On October 28th, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 192, enacting multiple new workplace requirements to keep New Jersey workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. All New Jersey employers are required to follow these new mandatory safety requirements. Any employer that fails to follow the new protocols is potentially subject to fines and even closure by the Commissioner of the Department of Health.
What Are the Requirements Under Executive Order 192?
The new order went into effect at 6 a.m. on November 5th, 2020. It includes requirements for both private and public sector workers and employers. The order mainly focuses on:
- Social distancing
- Facial masks
- Hand sanitizing
- Increased cleaning
- Daily health checks of employees
- Notice of COVID exposure
- Handling of sick employees
Per the order, all individuals are required to maintain a six feet distance from other individuals at the workplace to the maximum extent possible.
The face masks provision requires employees, visitors, and customers to wear face masks while on the workplace premises. Employees may remove their face masks when they are more than six feet apart from other individuals or in a walled office. Employers may deny entrance to any employee, visitor, customer, or other individual who is not wearing a face mask.
Employers are expected to provide employees with face masks. Additionally, employers must provide accommodations to anyone with a condition that prevents them from wearing a face mask. Supporting documentation is not required as proof of the condition, but employers are allowed to request documentation.
According to the executive order, employers must provide employees with access to proper hand sanitization materials, and they should also provide their employees with adequate breaks that allow for repeated hand washing throughout the workday. Some employees may be required to wear gloves.
Every employer must conduct routine cleaning in their building, with a special emphasis on high-touch areas. Those areas include, but are not limited to, restrooms, door handles, and handrails. All cleaning must adhere to the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Daily Health Checks
Every employer is required to conduct a daily health check of their employees before every shift. It is at the employer’s discretion what that health check consists of, but the common methods are temperature checks, health questionnaires, and symptoms checks. All health checks employers conduct must be in accordance with the CDC and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This means they can not violate any law in regard to discrimination, privacy, or disability.
Notice of COVID Exposure
If any employee tests COVID-19 positive, then an employer must promptly notify any employees possibly exposed to the virus. All privacy and EEOC laws must be followed in these communications. Additionally, the worksite must be thoroughly cleaned according to CDC guidelines after a COVID-19 exposure.
Handling Sick Employees
An employer must immediately send home any employee exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
Certain essential employees are exempt from items in Executive Order 192. For example, first responders and law enforcement employees have job functions that do not always allow compliance with the order.
Contact a New Jersey Employment Law Attorney Today
If you witness your employer not adhering to the new Executive Order 192, or if they wrongfully violate an EEOC law during a COVID-19 exposure communication, then it is highly recommended you seek counsel from a New Jersey employment law attorney. At The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C., we can help you understand your legal options and advise you on your next steps. Call us today at (856) 817-6221 to ask questions about your case and get the answers you are seeking.