The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to create disruption around the globe. Pandemics like this raise obvious questions about our health and wellbeing, and present significant business and economic challenges. The costs can be huge: the impacts to the global supply chain and international trade, travel, internal resources, and possibly your employees’ ability to work, all threaten business continuity. Boards of directors, management, and institution leadership face serious issues that are rapidly evolving. You are likely asking questions or being required to make swift decisions about issues like these.
Labor and Employment
- Do your employment leave policies need to be reviewed or changed to accommodate what may happen if employees get sick?
- If your employees are exposed to COVID-19, how will you manage individual or office-wide quarantines or closures, and how and under what circumstances will employees be paid for time away from work?
- Will you need to review your collective bargaining agreements?
Corporate, Capital Markets, and Governance
- Will a slowdown in the economy or tightening in access to capital affect transactions planned or in play?
- How should your Board prepare for the challenges your company faces?
- Can you meet your reporting and compliance obligations during a global health emergency? Should you seek relief from the government?
- Does the pandemic have implications for your standard contract language?
- Does the economic outlook require you to think through restructuring or bankruptcy scenarios?
- Does your business disruption insurance cover this situation? Will you have other insurance recovery questions?
- If you manufacture products used to protect against COVID-19 or to treat those with the disease what liabilities will you face?
- Are you developing products to protect, diagnose, or treat COVID-19 requiring patent prosecution advice? Are there new government policies that could speed up your time to market?
- Do you have questions about enforcing or challenging current contracts – particularly supply chain or vendor agreements – due to cancellation, refusal or inability to perform, or invocation of contractual force majeure provisions or some common law equivalent?
- Do you have questions about your potential liability arising out of the spread of the coronavirus, your obligation to warn or protect others, or about possible criminal (misdemeanor) penalties for failure to report contracting the virus?
- Are you or your competitors advertising, labeling, or marketing products that purport to fend off or treat COVID-19?
- How will you protect the confidentiality of your employees while gathering the information you need to keep others safe?
- How can your company balance pre-existing environmental compliance obligations with the new on-the-ground realities COVID-19 poses for employees and environmental contractors?
- How can your company conduct required environmental sampling or compliance activities without violating “shelter in place” orders?
- How are force majeure clauses coming into play on active construction projects?
- Could there be a delay claim for supply chain disruption for the procurement of material or equipment for your current projects?
- What changes are being made to the corporate and/or site safety plan to minimize the risk of COVID-19?
- Will the COVID-19 create labor shortages or shut down the job?
- Do the required insurance policies provide any coverage for construction or supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19?
Private Clients, Trusts and Estates
- A national health emergency coupled with changes in the economy can inspire people to review their trust and estate planning – is yours in order?
Our Coronavirus Task Force will continue to publish Insights about new opportunities and ongoing challenges facing your business. Contact any of our attorneys linked below to discuss these or other issues.