In the News

Managing Risks and Avoiding Liability During COVID-19

Commerce

August 03, 2020

Sills Cummis’ Ted Zangari, Chair of the Outside General Counsel Multi-Disciplinary Practice, was asked by Commerce – how are you advising clients to avoid legal risks during the pandemic?  What are some best practices for businesses?

According to Mr. Zangari, “Risk avoidance stemming from the current pandemic touches virtually every aspect of a business. Existing contracts must be reviewed for the ramifications of delayed performance. Insurance policies must be analyzed and claims should be filed accordingly. Dialogue must be established with creditors, especially landlords, lenders and vendors, with the goal of preserving and stretching cash reserves wherever possible. Likewise, proactive collection efforts must be made with those customers who are responsible for significant accounts receivable. Employment issues must be addressed with regard to remote working protocols, proper implementation of furloughs and reductions in force, protection of employees, and treatment of sick employees, particularly those whose symptoms are associated with COVID-19. Finally, as businesses contemplate the resumption of “’normal’” operations at their facilities, steps must be taken to: clean and ready the physical plant; prepare for the return of the workforce, including decisions on who returns and how shifts/schedules are managed; establish new controls on access that include enforcement of safety/health checks and enhanced visitor/delivery policies; create social distancing, including adjustments to the floor plan and internal paths of travel; and increase workplace hygiene through the use of touchless devices, elimination of clutter, and more frequent and thorough cleaning regimens.”