Protecting your staff during COVID-19

March 27, 2020

While the COVID-19 situation is unprecedented for many law firms, lawyers and organizations, it is important that we put measures in place to protect all employees, including legal support staff, articling students and lawyers.

Firms and organizations should stay aware of national, provincial and municipal updates and guidance. Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation requires employers do everything they reasonably can to protect the health and safety of their employees. This means ensuring staff have everything they need to do their jobs in a healthy and safe manner.

If your office is still operating from a physical location, it is important to protect lawyers, students and support staff by:

  • Implementing physical distancing measures such as making sure staff aren’t working side-by-side, in-person meetings are being reduced and catering is not being shared.
  • Using electronic means and courier services to deliver information to clients and other law firms.
  • Avoiding unnecessary out-of-office errands.
  • Setting staff up to work remotely wherever possible.
  • Implementing client identification and verification processes using the dual-process whereby the client sends original documents or shows documents over video (for phone or bank statements).

This is particularly important where there are circumstances of power imbalance and fear of reprisal for saying no to a potentially unsafe situation.

Our Practice Advisors and Equity Ombudsperson are available to provide confidential information and guidance to help Alberta lawyers, legal support staff and articling students with legal, ethical and practice inquiries.