on the right of the employer to instruct employees and consultants about travel and event attendance outside of office hours.
  • Providing strategic advice on labor and employment matters relating to COVID-19 to an American defense contracting firm.
  • Advising mass transit systems integrator on initial employee communications and evolving work rules and policies.
  • Providing advice relating to layoffs and furlough arrangements for a European technology company.
  • Representing a global contract manufacturer on COVID-19 employment-related matters, including analysis of Massachusetts executive order restricting in-person work to “COVID-19 Essential Services” and providing advice to client regarding application to facilities in the state.
  • Advising a tech manufacturer on employment issues, including whether it is appropriate to test employees.
  • Responding to questions from a major global technology company on local government guidance in Asia related to the coronavirus outbreak in response to questions on health checks for employees and vendors entering company facilities.
  • Advising a Fortune 50 company on international issues related to managing international workforce in order to comply with the ever changing landscape of new rules and regulations implemented in connection with the global coronavirus pandemic, including review and guidance on global and in country company policies for health checks and remote working, use of annual and sick leaves, delays in hiring and cross-border secondments, data privacy, and government reporting.
  • Providing a U.S. government contractor with COVID-19 advice, including employment/OSHA requirements.
  • Counseling an operator of hospitals on state Department of Health advisory concerning admission and readmission of COVID-19 patients, on 1199 communication concerning obligation to pay wages and benefits during employee self-quarantine, on treatment of COVID-19 diagnosis as disability, and on CMS guidance directed to nursing homes concerning the treatment of positive COVID-19 residents.


Client Alerts

November 4, 2021
September 24, 2021
September 21, 2021
July 30, 2021
June 23, 2021
June 14, 2021
June 2, 2021
May 14, 2021
May 12, 2021
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March 23, 2021
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January 15, 2021
December 23, 2020
December 4, 2020
November 30, 2020
November 12, 2020
November 9, 2020
October 30, 2020
October 22, 2020
September 15, 2020
August 10, 2020
August 4, 2020
May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020
May 22, 2020
May 8, 2020
May 6, 2020
April 23, 2020
Updated April 21, 2020
April 10, 2020
April 7, 2020
April 6, 2020
April 1, 2020
April 1, 2020
March 27, 2020
March 17, 2020
March 16, 2020
March 13, 2020
March 12, 2020
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March 11, 2020
February 3, 2020
January 31, 2020