Limited Return to Work Option for Certain Non-Customer Facing Minnesota Businesses on April 27, 2020

April 23, 2020

Today, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-40, allowing non-critical industrial, manufacturing, and office-based businesses to re-open on April 27, 2020, subject to the following conditions:

  1.      Employees who can work from home must still do so.
  2.      Before opening, the business must prepare a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that follows CDC and MDH guidelines and meets OSHA standards. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has prepared a template and checklist that businesses may use to guide these efforts.  The template and checklist are available here.  The plan must be signed and certified by senior management and kept in the employer’s records.  The plan must be given to all workers and posted at all business locations. 
  3.      Employees must be trained regarding how to comply with the plan in easy-to-understand ways that are appropriate to the literacy level and languages of the workers.  The training records must be maintained and available for inspection on request by state agencies. 
  4.      Employees must be supervised to ensure that workers are following the precautions required by the employer’s plan.
  5.      Follow the safety protocols in Executive Order 20-40, including heath screenings of employees to screen out symptomatic employees. 

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has put out guidance about businesses that are eligible to return to operation on April 27 and resources for doing so here

The EEOC has issued guidance for employers that addresses the onboarding of workers as businesses re-open, including:

  • Employers who are hiring may screen applicants for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Employers may take an applicants temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam.
  • Employers may withdraw a job offer when it needs an applicant to start immediately but the individual has COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Pandemic circumstances are relevant to whether a reasonable accommodation request can be denied because it poses an undue hardship.
  • Employers may screen employees returning to work for COVID-19, but must act consistently with the ADA. Employers will be acting consistently with the ADA so long as any screening implemented is consistent with advice from the CDC or other public health authorities and records are maintained confidentially and separate from other personnel records.

The full EEOC guidance can be found here

If we can be helpful to you in understanding Executive Order 20-40 or the preparation of return-to-work plans, please reach out to Arthur Chapman’s COVID-19 task force