It is virtually impossible to operate a business today without entering contracts. Whether it be with your landlord or tenant, for the equipment you lease, with a vendor or supplier, or a contractor hired - all these contracts could contain terms that impact your company's bottom line. A careful review of them before signing is crucial.

Before consenting to any contract, it is prudent to understand the terms and examine your insurance coverage against the amount of liability you are assuming in the contract and negotiate terms whenever possible and in your best interest.

Damages, Limits of Liability, and Indemnification are three contract areas directly tied to your insurance. 
  • Damages can define the types of losses that could create liability under the contract.
  • Indemnification provisions allocate risk and cost between the parties. In some cases, indemnification is limited to negligence or a specified dollar amount.
  • Liability limits could restrict the amount of damages that a party would be required to pay if found liable for such damages.  Sometimes this may also include a limit for indemnification.
The terms that would most protect your company can differ depending on which party of the contract you are.

Contracts often contain minimum insurance coverage amounts that you must carry. They may also require that the other party be an additional insured on your coverages, potentially on a primary non-contributory basis with a waiver of subrogation - terms that standard policies do not extend unless specifically endorsed to do so.

In our Toole Connect March 24th webinar, along with an attorney, we will be exploring some key contracts used in business, what terms can protect or expose your business, and the role contracts can play in litigation - some of the critical points to help you manage your risk. Watch your inbox for the invitation!
Much focus is on the COVID-19 vaccines, which are key for businesses to resume more and more of their operations safely. The goal of the current administration is to have a vaccine available to all adults by the end of May.

This handbook puts at your fingertips the following vaccine details and resources to help you plan what is best for your operations and be legally compliant:

  • Return to Work Plans and Considerations
  • Vaccine Overview
  • Government Guidance on Vaccines and Workplace
  • Considerations of Mandatory vs. Voluntary Vaccination Policies
  • Developing a Vaccination Plan
  • Vaccines and Workplace Laws
  • Appendix of sample policy forms, checklists, and communication tools
You'll find these key questions/answers and much more within the handbook:

Can the Vaccines Be Mandatory for Employees? In short, yes—employers may generally make receiving a vaccine a mandatory condition of employment. But that may not always be the best option for every organization. As such, employers should seek legal counsel to discuss which course of action is best for their specific circumstances.
Will Employees Need to Pay for the Vaccines? In most cases, the COVID-19 vaccines must be made available to employees without cost-sharing. Non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage must cover coronavirus preventive services, including recommended COVID–19 immunizations, without cost-sharing. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, covered services may be provided by in-network or out-of-network providers.
Do Employees Need the Vaccines if They Recovered From COVID-19 Already? According to the CDC, if someone previously contracted and recovered from COVID-19, they should still receive the vaccines if they can.
Can COVID-19 Precautions End if All Employees Are Vaccinated? - The vaccines are only one of several tools in the arsenal used to fight COVID-19. Even after receiving both doses of the vaccines, other workplace safeguards should remain in effect, including Washing hands frequently, Wearing masks, Social distancing, and self-quarantine if sick. There is still much unknown about the vaccines. Maintaining these precautions will help ensure a higher level of safety for employees, their families, and the community.
OSHA issued guidance to help employers plan their COVID-19 prevention and mitigation procedures. With this guidance, OSHA is suggesting that employers should implement COVID-19 prevention programs. According to OSHA, the most effective programs engage workers and their union or representatives in the program’s development. The guidance covers the following:
  • Hazard assessments;
  • Measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 (roles of employers and workers and training on COVID-19);
  • Isolation or separation measures of infected workers from the workplace (physical distancing, installing barriers, or staying home);
  • Use of personal protective equipment; and
  •  Improvements in ventilation, hygiene and sanitation measures.
OSHA will continue to update the guidance over time as new developments arise. OSHA intends to include additional situation- and industry-specific guidance in the future.

Employers should review this new guidance carefully, implement any new recommendations as applicable, and continue monitoring the OSHA website for any changes in COVID-19 best practices and standards.
CDC Issues Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People

Those who have been vaccinated and others anxiously await wonder what they can do differently and still remain safe. The CDC has finally released guidelines regarding mask-wearing, COVID testing, and practices when near others. Read more
CDC Guidance on Consent Elements & Disclosures for Workplace COVID-19 Testing

There are elements of consent and disclosure that are necessary to provide to employees to aid in their decision whether to accept an offered COVID-19 test part of their workplace testing policy. Read more
CDC Guidance on HVAC Strategies

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a webpage with recommendations on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) strategies employers should use to lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19 throughout the workplace. One of the recommendations is to use several layers of safeguards to reduce exposure, including still enforcing mask-wearing, social distancing, and proper hand-washing in addition to following good ventilation practices. Since SARS-COV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—is spread more easily indoors due to a lack of airflow, employers need to use the best HVAC practices possible.
As remote work becomes increasingly common, it's important for employers to understand OSHA guidelines for both home offices and home-based worksites. Review this article to learn more about employer OSHA liability in regard to remote work operations.
The IRS issued a notice to provide guidance for employers claiming the 2020 employer retention tax credit that was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to encourage employers to keep employees on their payroll, despite experiencing economic hardships related to COVID-19.
The notice clarifies employer eligibility and the employee retention credit FAQs. The notice also defines important terms, such as “qualified wages,” and describes retroactive changes that apply to 2020. Read more
For all prior COVID-19 Email Communications, visit our website
For prior Toole Connect webinars
If it matters to you, it matters to us!