Building Philanthropy for a Better Florida

Mitigating Nonprofit Liability Risk from Workplace Reopenings in the Midst of COVID-19

May 13, 2020

In an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic – and to comply with state and local governmental stay-at-home orders – virtually all nonprofits across the country closed their offices in March and required their employees to work remotely. Now, as states, cities and counties start to reopen their economies, nonprofits are now or soon will be contemplating the reopening of their physical offices. But as they do so, nonprofits are very concerned about the health and safety of their employees as they return to the workplace.

In addition, nonprofits are considering the potential liability risks they may face from their employees in the face of a dangerous virus for which a vaccine or cure has yet to be found and may not exist or be widely available anytime soon. From the liability perspective, nonprofit employers face the possibility that their employees will contract the novel coronavirus and hold them accountable for not putting proper protections in place in the workplace.

This article briefly explores the legal standards and constructs in place to protect employees and hold employers accountable, and discusses some steps that nonprofit employers can take to help guard the health and safety of their workforce as it returns to the office and mitigate their own liability risk in connection with this return.

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