Coronavirus Impact: Legal Considerations for Businesses and Individuals
by Mandy Hicks
To better understand the developing legal impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP would like to provide the following key topics that businesses and individuals should be considering:
LEGAL IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESSES:
CONTRACTS: Force majeure claims (e.g. in supply chain contracts); contract disputes and delay/termination issues in contracts; and events cancellation: Are you familiar with and understand the force majeure provisions in your contracts? Will you be able to comply with contractual time limits? How will you deal with a breach of contract? What is the process to suspend or terminate a contract?
CORPORATE: Impact on corporate transactions (e.g., M&A) and guidance for legal departments, business leaders, and boards
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY: Environmental requirements for disinfectants and other antimicrobial products under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
GOVERNMENT: Federal, state and local government use of funds (e.g., to help businesses, manufacture sanitizer); price regulation and competition controls
IMMIGRATION LAW: Restrictions on immigration and travel; visas, health screening, mandatory quarantine
INSURANCE: Insurance policies, coverage, liability and workers’ compensation insurance, funding and regulatory challenges: Have you assessed your risks to determine if your insurance coverage will protect you? Have you evaluated other insurance products including those for business interruption, supply chain loss, event cancellation, exposure liabilities, and workers compensation for job-related exposures?
LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW: Employment issues and workplace concerns, employment relations: Have you reexamined the regulatory requirements involving recruitment, hiring and termination policies and practices? Have you evaluated the impact of the potential rising cost of employee health insurance? Have you addressed employees’ concerns about personal health privacy, compensation and sick pay, paid leave, working remotely, FMLA requirements, OSHA, ADA and other anti-discrimination law limitations and workplace hygiene?
LITIGATION: Lawsuits pertaining to the handling of COVID-19 crisis, disclosures and due diligence
PRIVACY: Employee workplace protections and attendant privacy issues: Are you familiar with the regulatory requirements regarding individual privacy?
RESILIENCE & BUSINESS CONTINUITY: Contingency planning, steps to prevent coronavirus in the workplace and maintain operations (e.g., remote work), quarantines: Is your business-recovery and continuity plan up-to-date to allow your company to remain operationally resilient with stable productivity?
RESOURCES FOR INDIVIDUALS:
TRAVEL & TRANSPORTATION: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Guidance for Air Travelers
SCAMS & FRAUD:
• Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): Tips to avoid scams related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
• Federal Trade Commission (FTC): COVID-19 Scam information and taking action against companies marketing fraudulent COVID-19 treatments
HOUSING: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Guidance for public housing authorities, landlords, shelters, non-profits, grantees, and stakeholders
As we are all forced to look at the way we conduct business and live our lives through a different lens in light of this uncertain time, we want you to know that you do not have to navigate these uncharted territories alone. We are available to help protect and guide you and your business as we address these issues together. As a trusted advisor, we have counseled businesses and individuals through and out of economic uncertainty for decades. We can help prepare you and your business to decrease any negative impact that may result from this time of uncertainty.