COVID-19 Resources for Lawyers
Featured Guest
Kelli Fuqua

Kelli Fuqua is an associate attorney at Littler Mendelson in Austin, Texas. She advises and defends clients in a...

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Rocky Dhir

Rocky Dhir’s dual interest in innovation and the law prompted him to establish Atlas Legal Research, LP in 2000....

Episode Notes

COVID-19 has created numerous complications for employers, leaving many unsure about how to best comply with their legal obligations to employees, especially when ADA considerations are at play. State Bar of Texas podcast host Rocky Dhir welcomes Kelli Fuqua to discuss employment law and the ADA in the context of the pandemic. Kelli offers practical guidance for employers on how to ensure compliance and get creative with employee accommodations.

Kelli Fuqua is an associate attorney at Littler Mendelson in Austin, Texas.

Transcript

State Bar of Texas Podcast

Keeping Employees Safe at Work — ADA Considerations in the Age of COVID

10/15/2020

 

[Music]

 

Intro: Welcome to the State Bar of Texas podcast. Your monthly source for conversations and curated content to improve your law practice. With your host, Rocky Dhir.

 

[Music]

 

Rocky Dhir: Hi, welcome to the State Bar of Texas podcast. October is always Halloween month, ghosts, goblins, ghouls, costumes and trick-or-treating. We now find ourselves in October in the year of our Lord 2020. Forget just Halloween. Most of us have been donning masks for seven months now. I mean, seriously, did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine a time when you could legit walk into a bank with a mask on and not get arrested? Yeah, me neither, crazy. So, this year’s Halloween presents most parents with a big decision. Stay home on Halloween or let the kids venture out and go trick-or-treating. Employers face the dilemma of their own. Keep employees home or start bringing people back into the office. As lawyers, we know that that decision entails legal challenges. One of those challenges involves properly navigating the Americans with Disabilities Act also known as the ADA. Wait, the ADA shouldn’t returning to work and battling COVID be the same for all employees? Are there really ADA considerations that play? If so, how? These are not rhetorical questions. If you have any doubts, just ask Kelli Fuqua & Associate in the Austin office of Littler Mendelson. Kelli practices employment law in state and federal courts and in alternative dispute resolution settings and she’s been kind enough to share her insights on the ADA and COVID-19 in the October 2020 issue of the Texas Bar Journal. Kelly has co-authored an article alongside Natalee Marion and fellow Littler colleague, Allison Williams. The title of the article, Navigating the ADA in the Time of COVID. Be on the lookout for it, but we wanted to take this opportunity to get some additional insight straight from the source. Yes, that’s right. Kelli Fuqua is graciously joined our conversation today. Kelli, welcome.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Hi, Rocky, I am so happy to be here.

 

Rocky Dhir: Absolutely. You’re in beautiful Austin and I’m in beautiful DFW. Is Austin kind of getting back to normal again or is it still subdued?

 

Kelli Fuqua: I would say that Austin was never really subdued during this whole pandemic unfortunately. But yes, I do notice more people are out and about going out to restaurants. I know that a lot of people are looking forward to the bars reopening. So, half capacity inside.

 

Rocky Dhir: When we say the bar is we mean actual drinking establishments, not the local bar associations.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Correct. I think the local bar associations. Yeah, they’ve been fully functional this whole time. (00:02:47).

 

Rocky Dhir: Just function as normal. Yes, exactly. So, now before we dive into the ADA, I wanted to point out something to the listeners. You are at least according to my intel, you’re a tried-and-true longhorn because you went to UT undergrad and UT law school.

 

Kelli Fuqua: I did. I paid a lot of money to go to school there for seven years. So, I believe the burnt orange.

 

Rocky Dhir: I think that makes you what they call an official fan girl. If I’m not mistaken.

 

Kelli Fuqua: I will accept that title.

 

Rocky Dhir: Okay. Good. Now, what ignited your interest in employment law? What kind of spark that?

 

Kelli Fuqua: So, when I was going to law school, I think there’s this idea that everyone has some sort of passion or they know what they want to do. I didn’t really and then I started taking employment law classes in law school and I was involved in a clinic in law school for worker’s rights and it became really clear to me that employment law is really interesting because it’s one of the most prevalent topics in everyday people’s lives as well, right? Like most people have had jobs in the past or will in the future and so employment law affects everyone. So, that makes really interesting. It’s also really interesting because it’s constantly evolving, right? I mean, we do that firsthand with the pandemic. Employment law was one of the areas of the law that we were hit but we were hit because we had an influx of questions and employers needed to know what do I do? How do I navigate furloughs and what’s the warn act? And all of that. So, it’s constantly evolving which something that was important to me when I was choosing a career. I never wanted to get bored and I always wanted to be learning and I am doing that for sure in my current job.

 

Rocky Dhir: Now, let’s just talk basics before we get into the real heart of your article and employment law issues in the pandemic. For those that maybe don’t practice employment law or for those who are non-lawyers that are listening in, can you give us a broad overview of what is the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act?

 

Kelli Fuqua: Of course. Yeah. I think there’s a tendency for when we talk about the ADA or any types of laws, we use legalese, but in its essence, the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, it was signed into law relatively recently in 1990, the year I was born and then it was amended —

 

(00:05:06)

 

Rocky Dhir: Oh, don’t go there. No, good Lord. That hurts.

 

Kelli Fuqua: It seems so new, right? Some people don’t realize that. It was amended in 2008 to include a lot of the provisions that we really talk about today, but essentially the job of the ADA is to prohibit employers, privates employers, state and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities and applying for jobs, hiring decisions, firing decisions, training decisions. So, it’s prevents discrimination against people with disabilities in any part of the employment process essentially.

 

Rocky Dhir: Now, talk to us about what a reasonable accommodation means because in your article, I saw that the term coming up and lawyers will know what it means, but let’s just kind of go over that real quick to make sure we’re all talking about the same thing.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Of course, like I said, we like to make things really complicated in the law and good things really – it’s going to call definitions. So, reasonable accommodation is essentially any change to the application process, the hiring process, the job that somebody is doing or the way somebody’s doing their job or their work environment and it’s something that allows a person with a disability who is qualified for their job to perform the essential functions of that job and to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Again, those are all very technical legal definition. So, being qualified for your job and performing the essential functions, et cetera, et cetera. But it’s essentially anything that you an employer can give to an employee to make sure that that employee can perform the essential functions of their job.

 

Rocky Dhir: Despite whatever disabilities they might present with, I suppose, right?

 

Kelli Fuqua: Exactly. Yes.

 

Rocky Dhir: Now, there’s also an ADAA a or the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act. Now, does that have any bearing on this whole COVID situation as well or are we primarily concerned with the ADA itself?

 

Kelli Fuqua: We are primarily concerned with the ADA that sort of subsumes everything that we’re talking about is how I would phrase the issue.

 

Rocky Dhir: Okay. So, ADA is like this all-encompassing term that covers the ADAA as well. Okay. See, I ask the technical employment question for all the employment laundered out there. See, I knew what the ADAA was. Now, in your view and in your experience, are their disabilities where an employee might have a legit – let’s say a legitimate reason to say, “I don’t want to wear a mask because I’ve got a disability.” I mean, I can see that issue coming up or people having that question.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Absolutely, yeah. Yes, yes. And I think that that’s something that — so tracking back a little bit as we talked about this pandemic presents a whole new ball game of questions specifically related to the ADA in the EEOC, which is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, they’re the federal agency in charge of really implementing and making sure that the ADA is followed. They were like, “well, everyone’s going to have a lot of questions, people are having a lot of questions, people are submitting a lot of questions,” and they issued really comprehensive guidance that is amazing that talks about all of these issues that people were wondering and one of the issues is what if I have an employee that shows up and they say they can’t wear a mask because of a disability that they have for example, and in that case, the employer has the right and should start engaging in what is called the interactive process to determine if that person does have a disability and that can include requesting medical information, a doctor’s note for example, and then figuring out what accommodation to give that person. So, is the accommodation of not wearing a mask at all. Is that reasonable? I don’t know. You have to figure it out in the context of what type of company you are. So, for example, if this is an employee at hospital that has a COVID wing, it’s probably not going to be reasonable, you’re not going to want that person walking around without a mask, right? So, then you engage in what’s called the interactive process, which again is a fancy legal word that can just be distilled into figuring out what accommodation you can give that person that would help that person that would allow them to perform the essential functions of their job. But also, is related — like helps fulfill your business necessities, too at the same time.

 

Rocky Dhir: To those of us who maybe don’t have a recognized disability. It sounds like such a simple thing, right? You return to work, you check temperatures, you ask people do you have the following symptoms, do you have a sore throat and just going to go to the laundry list, but for employees with recognized disabilities, what might their unique struggles be when it comes to returning to work?

 

(00:10:02)

 

Kelli Fuqua: It goes back to the question about wearing a mask, right? That’s one of the most common things is wearing a mask or what type of PPE people with disabilities that might be triggered by that sort of stuff. That’s a big question. I think you’re talking about physical disabilities, right? Like you can see them but also you have to consider mental illness and whether or not those are disabilities and how somebody with debilitating anxiety, figuring out if that’s a disability and how you accommodate those people whether or not they’re returning to work or continuing to work from home, which could be an accommodation of some sort. So, I feel like it really runs the spectrum of wearing a mask, too. I need to work at home because I have severe debilitating anxiety and I can’t enter the workplace and accomplish my job every day for you.

 

Rocky Dhir: Now, when you talk about mental illness or even certain physical illnesses, I can see there being a question that employers might raise about does this employee really have this illness or trying to get — I’m trying to use this as an opportunity to get an accommodation that otherwise would not be available to them. So, is there advice you can give employers about how to get to the bottom of what is a legitimate disability and what might not be?

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, it’s going to be the same basic inquiry and engaging in the interactive process to figure out whether or not this is a disability, right? So, that’s requesting medical documentation if needed. So, if you say to this employee, “well, could you please provide a doctor’s note that describes your condition and then determine whether or not that condition meets the definition of disability” and then if it does, sitting down with that employee or having a Zoom call to figure out what sort of accommodation they want, right? And so, if that’s an accommodation that works for you, that’s awesome. You’re like, “great, I’ll give you this accommodation. I’d be happy to let you work from home if that’s going to help you accomplish your job.” But if it’s something outlandish and way expensive if it poses an undue hardship which I’m bringing that legalese back in.

 

Rocky Dhir: For sure. Inter ilia, yes.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Right. Yeah. Nunc pro tunc.

 

Rocky Dhir: Oh, you’re throwing down now. Okay. Bring my Latin dictionary.

 

Kelli Fuqua: You just engage in the interactive process and that’s the one thing that’s stayed the same. You figured out what accommodation they want. Does that accommodation work? Great, give it to them. Does it not offer different solutions? If on one of those solutions works for the employee, perfect, then give them that accommodation.

 

Rocky Dhir: You mentioned a couple of times about maybe getting a doctor’s note.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Sure.

 

Rocky Dhir: Now, let’s say – again, I’m just trying to think through this if I’m an employer in that situation. Let’s say I don’t necessarily think that the employee went to a legit doctor, right? They went to a doctor who’s willing to write whatever just to help their patient out. Do I have the right under the ADA to kind of say, “look, I want to get an independent medical examination. I want you to go to a doctor of my choosing and get me a note” or does the employee get to choose their own and do I just kind of have to take it at face value?

 

Kelli Fuqua: My understanding and answer to your question is that the ADA does not permit you to request — I guess it would be a second opinion sort of in this situation unless the doctor’s note that you receive has insufficient information on its face to really substantiate that employee’s allegations like, “I’ve heard of this doctor because it he has crazy billboards or crazy ads, I think he’s a quack.” So, I’m going to request a second opinion. You need to have a base looking at this doctor’s note to figure out — you have to say, “this doesn’t give me enough information to determine that this is a disability. I’m going to need a second opinion.”

 

Rocky Dhir:  So, it’s got to be prima facie?

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yes, sure. That’s perfect. Yeah.

 

Rocky Dhir: This because I don’t know what nunc pro tunc is doesn’t mean I don’t know prima facie.

 

Kelli Fuqua: I don’t either.

 

Rocky Dhir: Yeah. I look that up every single time with nunc pro tunc. Who came up with this? But now, let’s talk about things like COVID testing.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Sure. Yeah.

 

Rocky Dhir: It’s not uncommon to go places – or for employers to say, “we want to test you to make sure you’re not bringing the virus in,” are there issues – I mean, to most people, that would seem like a no brainer, you just go test people, but –

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of times employees think that’s a good benefit, too. It’s pretty cool to go and say, “well, my employers giving me free COVID testing,” why not take advantage of that, but –

 

Rocky Dhir: Until they stick the swab up your nose and pull it around for 15 seconds then you realize it’s not so cool anymore.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah, you have a migraine for five days. I think that’s your brain maybe. So, the EEOC has said that in this situation because of all the guidance we have from the CDC, we know this is a bad thing, right? So, you can administer COVID testing to your employees. You cannot and this is one thing that the EEOC was really stressing back when the question was pose, you cannot require antibody testing because it’s so questionable, its sketchy, people don’t really know how effective it is.

 

(00:15:09)

 

So, don’t do antibody testing. You can require that from your employees and under the ADA and the guidance at the EEOC has given but you can administer COVID testing. You should make sure — one caveat to that is you should make sure whatever test you are using has been approved by the CDC like it meets all of the standards that COVID testing should meet you shouldn’t go borrow your friends –

 

Rocky Dhir: Don’t give them a field sobriety test. Okay. Got you.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Right. Your friend, John said that he’s developing a cool test in his basement. Don’t use that one. Get an approved test and then you’re good to go but don’t use an antibody test either.

 

Rocky Dhir: Maybe you can answer this, but does anybody actually used the John from the basement test?

 

Kelli Fuqua: I don’t know that. In my experience, I have not heard that so that’s good for me. But I wouldn’t be surprised, weird things are happening this year.

 

Rocky Dhir: No, no. I mean, look, as I get older, I realized there are no limits to human genius or human stupidity.

 

Kelli Fuqua: I like that.

 

Rocky Dhir: So, we talked about certain types of reasonable accommodations, but do you have any concrete examples, I mean, without revealing anything attorney-client privilege, but are there other examples of reasonable accommodations that have come up and that employers have been able to implement that it’s been helpful.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah, of course and again, I’m harking back to the EEOC guidance because they came out really early on and gave really comprehensive advice and that’s being put into practice for me firsthand. So, some of the things that come to mind — our working can be an accommodation for some people so part of the job requires somebody to be present if somebody can do their work from home and still accomplish the essential functions that could be considered an accommodation in this context. But also, you’re getting into more practical accommodation for people who do need to show up such as cutting the plexiglass barriers around people. So, it’s sort of like a plexiglass cubicle at your desk instead. That’s something that happens, getting different kinds of PPE. So, if that’s like providing face shields, for example, instead of cotton masks or something like that. That’s an option. I remember one of the interesting ones at the EEOC put in their guidance. I think had to do with changing traffic patterns. So, I guess in high volume office spaces with a bunch of desks or something like that like making sure people are all walking one direction and then exiting a different direction so that you’re not passing face-to-face, I think is the solution there.

 

Rocky Dhir: It’s one-way hallways. Okay.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Right. Yeah. So, I mean, I think the whole idea here is to get creative, figure out what practical solutions you can implement to assuage people’s fears or accommodate them if it’s an actual disability.

 

Rocky Dhir: Build an underpass under the front desk.

 

Kelli Fuqua: That would be great. Right.

 

Rocky Dhir: Yes. It would. I want to see that one. But one thing that your article talked about was a combinations in the remote working context. Now, you just talk about remote working as an accommodation.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah.

 

Rocky Dhir: But are there situations where an employer might need to give somebody an accommodation while they’re remote working?

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yes. So, for example, if somebody — so before we all started working from home in March many months ago, if you had an employee, who you’ve had given maybe special software or something like that that allowed them to perform their job at their desk in a way that they needed to accommodate their disability. Then that person might not have that same software at their home set up if they even have a home set up. So, maybe you need to get them that for their teleworking set up. So, that’s something – so, it’s really figuring out what accommodations you had going for your employees in the physical office space and whether or not those can be easily transition to a work from home space. A lot of people already have a work from home space that fully satisfies their needs, but you should make sure that if they don’t to provide whatever they need to accomplish the essential functions of their job.

 

Rocky Dhir: Now, this might be a bit of a sticky question, but let’s just say that – let’s say that you’re remote working somebody has a work from home space, but they’re not used to using it for eight to ten hours a day, it’s a kitchen table and so it turns out that for their situation, they need a standing desk or they need some kind of ergonomic chair, is that on the employer to provide under the ADA or is that something that since it’s at home, it now falls to the employee.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Well, I think the key question there is whether you are requiring the person to work from home if you are, if your business place is shut down and that person has to be working from home to accomplish their job, then yes, you should engage in the interactive process and if it’s feasible, if you all decide that providing a standing desk is a reasonable accommodation that it does not pose an undue hardship, yeah, get on the standing desk, you want that person to be — I think there’s an idea that like no employers want to provide any accommodations, which is totally not true. Most employers, they do, they want to figure out how they can make their employees most productive because you’re helping the company, right?

 

(00:20:21)

 

Rocky Dhir: Well sure.

 

Kelli Fuqua: So, yeah, if that’s something they need, figure that out. But if you have an inkling, like you said that they’re just working from their kitchen island because they don’t want to set up another space or something like that like that’s part of the interactive process, engaging, figuring out what the situation is, how you can help them if it’s a disability, what can you do to accommodate it.

 

Rocky Dhir: Well, I guess what’s interesting to me is that before there was remote working those kind of an exception to the rule and now it’s becoming the rule. And so, I kind of wonder out loud, at what point does the home office become an extension of the main office, the purpose of things like workers’ comp or workplace harassment or what — all these other employment law issues that arise, does the home now — and to what extent — how do you demarcate between the time of the person’s at home and when the person is working from home?

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah, and I think one of the biggest — you mentioned some issues but I think the most interesting area of employment law that will be impacted if this is a permanent change in the way that we have our offices setup is waging our issues. That’s been a hot topic like if you have hourly employees, how do you know when they’re actually stopping work? And how are you documenting over time and all of that stuff? So, yeah, it’s going to — like I said, employment laws always changing and it’s — if this is a permanent situation, which I think you’re right, it might be then we’re going to have a lot of these issues to deal with going forward.

 

Rocky Dhir: Or does remote working kind of become a benefit.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Hopefully, yeah.

 

Rocky Dhir: So, in some cases, we’re saying, “well, now you have to work from home because we have no choice,” but then there may come a point at which you say, “well, working from home is a benefit” and then at what point does that same framework apply because you’re doing this to favor the employee but now there’s issues arising from that benefit. So, I don’t know if you’re anticipating that issue or if it’s — if I’m just totally nunc pro tunc on this because I still don’t know nunc pro tunc means.

 

Kelli Fuqua: We’re just assigning a meaning to that phrase. I think that’s totally right. I mean, the grass is always greener, right? So, if we all start working from home for ten years, I’m sure there will be people in ten years who are like, “man, I really wish there’s a cool office to go into every day.” Especially extroverts like me like, “I miss the office and being around my co-workers.” I don’t think you’re creating an issue. I think there are going to be a lot of issues moving forward with figuring out teleworking under the ADA and otherwise.

 

Rocky Dhir: Let’s shift gears slightly and talk about the nightmare scenario. Everybody is in the office and turns out we’ve got COVID positive employee.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah.

 

Rocky Dhir: Now, most employers I think would and probably should at least let the other employees know that there’s COVID positive person and here’s what happened. Talk to us if you would about the confidentiality issues arising there, especially with regards to the COVID positive employee.

 

Kelli Fuqua: So, under the ADA, you have to keep employee’s medical information confidential first of all, and also you have to store it apart from their personnel file so you can’t keep Betty’s medical information in the same manila folder that you have her employment application and her disciplinary file for example. So, that’s the two overarching themes here. If you do get a COVID positive employee in the workspace, yes, you should obviously take the right measures to inform people who may have been exposed. But the big caveat there is that you do not ever reveal somebody’s personal identifying information. You don’t tell people the person’s name. You don’t say, “well, I’m not going to tell you the name, but you had lunch with this person on September 5 and that’s how I know that you may have been exposed.” Like people can put you into together eventually, especially in smaller workplaces, like sometimes it’s inevitable that people are going to figure out who the exposed person is. But yeah, don’t ever give away somebody’s name or enough information that would really out someone without people even having to do any sort of mental gymnastics to get there themselves and if you get that information, written copy definitely put it in a confidential place and that’s another issue that arises in teleworking because if you have these supervisors getting confidential medical information about people that have been exposed to COVID or have been diagnosed positive from COVID, like how do supervisors store confidential medical information in their house when they have a spouse and five kids running around like that’s a real practical problem. You have to figure out where do people store this information, you have to make sure if they can store it the same way that they would in the office that they’re doing that.

 

(00:25:06)

 

Rocky Dhir: So, don’t put in the glove box in your car.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah. And don’t put it on your fridge with your kids artwork or anything like that. So, you remember it later.

 

Rocky Dhir: Let’s talk for a second about mental health because you alluded to this earlier. What are some of the mental health concerns that the pandemic is bringing on that you’ve been kind of encountering in your work?

 

Kelli Fuqua: I think the big issue is just how much havoc this pandemic wreaked on people’s mental state in general whether that be triggering some past trauma you’ve experienced or anxiety related to just navigating the world right now or anxiety related to am I going to get laid off, you know, it could be so many different things and I think that in the pandemic people who might have had anxiety before or had been managed in the certain way before, it’s exacerbated now and so figuring out for those employees who I’ve mentioned it before like have it’s affecting their ability to do their job figuring out if that’s a disability. And if you can accommodate it, getting the doctor’s note if you need it, whatever, figuring out what those people need to help them perform the essential functions of their job. I think it’s top of mind for a lot of employers right now and a lot of employers are providing even extra benefits like counseling et cetera, which can come in handy for people whose anxiety does rise to level of disability and just people who have anxiety in general. So, that’s what we’re seeing a lot of right now.

 

Rocky Dhir: Is that a typical type of accommodation you’re seeing, it’s counseling services sponsored by the employer?

 

Kelli Fuqua: Sure. Well, I think that that can be an accommodation if that’s what you and the employee agree on and you’re like, “okay, counseling would help me right now that would enable me to perform the essential functions of my job and also some–”

 

Rocky Dhir: Schedule breaks and saying, “hey, take some time off.”

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah. exactly. Yeah, if they need leave or something like that or if they need to shorten their schedule, if maybe the anxiety is triggered by having to go into a workplace where being physically present in the office is required now, maybe you figure out a way to let that employee telework if it alleviates the anxiety or allows them to perform their job. Maybe that’s an option. Again, flexibility is key and engaging and just having an open conversation. “How can I help you? Help me.”

 

Rocky Dhir: Right. Let’s kind of think a little bit long term now. Now, your article focuses on the ADA in the context of this COVID pandemic.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yes.

 

Rocky Dhir: Do you think this is kind of a one-off situation that we’re facing or what do you think we’re going to take forward in the employment law context past COVID-19. Once this is behind us, do you think this is going to change employment law and if so, how?

 

Kelli Fuqua: Absolutely. I think that one of the big changes that we will see is that employers are in acting different policies that are not temporary policies that will be in place long-term and whether that’s related to — I mean, it could be related to anything. It could be a way to an hour issue working from home teleworking policies. For example, I think that you’re going to see a lot of policy changes happening right now in reaction to the pandemic, but that will not change when the pandemic — when quarantine is over. I think that the workplace is shifting entirely and I think that — even when we get a vaccine, I’ve been talking with some of my friends, it’s going to take a while for people to feel comfortable around people like how do we interact face-to-face with our co-workers in the future? It’s going to feel weird. We are all going to be a little awkward probably and so I think that there might be heightened sensitivity is when people are returning to work eventually whenever that happens if it’s already happened for example, or if it’s happening next July. I don’t know. I think that a lot of complaints are going to be filed and employers should be prepared to handle those or not complain necessarily grievances, just be willing to work with your employees and employees be willing to voice concerns when they have them to troubleshoot all of these issues as they arise.

 

Rocky Dhir: Right. It’s like Roger sneezed in his hand and then and then touched me, that kind of stuff.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Right. Exactly. I think that people are going to be on high alert when we get back to the office. I feel like I will be because it’s strange going out in public and see people these days.

 

Rocky Dhir: Yeah. I think we’re a lot more germ aware.

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yes. Exactly.

 

Rocky Dhir: Well, Kelly this has been fascinating and thought-provoking and for anybody out there that’s ever contemplated a career and employment law. I think you’ve just shown them how very interesting and multifaceted it can be.

 

Kelli Fuqua: I hope so. Yeah, I feel that way.

 

Rocky Dhir: Absolutely. Well, we have run out of time unfortunately, but the good thing is that we can all learn a bit more about this by delving into your article in the October 2020 issue of the Texas Bar Journal. So, again, Kelli, thank you for joining us today.

 

(00:30:01)

 

Kelli Fuqua: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It was really fun.

 

Rocky Dhir: And of course, I want to thank you for tuning in and encourage you to stay safe. Make sure you follow all applicable orders for dealing with COVID-19. And please advise your clients and loved ones to do the same. The situation is changing fluidly and quickly. So, please seek out legal counsel like Kelli, if you have any questions, and if you like what you heard today, please rate and review us in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast app until next time. Remember, life’s a journey folks. I’m Rocky Dhir, signing off for now.

 

[Music]

 

Outro: If you would like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Go to texasbar.com/podcast, subscribe via Apple Podcast and RSS. Find both the State Bar of Texas and Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or download the free app from Legal Talk Network and Google Play and iTunes. The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by the State Bar of Texas, Legal Talk Network or their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders or subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult the lawyer.

 

[Music]

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Published: October 15, 2020
Podcast: State Bar of Texas Podcast
Category: Business Law , COVID-19
Podcast
State Bar of Texas Podcast
State Bar of Texas Podcast

The State Bar of Texas Podcast invites thought leaders and innovators to share their insight and knowledge on what matters to legal professionals.

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