Stites & Harbison has assembled a Coronavirus Response Team which consists of a cross-disciplinary task force of attorneys and critical staff members to ensure our firm remains "On the Job" for you.
The Firm is ready and committed to upholding its 10 Imperatives of Client Service even in a pandemic. Whether attorneys and staff will need to telecommute or work from other firm offices, we are poised to support all our clients' legal needs, ensuring there is no disruption in the delivery of services.
To assist clients with quickly accessing the most up-to-date and relevant information about dealing with the coronavirus and its possible impact on business operations, Stites & Harbison has compiled the below information and links to help navigate the COVID-19 coronavirus. Feel free to add this link to your favorites bar for easier access.
It should be noted that many of these resources do not address the legal aspects of dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus. Rather, many are from a health care perspective, as well as managing resources during a pandemic. For example, several of the sites suggest NOT asking an employee for a doctor's note if the employee suspected that they may have been exposed. However, from an employer perspective, balancing the perfect storm of ADA, workers' compensation, OSHA regulations, and the Family Medical Leave Act may require communications from an overworked doctor's office.
Information provided on this webpage should not be construed as legal-specific legal advice for all situations, but rather is general legal information to begin assessing processes and plans while minimizing legal risks.
For specific legal advice, please contact any of the Firm's attorneys for assistance.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Federal) - On March 13, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). However, technical corrections in the House related to the two sections affecting employee leave rights, the Emergency Family Medical leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, resulted in major revisions and delayed the presentation of the bill to the Senate. The Senate is "expected" to vote on the Bill on March 18, 2020.
United States Centers for Disease Control
World Health Organization
When to Seek Help
- Do You Have a Fever: Preparing for a
Pandemic Without Violating the Americans with Disabilities
- OCR Eases HIPAA Burdens for
Telehealth during COVID-19 National Emergency
- Contracts Being Tested by
- Coronavirus and Trademarks
- Georgia: https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus
- Indiana: https://www.in.gov/isdh/28470.htm
- Kentucky: https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/pages/covid19.aspx
- Ohio: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/
- Tennessee: https://www.tn.gov/health/news.html
- Virginia: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/
Department of Labor
- https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa/pandemic - Federal Wage and Hour Guidance
- https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic - FMLA Guidance
- U.S. Department of Labor Announces New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities during COVID-19 Outbreak - https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200312-0
- Georgia - Georgia employers are required to file partial claims on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily reduce work hours or there is no work available for a short period. Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee. A guide to filing Partial Unemployment Claims for employers can be found here. Filing partial claims should result in employees receiving unemployment insurance benefit payments faster, as soon as 48 hours for claims filed electronically. If an employer files a partial claim, the affected employees are not required to register with the GDOL for employment services. Employers cannot file a partial claim until the affected employees have exhausted all paid leave benefits, and claims cannot be submitted until after the end of at least a 7 day week pay period. Claims can be filed on-line or by phone.
- Indiana – The Indiana Department of Workforce Development also provides a FAQ about unemployment benefits as a result of COVID-19. If an employer must lay off employees in Indiana due to loss of production caused by the virus, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the monetary criteria and the weekly eligibility criteria.
- Kentucky – People experiencing job loss or medical quarantine associated with COVID-19 can file and request unemployment benefits. The one week waiting period has also been waived. Kentucky is increasing the staff on the unemployment insurance call line and launching an online chat feature to accommodate those filing claims. Everything You Need to Know - Unemployment Insurance.
- Tennessee –The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has established a COVID-19 Response and Resources page to help employers and employees navigate the process and available resources. Tennessee is encouraging employers to file mass layoff claims, in lieu of requiring employees to file individual claims, to help with volume. If an employer submits a mass layoff form, affected employees do not need to file individual claims. If an employer temporarily closes or lays off employees due to COVID-19 and is unsure as to the reopen date, Tennessee instructs filers to use 16 weeks from the date of filing as the estimated date of resuming business operations. At this point in time, Tennessee is not permitting the collection of unemployment benefits for workers who "self-quarantine". Instead, workers must be affected by a layoff or have been quarantined by a doctor's order. This is more strict than the federal guidelines and may change.
- Virginia – The Virginia Employment Commission has established a page dedicated to resources for those whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19. A Q&A for unemployment claims is also provided. Virginia encourages workers who are impacted to file claims online at www.vec.virginia.gov after they have been out of work at least one full day. Workers can file due to a reduction in hours if their gross earnings are less than their weekly benefit amount. The one week waiting period has been suspended for claims beginning March 15, 2020.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/wysk_ada_rehabilitaion_act_coronavirus.cfm - Update from the EEOC on the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic including guidance About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19 – March 17, 2020
- Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with
High Deductible Health Plans and Expenses Relative to COVID-19
Small Business Relief
– Governor Kemp requested the SBA issue a
declaration to provide SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to the
State of Georgia on March 18, 2020.
- Indiana - For
Indiana businesses, the Indiana Small Business Development Center
is collecting economic impact data from every county so that
Governor Holcomb can declare an economic injury disaster.
Businesses potentially impacted by COVID-19 should fill out this form, which
will be used only to identify areas of greatest need.
For more information, visit www.isbdc.org.
- Kentucky - On March
16, 2020, Governor Beshear applied for an Economic Injury Disaster
Loan with the Small Business Administration (SBA). Once processed
and approved, qualifying small businesses and private, non-profit
organizations can apply for assistance, up to $2 million, to
alleviate economic losses related to COVID-19.
For more information, visit SBA.gov/disaster.
Contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center: 1-800-659-2955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tennessee – Governor Lee has yet to make a disaster declaration as of March 18, 2020 relating to COVID-19 that would allow businesses to access SBA funding. Will continue to monitor.
- Virginia – Governor Northam has yet to make a disaster declaration as of March 18, 2020 relating to COVID-19 that would allow businesses to access SBA funding. Will continue to monitor.
Federal Tax Information
- Forms 1040 and 1120 for calendar year taxpayers are due April 15, 2020. However, an extension of tax return filing deadlines is being discussed. While the IRS has not made an official announcement, the White House and Treasury Department have stated their intention to extend the 2019 tax year filing and payment deadlines.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.