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The new coronavirus prompts businesses to rethink global travel


Businesses and organizations should be prepared to adjust their travel activity  because of the newcoronavirus.  That’s what a global law firm with offices in Rochester is suggesting.

Nixon Peabody is dealing with the impact of the coronavirus on its business travel plans as well as advising other organizations on how they should deal with certain issues that may come up because of the virus.

Kim Harding is a Rochester-based partner for the law firm’s labor and employment group. She says Nixon Peabody has been getting inquiries from companies asking how to handle issues around travel, especially to places where there may have been an outbreak of corona virus cases.

The law firm has pretty much stopped business travel to China right now. And Harding says for their firm and other companies, technology can provide other options.

“Teleconferencing, videoconferencing and really just the ability to have flexibility in our travel, in our travel schedules, helps us to kind of accommodate various disruptions in travel to any area of the world.” And Harding says companies also may occasionally be asking some employees not to come to work for a certain period of time if there are concerns about them possibly having the virus.

“They have the right to tell people to stay home if they have a legitimate and rational belief that the person could be infected or expose others to the virus. We need to make sure that we are acting on objective and reasonable beliefs and not applying maybe discriminatory stereotypes or things like that,” Harding explained.”

But Harding also notes the flu probably has a bigger overall impact right now, and that’s something businesses should continue to be mindful about. She says companies should have plans in place to deal with various types of communicable diseases.