Monkeypox: Three Tips for the Workplace

It is hard to imagine another public health crisis after the rollercoaster that has been COVID-19. Nonetheless, in recent weeks, reports of Monkeypox have dominated the airwaves – with President Biden declaring the virus a public health emergency on August 4, 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that symptoms include: rashes, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, and respiratory symptoms (among others). While the details and impact of the virus are still emerging, employers are best served to have an awareness of potential approaches. Consider the following tips:

  1. Provide public health information to staff. The details and symptoms of Monkeypox and are less known and publicized when compared to COVID-19 (which has been publicized for several years). Consider sharing public health information, such as information from the CDC, with all staff. Do not target select team members to receive the information (as doing so might create potential liability).
  2. Apply – or revisit – COVID-19 protocols. Many employers implemented notification and quarantining policies at the outset of COVID. If your organization has strayed from such an approach, now is a good time to either implement or reactivate such a policy. The CDC reports that isolation is a preferred approach to addressing Monkeypox – and therefore, employers should weigh notification and isolation requirements with business needs.
  3. Follow up on concerns and document efforts. Monkeypox has taken less lives than COVID-19. However, the virus is still can be potentially life-threatening. Engage with requests surrounding time off and/or other preventative measures rather than minimizing them. While the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) has not issued guidance on Monkeypox, it is a “safe bet” to engage with any request for a reasonable accommodation for both health-related and liability-related purposes.

Feel free to reach out to me discuss your organization’s approach to Monkeypox.

Contact me at [email protected] or 703.745.1849

ABOUT THEODORA STRINGHAM

[email protected] | 703.745.1849

Theodora Stringham assists individuals, businesses, and organizations with growing successfully while minimizing liability. Focusing on real estate and personnel needs, Ms. Stringham executes sustainable plans for real estate development and employee matters. She provides comprehensive representation for everyday growth issues, including, but not limited to, re-zonings, site plan approvals, eminent domain/valuation concerns, employment discrimination, and disciplinary issues. Ms. Stringham’s scope of representation ranges from identifying potential liability and providing counseling/trainings, all the way through representation at trial.