This week, TraveLaw Online responds to travel agents’ questions about the workplace and the responsibilities of both the employer and the employee which have become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, travel law experts, Doug Crozier and Tim Law of Heifetz, Crozier, Law respond to a question on changes that may be required to an agency in order to ensure that social distancing between employees is maintained in the office.
Q: Most of the staff in our large travel operation use headphones, sitting at work stations that have for years been quite common. I’m guessing that those cubicles will now probably have to be changed because they result in several people sitting closer than six feet from each other. Those changes will cost money and, even if money was no object, it’s tough to make a retail purchase these days, let alone getting any new furniture delivered and installed, with the old stuff being carted away. How long do I have to do this? Can we continue to use the cubicles for the next week? Month? Six months?
A: The law — which was passed well before COVID-19 — obliges you to provide a safe and healthy workplace and to do so “now.” Having everyone in the office in the work stations closer than six feet apart would mean that you are not doing so. As changing the physical office set up is very difficult at this time, staggering office hours for the employees such that there are fewer in the office so that they are not close to one another while doing their job is one way to be compliant.
If you have a question, you can contact Crozier or Law at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with Bob Mowat at Canadian Travel Press/Baxter Media at email@example.com.
Heifetz, Crozier, Law is a Toronto law firm that has for years represented all aspects of the Canadian travel industry. The lawyers at HCL also maintain a non-travel practice, covering litigation, real estate, Wills, corporate/commercial matters, etc. To contact HCL, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.