Employers must comply with new standards

Published 6:00 am Friday, August 28, 2020

Virginia leads the nation with its current mandates laying down strict workplace standards in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak titled the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard. The Standard is applicable to most employers, and all state-owned and operated businesses and offices.

Virginia employers must comply with the Standard by August 26, 2020. Compliance requires the implementation of written policies, procedures and employee training, and these documents are not optional. The Standard makes this documentation mandatory. Failure to comply could result in fines as high as $135,000 for repeat or willful violations, depending upon the severity of the violation.

As stated by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, “Keeping Virginians safe at work is not only a critical part of stopping the spread of the virus, it’s key to our economic recovery and it’s the right thing to do.”

The Standard establishes requirements for employers to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Some of the measures include:

• Self-ranking the business with exposure categories;

• Preventive and response plans;

• Preventive measures;

• Employee training;

• Return-to-work plans; and

• Retaliation protection

To facilitate the process, General Counsel, P.C., in conjunction with Business Compliance, LLC, has developed the COVID-19 Virginia Emergency Standard Forms Generator (“VES Forms Generator”) to help Virginia employers easily and inexpensively comply with the standards. The VES Forms Generator can be accessed through: https://www.generalcounsellaw.com/ves_forms_generator/ or www.covidcomplianceplans.com.

The VES Forms Generator provides the tools and documents employers can use to comply with the Virginia COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard. Employers must implement the policies, procedures and training.