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Strafford Webinar: Updating Employee Handbook Policies Post-COVID-19: OSHA Compliance, Privacy, High-Risk Employees, Temperature Checks

Speaker: Teresa R. Tracy

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

This CLE webinar addressed the rapidly changing current employment environment and how to update employer handbooks to reflect the developing situation in the workplace. Legal restrictions and concerns at the federal, state, and local levels may affect employers’ potential liability and response to needs of social distancing, health monitoring, and privacy issues. Counsel should be clear that policies need to be updated and relayed to employees for non-discriminatory enforcement.


The current economic climate and a rapidly evolving legal environment require employers and their counsel to review and update employee handbooks. Changes, both temporary and permanent, arising from COVID-19 require policy amendments in keeping with current law, in addition to the periodic updates that employers need to complete for handbooks based on new laws and court decisions.

An updated handbook will need to address the new concerns of social distancing, health monitoring, and privacy. The ability to work from home and shifting requirements for FLMA are other issues that a handbook should reflect. Employers with long-used, out-of-date handbook provisions may incur liability. The NLRB has challenged at-will disclaimers, social media policies, ambiguous and misleading language, restrictions on employee communications, and arbitration provisions in employee handbooks. The SEC has implemented regulations that, in effect, discard certain confidentiality and nondisclosure provisions.

With a thorough understanding of the current legal status of employment laws at the state and federal level, employment counsel can help ensure that employee handbooks legally and effectively address difficult workplace issues.

Listen as our authoritative panel of employment attorneys provides legal and practical guidance for employment counsel to structure employee handbooks–including multistate and nationwide handbooks–that minimize liability risks for the employer.


  1. Recent developments impacting employee handbooks and policies
    1. CARES Act
      1. Social distancing
      2. Health monitoring
      3. Privacy concerns
      4. Work from home
    2. NLRB decisions
  2. Best practices for drafting employee handbooks
  3. Special issues for multistate employers


The panel reviewed these and other key issues:

  • What are the most common handbook provisions that are needed to comply with CARES Act or state law provisions related to COVID-19?
  • What type of handbook provisions are subject to the most NLRB scrutiny?

How can employee handbook provisions be drafted to avoid or void unintended legal liability?