The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. The fatality rate is higher than the seasonal flu and the ease of transmissibility could be even higher than the Spanish flu pandemic that swept the globe in 1918 — which was also the deadliest pandemic in the last century or so. But because most humans don’t understand the concept of exponential growth, many of us aren’t taking the virus very seriously. But it hasn’t even started to wreak havoc just yet.
What can you expect in the coming months if you’re a business owner?
Government assistance is coming, but probably not fast enough if you’re a small business owner on the verge of financial collapse. Sadly, there’s very little you can do to prevent this from happening. Spare the employees you can, and be prepared for the possibility of legal battles in the future when you let the rest go. Again, there’s not much you can do about it except take these fights one day at a time.
What you shouldn’t expect is that this virus will slow down so much that the government will lift all restrictions — even though that’s what President Trump has said he wants to do. Thankfully for those of us who have older family members or are at risk ourselves, local and state governments probably won’t let the president have his way. They will continue to keep local businesses closed. While many of you don’t want to hear it, these actions will save many lives.
We need to learn to live with them.
Litigation from past and present employees is probably inevitable if your business is larger in size. What kind of cases can you expect? Personal injury cases for gross negligence or lack or safety precautions taken against the virus, especially if you’re in charge of a grocery chain. You can expect medical malpractice cases for those who are in charge of healthcare organizations. You can expect unionization. The list goes on and on.
How can you prevent these cases?
Take preemptive action now. Hire a qualified legal team dependent on your needs. These lawyers can help draft a plan to mitigate the risk of lawsuits later. They will help you put into place the safety training exercises and personal protection that can be used to reduce or eliminate the risk of viral transmission at the workplace. You’ll also want to consider providing employees with paid sick leave, especially for those who are probably infected with the coronavirus.
There are plenty of other actions you can take depending on the type of business you run, but these individual actions should be discussed at length with your legal team.