Legal Implications of COVID-19
With the ongoing global spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), Coleman & Erickson is carefully monitoring recent developments and focusing on our number one priority: the well-being of our employees, their families and our clients. We would like to update and reassure our clients that we remain committed to maintaining our high-quality legal services during this time.
We are here to assist you. We are available by email, phone and video conferencing services. At the present time, our firm has not been directly impacted by COVID-19 and our commitment to serving our clients remains strong.
The full impact that COVID-19 may have on any business is difficult to anticipate, but we are closely monitoring the situation and will maintain open lines of communication with you. We understand that you are facing unprecedented issues, uncertainty and stress. Many of you may be facing travel and business restrictions that are in direct conflict with your project obligations. Please feel free to reach out to us for any assistance or guidance that we may provide.
Organizations like Associated General Contractors (AGC) are already working with Congress to ensure the construction industry stays strong (read story here), although there are instances of construction sites being shut down.
As COVID-19 progresses, it is important to recognize and respond to the rapidly-changing landscape.
If you find you are experiencing restrictions or disruptions, communicate with your customers and clients both verbally and in writing. Let them know the impact the disruption has on your company’s services. Be sure to identify the steps you are taking to keep your projects moving forward.
Depending on how various contracts are drafted, COVID-19 may fall within a "force majeure clause." These clauses can vary and must be reviewed to determine their applicability under the circumstances.
Don’t ignore your employees - watch for impacts due to illness in your own workforce. Federal, state and local guidelines regarding layoffs, terminations, use of PTO and sick leave, unemployment and employer requirements are being reviewed, and in some cases, have already been altered.
Be sure to follow protections contained in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. Although it is prudent to alert employees and others on-site if someone has been exposed or confirmed to have COVID-19, these regulations prohibit the disclosure of the individual’s name, specific work assignment and location.
Recognize that any government direction to limit the spread of the virus may impact your business.
Just as grocery stores have experienced shortages, the supply chain you or your clients rely on may be disrupted.
Don’t forget to review your insurance policies for coverage for losses arising from COVID-19. “Business interruption” coverage may provide coverage for the current events.
Depending on the circumstances, other legal protections, such as the doctrine of “impossibility of performance," may apply.
In this rapidly changing environment, it is important to take steps along the way to ensure the well-being of your company. If you are uncertain what your company’s next steps should be, please contact us directly and we can work together on a plan for your business, including a review of your contracts and insurance policies.