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Emerging concerns

Ethical principles

  • Give special attention to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of individuals when gathering data, collect only data elements and specimens necessary for disease control of protection, and remove personal identifying information from the data set as soon as it is no longer needed. APHA Code of Ethics, 4.2.5.

Recommendations and Practices

Emerging concerns

  • Retaliation against employees who have discussed outbreaks in the workplace or have criticized the company’s coronavirus response. Washington Post, May 24, 2020; Vox, April 14, 2020.
  • Erosion of boundaries between work and personal life. New York Times, May 26, 2020.

Ethical principles

  • Ensure that resulting interventions have the least restrictions necessary to protect the public. APHA Code of Ethics, 4.2.8.
  • Promote policies that enhance community health and well-being and collaboratively respect the privacy, dignity, and civil liberties of individuals and communities affected by the policies and plans. APHA Code of Ethics, 4.5.8.

Recommendations and Practices

Emerging concerns

  • Immunity from legal liability for nursing homes prevents family members from suing over allegations of neglect. New York Times, May 13, 2020.
  • Federal legislation addressing employer liability from workplace exposure to COVID-19 has not been passed. New York Times, June 12, 2020.

Ethical principles

  • Health-care workers’ assumption of increased risks to their health during an influenza pandemic gives rise to reciprocal obligations on the part of governments and employers. WHO Ethics in Pandemic Flu
  • If workers are to take high risks, there is a duty upon society, in particular on their institutions, to support them. University of Toronto
  • Providing legal protection and mental health services to health care workers will help to ease the disproportionate amount of burden they will bear. Indiana University
  • Promote policies that enhance community health and well-being and collaboratively respect the privacy, dignity, and civil liberties of individuals and communities affected by the policies and plans. APHA Code of Ethics, 4.5.8.
  • Consistency in the implementation and application of the policy helps to ensure that similar cases will be treated equally. This will aid in limiting unnecessary discrimination and may assist in conveying the policy’s fairness to the public and to the affected parties. Indiana University

Recommendations and Practices

  • States have enacted liability shield laws to protect employers from being sued if workers contract COVID-19 at work. JD Supra
  • Worker’s compensation for COVID-19 varies by state. JD Supra

Page last updated April 10, 2021.