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Ebola Response: Suspend Unnecessary Travel

10.24.14

Howard Mavity was quoted on SHRM on October 24, 2014. The article “Ebola Response: Suspend Unnecessary Travel," discussed why companies should prohibit employees from going on any unnecessary business travel to the main areas in West Africa affected by Ebola.

Even though the outbreak has been primarily limited to those three countries, “some companies have pulled people from Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda,” Howard noted, raising the question of what kind of economic havoc the virus might cause in Africa.

But with the virus eradicated in Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization, there’s reason to hope its spread might be contained. All eyes will be on Nigeria to see if it returns there or not, Howard said.

There isn’t much commerce between the United States and the countries that have been most affected by Ebola. Nigeria, which claims the largest economy in Africa, is a different story, Howard said.

If the disease continues to spread, people might try to flee affected areas by moving to countries nearby, including Nigeria, so whether the virus spreads back into Nigeria will be critically important. There are many Nigerians in the United States, and they might want to visit Nigeria to help find care for relatives if Ebola returns, Howard observed.

And it isn’t spread airborne, like SARS, Howard added, although some think it might be, as the Weekly Standard suggested in its editorial, “Six Reasons to Panic.”

Howard added that the “high-water mark” of the disease may already have been reached here.

With regards to placing an employee on a leave of absence upon their return to the United States, Howard said any such leave should be paid to reduce the risk of being sued under such anti-discrimination laws as Title VII.

To read the full article, please visit SHRM.

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