May 17, 2021.–A May 6 webinar by WAI’s New England Chapter featured labor attorney Katherine Witherspoon Fry, who discussed a number of legal issues stemming from Covid-19.
Fry discussed topics from the importance of a company enforcing its Covid-19 rules and allowing sales visits in a plant to use of tax credits for employee sick days and what to do about an employee who that tests positive more than once. She also responded to attendee questions, one of which would likely be of interest to any manufacturer or OEM: can a company require an employee to be vaccinated? Fry explained that while all the available vaccines are classified as for emergency authorization only, “you can mandate those for people who don’t have disabilities or religious objections.”
“I thought the presentation was extremely useful not only for wire and cable business owners, but for WAI members in management positions,” said New England Chapter President John Accorsi, who served as moderator for the webinar. "Katherine discussed a number of real-world examples of situations you want to avoid.”
Editor’s note: After the May 13th announcement by the CDC that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a face mask or stay six feet away from others in most settings, whether outdoors or indoors, Fry said in an e-mail that the news is very encouraging. and may incentivize many employees to become vaccinated. “However, if the state in which your employees are working mandates masks, don’t allow vaccinated people to unmask yet in office, at company events, or when meeting with people in public for business purposes. Continue to follow state guidance for health reasons and to demonstrate that your business isn’t negligent.”
Fry will provide more thoughts on Covid-19 and employers in the June issue of WJI.