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November 16, 2021

Columbia partner Weston Adams will moderate a panel exploring the path forward for SEEM and its potential impacts on renewable energy projects during the Southeast Renewable Energy Summit.

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Reprinted with permission from Chambers & Partners

Current Socio-Economic, Political, and Legal Climate: Context Matters

 1.1 The Impact of COVID-19 on the Workplace

Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are constant updates to federal, state, and local health and safety guidelines and procedures for employers. As such, employers must be diligent and proactive in developing proper social distancing policies, implementing rigorous hygiene protocols, developing comprehensive safety procedures, and informing employees of detailed reporting and notification processes.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, some of the best practices that all employers should consider taking to protect workers regardless of vaccination status are the following:

  • conducting a workplace risk assessment for potential COVID-19 exposure;
  • preparing a response plan; and
  • taking steps to improve ventilation.

These activities are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to promote public health and workplace health.

 1.2 “Black Lives Matter,” “Me Too,” and Other Movements

In addition to the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the workplace, social justice movements, such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Me Too”, have recently accelerated diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives in organizations nationwide. Increased trainings, including unconscious bias training, diverse recruitment pools, and other employee-engagement measures are a few examples of DE&I workplace initiatives aimed at addressing some of the fundamental issues raised by “Black Lives Matter” and the “Me Too” movements.

 1.3 "Gig” Economy and Other Technological Advances

The gig economy, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic, has transformed our lives, from ridesharing services such as Lyft and Uber to grocery and food deliveries from Instacart, DoorDash or Amazon Prime. The gig economy is also transforming the traditional workforce by offering flexibility and autonomy in the place of more traditional jobs. Within the framework of the gig economy, individuals seek work on their terms. Employers hire based on their immediate needs, instead of for long-term planning. The model can offer numerous benefits to employers, particularly in reducing costs, and filling talent gaps.

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