Sunday Dec 04, 2022

Post-Pandemic Employment Litigation: Anticipating and Minimizing Legal Risks | New Jersey Law Journal –


COVID-19 brought significant workplace changes and forced many employers to make quick decisions about alternative workplace arrangements to ensure the continuity of business operations. Those decisions included the relocation of employees from workplace offices to home offices, and the adoption of measures to ensure the workplace safety of employees. As the pandemic morphs into an endemic, and employers focus on return to workplace plans, they may face a surge of employment litigation over return to workplace claims, wage-and-hour disputes, and workplace safety complaints. Up-to-date policies concerning how workplaces are reopened, which employees are recalled to the workplace, and how to continue to protect employees from exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace are essential to minimize legal risks and defend against potential litigation.

Return to Workplace Claims

Compelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers implemented remote work arrangements as a temporary solution. As employers are returning employees to their physical workplaces, some are considering permanent adoption of hybrid remote work arrangements or the elimination of remote work arrangements altogether. The reduction or elimination of remote work arrangements may spark disability- and accommodation-related claims. Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirms that employers are not required to accommodate every employee seeking a remote work arrangement or to change essential job functions to enable a remote work arrangement merely because the employer did so to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Instead, requests for remote work accommodations should be treated like any other request for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


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