On Tuesday, August 11, the American Booksellers Association hosted a webinar, titled “Safety Moving Forward: Your COVID Game Plan,” on wage and labor requirements for bookstores during the pandemic. The webinar was recorded and is now available on Bookweb.org.
ABA welcomed guest speakers Tom Jardim, Scott Salmon, and Stephanie Steinberg for the webinar. Jardim and Salmon are experts in employment and labor law from the law firm Jardim, Meisner & Susser, P.C., and Steinberg is human resources director at Hachette Book Group.
The webinar addressed a number of questions regarding legal and human resources issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, including stores’ responsibilities as some states place COVID-19-related quarantine mandates on people entering from out-of-state.
The webinar began with a presentation from Jardim and Salmon which posed three guiding questions: (1) When can your business open back up again?; (2) Which employees do you bring back?; and (3) What type of liabilities do you face when you reopen? The presentation covered states’ reopening plans, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, the importance of formulating Infectious Disease Preparedness Response Plans, workers’ compensation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and general guidance for employees/customers.
Following the presentation, the webinar opened up for Q&A with the guest speakers. The Q&A portion provided further clarity on the reasons an employee can take paid sick or family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Specifically, employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for a full-time employee; part-time employees are eligible for the average number of hours they work over a two-week period. Further, the paid leave under the FFCRA is in addition to paid leave employees are already entitled to.
When asked for advice on finding a lawyer to help craft safety plans and leave policies, Salmon stressed, among other things, that good candidates would be lawyers who are keeping up with the ever-changing policy landscape, and, of course, are licensed to practice law in your state.
Steinberg echoed Jardim and Salmon’s presentation, noting the importance of clearly communicating your store’s policies in writing to both your staff and your customers.
Jardim and Salmon participated in ABA’s government relief webinar in April 2020. Jardim is a partner at Jardim, Meisner & Susser, P.C., where he specializes in civil litigation, employment and labor law, and governmental representation. Salmon is counsel at Jardim, Meisner & Susser, P.C., and specializes in civil litigation, employment and labor law, and governmental representation.
Steinberg was a panelist for the “Introduction to Employee Manuals Workshop” at ABA’s 15th annual Winter Institute in January 2020, where she spoke about stores’ policies and procedures, as well as employees’ legal rights and obligations. Steinberg also spoke at NAIBA’s conference in 2019.
For more information on COVID-19 and the workplace, visit:
- “How to Prepare for Your Return to the Office” (New York Times)
- OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- CDC’s Recommendations for Small Businesses
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers