Creating Safe and Welcoming Workplace Environments: What Employers Need to Know Now | Kate Bally

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Kate Bally, Director of Labor and Employment Service, Practical Law at Thomson Reuters, discusses the quickly changing legal landscape around a post-pandemic return to the office and what employers can do as they and their employees navigate this dynamic world.

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Kate Bally

Director of Labor and Employment Service, Practical Law at Thomson Reuters

Transcript

Jamie Orr [00:00:16] Hello and welcome to the latest episode of the Future of Work podcast with Allwork.Space. My name is Jamie Orr and today I am hosting Kate Bally. She is with Thomson Reuters Practical Law. Kate joined practical law firm Littler Mendelson, P.C., where she worked as an associate in the employment group. Previously, she was an associate at Pitney LLP and a law clerk to the Honorable Stephen R. Underhill. She is now the co-director of Practical Laws Labor and Employment Service. And I am super excited to have you with us from Connecticut this morning.  

Kate Bally [00:00:54] Jamie, thanks so much for having me. So thrilled to be here. I appreciate the warm welcome.  

Jamie Orr [00:00:58] Yeah. So, the main thing that we want to be discussing with Kate today is around this whole idea of returning to the office after a long set of closures both in the United States and around the world. And really what to look at from a law and labor perspective are unsafe reopening and things that employers might need to be looking out for in terms of employment liability. Employers really want to ensure they’re reopening safely without rolling out that red carpet for litigation and employees want to feel secure in going back to work. Kate is going to help us with some tips and resources around that. So, let’s go and get started.  

There’s a lot of question marks for both employers and employees about returning to the office, even if they’re not going to. That’s a big a big source of debate right now. For those that are reopening their physical office spaces, what are some of the things that that you’re seeing that employees are most concerned about?  

Kate Bally [00:02:05] Yeah, great question, Jamie. So, as you can imagine, employees are finding themselves up against so many stressful circumstances in this unprecedented season. And it’s not just the pandemic in terms of the economy. We thought we were going to see, according to the Dow Jones, a million new jobs in our April jobs report. And that, of course, did not happen. We saw more like two hundred and sixty-six thousand. We’re still recovering, and employees are reeling from layoffs and furloughs. It’s really been a stressful season economically. On top of that, we’ve got this politically charged environment. We’re still seeing lots of police use of excessive force against African Americans. We’re seeing racist attacks against Asians. We’re seeing anti-Semitic violence. So, there’s so much going on. It’s not just the pandemic, but of course, the pandemic rages on. We’re not quite done. We’re making lots of progress, of course, and that’s really encouraging. So, we’ve got this context and we’ve got people very fearful and nervous, but we’ve also got hope. And that’s what we are eager to focus on, of course, as a nation, as a planet.  

Kate Bally [00:03:09] So where are we? Well, the virus in the US has infected  thirty-three point two million people, which is just daunting. And in terms of deaths, we’re looking at almost six hundred thousand Americans having died of the coronavirus just in the United States, which is really frightening. The rolling seven-day average has come down in terms of new infections. It’s now at about twenty-eight thousand for that rolling day, seven-day daily average. But that does represent a 19 percent lower than what we had seen previously. So that’s good news. But of course, people are still very, very aware of the virus and still fearful. As you probably know, President Biden’s goal is to get us to at least one dose for all American adults, 70 percent. And we are on track. As of May 20th, we were at sixty-point five percent of Americans having had at least one dose. So, we’re on our way here in late May. So, what are employees thinking about now? Well, they’re sort of coming from this crazy environment and they’re looking ahead and they’re hoping that employers can be part of the solution to focus on rebuilding, repairing, moving forward into a post pandemic world and redefining it. So, some of the things they’re focused on, Jamie, are mask wearing from a health and safety perspective and also a political and sort of practical point of view, health and safety measures. What still matters, not just masks, but are we still doing the hand sanitizers and the cleanings and the what’s sort of the best protocol as we think about coming back into the workplace and back in to just being with one another? On the vaccine we did a Practical Law webinar on the 20th of May that was really well attended because everybody is interested in learning more about the vaccine, what it means for employees, employers and everybody else, and then all kinds of related issues, like childcare.  

Kate Bally [00:05:08] As we head into the summer, it was a little easier with the school year for many parents, and now we’ve got the complications of childcare. Here with the summer ahead of us, which is both daunting and exciting and complicated in terms of the pandemic and then transportation just kind of getting from place to place in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. So that was a long-winded way of saying there’s so many things that folks are focused on, and employers have a real opportunity to be part of looking towards the future.  

Jamie Orr [00:05:37] So, yes, with all of those different concerns, I mean, that’s a lot for employers to be thinking about in terms of how to best support their employees, considering there’s all of this  on all of our plates. So, what are some of the things that that you think that employers should be doing in order to address some of these major issues?  

Kate Bally [00:05:59] Yeah, that’s such a great question, Jamie. And there’s so many things employers can do to be part of our progress towards a post-pandemic America and world. I think first is not so much legal as just sort of human, which is to be patient and try to be a good listener with your employees. Acknowledge all this craziness we’ve been going through as a country, as a world, just acknowledge that it’s been very difficult. And for those employees that have been with you working hard to keep the lights on, say thank you and acknowledge that it’s been a tough year, I think just those gestures really mean a lot to employees who are trying to be part of the success of your enterprise. And then beyond that, think about having a really good plan. What does it mean? Are you being you staggering return? Is everybody coming back or are you going to have people coming in in certain days, remote, certain days? What does it mean? You really need to explain the plan and think it through.  

Kate Bally [00:06:54] You need to invite to the table all the folks who need to take a position on some of these things, like H.R., Legal. You’ve got IT issues to deal with. All kinds of folks need to be part of coming up with that good, informed plan, get up to speed on legal developments. Just today, the EEOC came out with guidance that I worked really hard to get through as quick as I can. But anyway, so that’s just by way of saying that things are changing so quickly. We’re seeing lots of new developments. We just learned recently that Montana has made vaccination status a protected class. Santa Clara now has a requirement that businesses inquire with respect to vaccination status. There’s lots going on. Practice law has a tracker that we’ve been maintaining since the pandemic started. It is now. I just look this morning, it’s over two hundred and fifty pages long and it’s free. So, it’s a great way for people to keep pace with these developments. It’s very difficult to do that, but we’re trying to make it easier for everybody to do exactly that. But so many different moving pieces, not just state laws and local laws you mentioned, but CDC guidelines. We talked about EEOC guidelines, OSHA guidelines, so many moving pieces and do keep abreast of that as best you can. Clear communications with your employees. So, once you’ve got that good plan, make sure people know about it. If a plan is only as good as your ability to tell folks what to do. So put that on an Internet and Internet anywhere like the website that’s internal, external, what have you, so that your folks can access it and make sure that they get regular communications from you. People are nervous coming back. We’ve been trained for so long that other people are sort of the problem because we don’t want to be part of spreading this frightening virus. And to sort of turn on a dime is going to be tough.  

Kate Bally [00:08:45] So help your employees see all the precautions that you’re taking, developed that good plan and communicate and then give an opportunity for them to ask questions. You know, they’re going to say what kinds of facilities are there for social distancing? What kinds of are you going to provide mass? So, what is the vaccination requirement as we come back into work? Good communications in ways to ask those questions and then think about those health and safety protocols that you’re going to have as you open the doors back up again for those folks coming back into the office again, people are nervous, rightly so. These are folks who’ve been not socializing and washing their vegetables like their life depends on it. I know I was one of those folks early on, so just be patient with people and let them know what you’re doing. We’ve heard from the CDC recently that transmission of the virus over services is rarer than we had worried it would be.  

Kate Bally [00:09:40] But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And it also doesn’t mean that people’s mindset has changed overnight. So, to be able to say, look, we get it, we know we’re trying to keep you healthy and safe by cleaning surfaces and providing hand sanitizer and opportunities for PPE and hand washing is still going to help folks sort of even just emotionally kind of come to terms with coming back to work. So those are some good strategies.  

Jamie Orr [00:10:06] Yeah, it seems like there’s been a lot of a lot of confusion. You know, early on, there was a lot of focus on fomite, that  surface transmission. And so, again, a. In the office industry, a big push towards the plexiglass divider and the six-foot separated office and honestly, there wasn’t as much of an emphasis on ventilation because we just didn’t know at the time. And so, with these the changing understanding of transmission, employers are definitely in a hard position in terms of where to invest their money and what they’re responsible for, for doing in terms of some of those health and safety.  

Jamie Orr [00:10:47] So are you seeing anything on the legal side around kind of best tips or best,  practices for how to how to change on those regulations quickly and what to do? Where should they be investing? Should they be investing in ventilation now? And what do they do if they spent a ton of money on Plexiglas dividers between desks?  

Kate Bally [00:11:12] Yeah, that’s a good question. You know, I can’t speak to very specific industries. I think OSHA has got some very specific guidelines, and I don’t want to say anything that runs afoul of those. But I will say that employers are reassessing kind of common understandings we’ve had throughout the pandemic and trying to reinvest in specialized filtration and allow people to take more time in the environment, lunch breaks outside, closing down cafeterias. So there has we’ve certainly seen a reassessment of what constitutes a risk. But, you know, I think people are still concerned that the science is still, you know. I think people like employees coming back into these workplaces like to see that there’s wipes available for services, especially because so many of us are using share desks. And I think even just that psychological barrier of saying, like other people were in this environment and there’s just so much misinformation, I think just being able to cater to people’s concerns, you know, you don’t have to break the bank to just put some hand sanitizing solutions out for employees to give them that sense of comfort, given that sense that things are a priority for employers as they come back to work  

Jamie Orr [00:12:23] Yeah, and with so many layers. You touched on that. There are local regulations, there’s OSHA, there’s CDC, there’s the EEOC, which governs the ADA regulations.  

Kate Bally [00:12:34] Yes. And Title Seven.  

Jamie Orr [00:12:36] And Title seven  

Jamie Orr [00:12:37] So in terms of where employers are getting their information, like where should go to first, like what is there in terms of making sure that they are in compliance and getting that best UP-TO-DATE information? Are there like two or three sources that you recommend they absolutely go to every single time?  

Kate Bally [00:12:55] Yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, the CDC has some of the most regularly maintained content and it’s also more accessible. It’s written for really everyone. Lawyers are looking at it, too, for sure. But it’s really written in a way that’s designed to be understandable for everybody. So, I would say this, when we have written about this, we’ve said you may want to consider employers providing links to CDC content because it is designed to be accessible. It’s regularly updated. I would look at the website that your state posts because these we are seeing outbreaks in different quantities, that the response at the state and local level is quite different. So, in New York, looking at those specific New York resources, making sure you understand what’s the latest about the massive requirements, are there still caps on the numbers of people in spaces that we’re starting to see that change? I think they removed the limitations on the numbers of people in restaurants in New York on May 19. So, this is all developing. So, I would say the CDC, your state and local information, and to the extent that you’re concerned in particular about employment issues, the EEOC is an important resource guidance just today, as I mentioned, and we’ll get into this some more. But the ways in which we’re seeing the vaccine develop in terms of the legal understanding is really there’s two significant accommodation issues that you need to understand.  

Kate Bally [00:14:18] And if you have objections to the vaccine and you are an employee and those are on the basis of disability and on the basis of sincerely held religious belief. So, if that’s something of interest to you and you want to understand how the law, how the guidance is being issued, how the law is being interpreted, at least so far as the agencies are concerned, making sure that you take a look at that EEOC guidance is also very helpful. It may be a little bit lawyerly, but it’s developing today, for example. So that’s another really important resource.  

Jamie Orr [00:14:47] And so you have the discussions and debates around testing and now vaccinations seem to be picking up even more and more as vaccination becomes more available to everyone and as more people are thinking about having their employees returned to the office. Yes, in regard to incorporating testing and vaccination, I want to I don’t want to use the word mandate too formally. But in terms of what should employers be looking at in terms of having their employees vaccinated or even asking or inquiring it? What kind of strategies should employers be watching out for, so are there any pitfalls that they really need to be paying attention to as they start to develop these plans?  

Kate Bally [00:15:33] Yeah, Jamie, that’s a great question. When we’ve gotten a lot and I would recommend, if you have the time, anybody wants to take a look at that. We did a full webinar on some of these issues, and they are evolving. But great question. March 11th is all adults. The US were authorized for the vaccine. We’re still not 100 percent there with children and parents or and others are waiting with bated breath about that. But we do now have the three vaccines that we can use, as you know, Pfizer, Maidana and Johnson and Johnson. But what’s interesting is there are ninety-two vaccines in clinical trials right now across the world. So, we may see even more options as we move forward into the end of the pandemic. Hopefully, Pfizer was cleared for vaccination of children 12 to 15 before that had been 16 up on May 10th. Moderna has now sought approval for vaccination for younger folks, as well as Johnson and Johnson Moderna a little further along in the line.  

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    Kate Bally [00:16:31] So we are seeing so many changes so quickly. And it’s engendering a lot of these kinds of questions. Now with respect to mandates employers, the short answer to that question is employers absolutely can mandate the vaccine as long as they are mindful of the concerns that we just talked about. And the EEOC has been very clear on this point that accommodations do need to be made in the event that you’ve got a disabling condition that may prevent you from being able to take the vaccine. And also, if you have a sincerely held religious belief that those are accommodation mandates, essentially for employers to have what we call the interactive process to say you have this need, we want you to take the vaccine. You said you can’t. You give us this foundation. Let’s talk about where we can go with that and the guidance today from the EEOC, which, of course, is brand spanking new. So, forgive me if I’m going off of a rudimentary read of it, but nothing in there that I read in terms of accommodation was particularly surprising. But it was nice to see that in writing that the kinds of accommodations we’re seeing are additional PPE, maybe masks or more social distancing as an accommodation, more of those barriers, either plexiglass or what have you, additional social distancing, additional temperature checks, possibly reassignment and of course, ongoing remote work.  

    Kate Bally [00:17:59] But we are also seeing that the people who are the entities, rather, who want to require vaccination a rather low, there’s a lot of risks associated with that mandate because of the kinds of accommodation obligations employers have. And also, there’s wage and hour issues, a number of different issues. For example, you do need to compensate nonexempt employees if they are getting that vaccine and going to get the vaccine on billable time, essentially work, work or time. So, because there’s and there’s so many questions remaining about the kind of liability that we’re looking at, states are developing different kinds of guidance on workers comp, for example, and lots of opportunities for liability there. So, I’ve read a couple of studies. Ogletree Deacons, which is a large employment law defense boutique, did a survey of their clients and apparently eighty eight percent of them are not going to be mandating the vaccine. In the webinar we just did. We did an informal poll of about three hundred and sixty people, and ninety five percent of those said we will not be mandating the vaccine. And I think that’s because employers are taking a good, hard look at some of those potential liability risk. And there’s not a lot of case law and there’s not a lot of legislation and there’s not a lot of guidance. So, it seems like folks are leaning towards making it voluntary and Practical Law has some really good policies that employers can look to and customize for their needs. But so, then the next questions that we get, Jamie, are, OK, let’s say I make it voluntary. Then what? I’ve still got as much risk as I did before have not mandated. So, some employers are going with a passport system. We’ve seen in New York this Excelsior system, something that’s going to show that you are covered, that you’ve taken the vaccine. That hasn’t been very popular because I think it sort of it does bring a certain series of risks and also, it’s logistically sort of complicated. And then the next question is, can I let’s say I don’t have a formal passport. Can I ask, have you been vaccinated? And historically, the answer and it’s funny that we’re saying historically in the midst of this short pandemic season, but yes, you can ask you get into trouble, though, when you say, well, why have you not been vaccinated? That’s the portion where you really should draw the line as an employer trying to mitigate your risks and the guidance today from the EEOC. Underscores that some of those kinds of questions are appropriate, so that was encouraging and then the next question, and there’s so many questions, every question leads to more questions is about incentives, as you have alluded to, and certainly the U.S. has opined on today. And that has been a complicated one. It’s funny because I’m sure employers are going to second, the state of Ohio can have a lottery for a million dollars. And I can’t give people a gift card. I think that can be confusing.  

    Kate Bally [00:20:53] And incentives are allowed that you can give incentives. But there are certain kinds of risks associated with incentives that are very large. And the EEOC is provided not a lot more guidance than just using the term very large because you don’t want to create the impression that you’re coercing people into getting the vaccine if they have, especially if they have those disabling conditions or a sincerely held religious belief, because you could find yourself facing a discrimination complaint on that basis. There are also wage and hour issues. If you give monetary incentives, is that now part of your regular rate of pay for calculation of overtime for your nonexempt employees? And the conservative answer to that is yes, the Department of Labor has not issued as of right now, and Lord knows these things change by the minute guidance to say otherwise. So, if you’re giving a significant amount of money or even an insignificant amount of money, you may need to think about that for your overtime calculation. Other issues. Is it part of a wellness program or are there Hifa complications here? Is there a risk of complications here? What are state and local laws around this? So that poses so many questions. But what we’ve sort of been saying to the subscribers who ask about it are conservative approaches tend towards time off or company swag or a nominal amount of money that is not likely to appear to be coercive. So those kinds of things to try to encourage your employees to get the vaccine. Generally, a lot of folks are doing that, and we see not so much legal risk around that.  

    Jamie Orr [00:22:33] So there’s a lot of a lot of what Allwork.Space touches on is around flexible workspaces as part of work, I myself have a coworking space, so I’m a flexible workspace owner like building owner and I operate the space. And so, we have a lot of different businesses that use the physical office space. That and those businesses have their own employees. Right. That adds kind of a different layer of complication for flexible workspace or building managers, building owners. Is the advice pretty consistent or is there going to be any other nuances that that flexible workspace operators or people that are managing these office spaces but whose occupier’s the people that use the space? Aren’t their employees any kind of additional guidance there or is it kind of the same advice? Just keep looking at all of the same sources.  

    Kate Bally [00:23:31] Yes, I think those same sources are going to be helpful because a lot of those the advice and guidance from the agencies is about workspaces. So, we’ll apply equally. Now in terms of liability. It is a complicated question and it’s really more of a commercial litigation situation when you’re talking about hosting as opposed to an employment litigation situation. But I think some of those good tenants of health and safety are going to help mitigate the risks no matter what your role, whether you’re the employer or sort of the physical host of employers, just to maintain some of those really good health and safety practices. Are you required to do these rigorous, rigorous cleanings? You’re going to have to look at state and local law. We’re going to have to keep pace with the developments that we’re seeing at the federal level, too. But some of those things are not break the bank issues and they are going to help anybody who’s hosting people, keep health and safety, keep people feeling that they are being protected. I mean, if you signal to the folks that you’re hosting that you care about their wellness, you care about their health and safety, that’s certainly going to put you into a better position. Now, Pratical Law is tracking not just employment, but also commercial litigation, and it’s evolving.  

    Kate Bally [00:24:43] I don’t think we’re done figuring out some of these things in terms of what kind of liability we’re looking at. But the best way to protect yourself if you are offering a Allwork.Space Allwork.Space, rather, is to keep pace with those EEOC developments, keep pace with what she has to say about health and safety best practices, and keep up some of those good health and safety practices, because that’s really going to help you, regardless of where we land in terms of some of the litigation we’re seeing.  

    Jamie Orr [00:25:12] So back to the employer side. Yeah, if an employer does end up unfortunately having an issue either with noncompliance or they run into to another thing around vaccines, how do they handle it?  

    Kate Bally [00:25:27] Yeah, that’s a great question and one that we’re getting a lot now. The first response is really more of a practical one, which is talk to your employees. Why are they not interested in compliance? Is there something that is quick and efficient and cost effective that you can do to make them feel more comfortable? Especially early on, people were saying, I just don’t want to come back because I’m scared, and I don’t know what you’re doing to protect me. And just to say we have a new kind of filtration system, or we have redesigned the office and Thomson Reuters three Times Square, they really did redesign the office. And it gives us a lot of comfort as we’re looking towards coming back just to be transparent and understand concerns, because it could be that it’s something simple and you don’t know until you ask. Don’t penalize employees for asking these questions, because God forbid, you should look like you have retaliated against a whistleblower on the basis of health and safety grounds. So be a good listener and try to come up with functional, cost effective solutions, additional safety measures, or a heck of a lot less expensive than facing litigation.  

    [00:26:34] So it’s better to sort of be a good listener in the earlier conversations here. If they’re refusing to come into the office, what can you do? It certainly within your discretion as an employer of employment. But do you think of creative solutions, or can you do remote work with certain people for a certain amount of time? Consider unpaid leave and let them know that perhaps the job will not always be available if they’re not taking this leave for a protected reason. But have those conversations because it may be an employee that you’d like to keep on board and have those conversations about making it work as best you can. If you’re talking about a situation with a disability or a sincerely held religious belief, you do need to think again about more of an accommodation conversation. It needs to be that interactive process. And hopefully you can achieve something that will make everybody confident and comfortable about moving forward. So, what about if they are trying to come on the premises and they’re not vaccinated, can you refuse their entry onto the premises? And the answer is from the EEOC is if you if they cannot be reasonably accommodated, then. Yeah, and you feel that there is a direct threat to your staff. You have the right to protect those in your employ and your customers as well and say, no, you cannot be here. We’ve tried to come up with an accommodation and we have not been able to do so. We feel there’s a direct threat and that’s a complicated legal assessment. But the EEOC has generally said that those employers have some authority on this issue. The EEOC also does caution against termination as a knee jerk solution. It’s sort of employment, capital punishment and should never be entered into lightly. And it should take into consideration the kinds of accommodation obligations employers may have. And there’s so many other solutions besides termination.  

    Kate Bally [00:28:34] So at the end of the day, is termination possible? Yes, but you really need to go through the process. Is there something less dire that can be done to make it work for all involved? And then sort of a similar assessment for the folks who are not interested in wearing a mask, for example, if that’s still an ongoing requirement, you as the employer can set the safety standards. But again, you have to be mindful of those accommodation obligations. And the other thing to be aware of, and we talked about this a little bit, is in some jurisdictions now your vaccination status is a protected class that’s new that we just read about that in Montana and again in Santa Clara, we saw that there’s a requirement for businesses to ascertain people’s vaccination status. So really keeping pace with that local and state law is crucial.  

    Jamie Orr [00:29:26] And you’ve brought up remote work a couple different times as far as an accommodation option. Is that so? A lot of workers in the past year have gotten a taste of remote work and a lot of again, this kind of return to office idea is also about our employees going to be hybrid. Are they going to be full time remote? Do you think that this is what it is, is a benefit of being forced into remote work? Is now there’s this additional option that employers are maybe more comfortable with as a potential accommodation? And are there any other kind of labor and employment concerns that employers should be really focused on in terms of incorporating remote work as a strategy, whether it’s for an accommodation or not?  

    Kate Bally [00:30:12] Yeah, I was listening to a prior podcast you did with Brie Reynolds from Flex Jobs, and she had some interesting things to say about that issue that we’d gone from five percent remote work full time to in the midst of the pandemic to sixty seven percent. And I thought that was so interesting to hear from her about that. And I do think employers have realized in ways they didn’t before that remote work can work for their organization. I think it’s been taboo. It’s been thought to be an outlier. And now, of course, we’re seeing so many people doing it full time. I do think that some of the remote work is here to stay. But I also think that some employers are going to want to start bringing people back on a hybrid basis. I think that seems to be what a lot of employers are doing. My husband is also in employment law and so far, that he gets lots of these calls and we have lots of kitchen table talks around what’s going on out there. And at least from his perspective, not a lot of employers are saying that’s it, we’re full time, remote. Everybody goes work from home for the rest of all time. Most employers that he’s hearing from are talking about more of a hybrid model. So, although I do think that remote work will be more of a part of the conversation, I don’t think it’s true that we’ll all be working from home for the rest of forever. I just don’t think that’s where we’re going to land. And of course, this is speculation, but I also don’t think that we’re going to have people say, well, you gave me this.  

    Kate Bally [00:31:40] Is it a combination before, therefore your you have to do it from here on out. I’ve heard about some state offices that have specifically said just because we offer that during the pandemic doesn’t bind us going forward to make this a constant opportunity and ongoing right of accommodation or just not that sort of legal accommodation. Just you’re not entitled to that as a as a matter of going forward. And I think employers will have to make those decisions for themselves. Some employers remote work is great. Some people can stay motivated, stay engaged. Some technologies have certainly helped keep employees on task and focused. But others are finding that people are flagging, and they’re less committed to the job. Maybe they’re less, less, less focused. It just depends. And a lot of that’s going to be employers’ option, I think will probably land somewhere in the middle.  

    Jamie Orr [00:32:39] Great. Thank you so much. Are there any other kind of final words of advice or recommendations that you have for employers as they’re starting to continue to try to keep up on all this information and navigate this process as we try to get beyond this, the pandemic and other things are always going to come up. So, what is your general advice on how to.  

    Kate Bally [00:33:02] Yeah, yeah, good question. So, of course, we’re all focused on recovery from the pandemic right now. But I don’t want employers to lose sight of the sort of the good practices going forward that we’re going to need to focus on once we’re sort of back to whatever this new normal is, making sure that we’re complying with anti-harassment training, diversity training, creating inclusive environments. There are so many other things, as we touched on at the start of the podcast, in terms of diversity, ongoing racism and violence against people on the basis of race and religion.  

    Kate Bally [00:33:36] So I think once we can sort of get our bearings with respect to where we are in the pandemic and recovery, I do want to remind employers of the importance of going back to fundamentals and helping people with things beyond the pandemic, things about, you know, good practices of inclusion and diversity and eliminating sexual and other kinds of harassment. So just to be mindful of that, that that our work is not done creating good, safe and welcoming workplace environments.  

    Jamie Orr [00:34:04] Great. Thank you so much, Kate. This has been incredibly helpful and informative. There’s a lot to keep up on. And I think this is really going to benefit a lot of our listeners. I really appreciate you being here and taking the time with us today.  

    Kate Bally [00:34:17] Thank you, Jamie. It’s been a pleasure.  

    Jamie Orr [00:34:18] Absolutely. Thank you all for joining us with Kate Bally from Thomson Reuters Practical Law on the Future of Work podcast with Allwork.Space.  

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