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Global Swine Flu Pandemic Plans - Top 10 Legal Issues

As proactive multinationals hurriedly respond to the international swine flu outbreak of Spring 2009, global pandemic plans implicate employment law issues worldwide.

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In April 2009 the World Health Organization called the Spring 2009 swine flu outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” and the New York Times said the world was at “the leading edge of a global pandemic.” With no vaccine yet in existence and with public health officials recommending extreme precautions, the emergency became truly global: As of late April, the crisis was most acute in Mexico, the US and Canada, but infections were emerging as far away as Spain, Israel, Scotland and New Zealand.

Because a workplace pulls employees together into close daily contact, the employment context raises real concerns in any communicable-disease outbreak. Employers have a keen interest in keeping staff healthy and in containing the spread of a disease, not only for the obvious reason of employee welfare but also to keep business operations running and to minimize liability exposure