Texas employers who have opted out of workers’ compensation coverage may face significantly increased workplace risks in the weeks and months ahead. All employers will face unique challenges due to the risk of workplace exposure to COVID-19. But, the potential liability from COVID-19 workplace illnesses is particularly problematic for Texas employers who have opted out of the workers’ compensation system. Specifically, Texas employers who have opted out of the workers’ compensation system will not have the benefit of workers’ compensation’s preclusive effects. They face the substantial risk that simple negligence will be enough to support employee claims arising from COVID-19 exposure. As a result, it is imperative for opt-out Texas employers to carefully review and update their workplace health and safety practices to maximize mitigation of any risk of workplace transmission of the coronavirus.
Continue Reading Texas employers who do not participate in workers’ compensation face heightened workplace liability risks as employees return from COVID-19 quarantine

Employers seeking to continue business operations while also abiding by CDC guidance and other health and safety directives to curb COVID-19 exposure have been struggling with how to adhere to the in-person document review requirements for completing a new hire’s Form I-9.

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that, in limited circumstances, it will temporarily suspend the Form I-9 physical presence requirements for employers who are implementing remote working arrangements due to COVID-19.

The suspension will last for 60 days after the notice (that is May 19, 2020), or until 3 business days after the termination of a National Emergency designation, whichever comes first.Continue Reading DHS responds to COVID-19 by allowing exceptions to Form I-9 compliance for remote new hires