Take a multidisciplinary approach
► Can you quickly tell how many contracts, suppliers, employees and other key relationships might be affected?
► Does the “Force Majeure” or hardship clauses in your standard terms and conditions or key contracts apply to this crisis?
• Are there preconditions (e.g., governmental notification or insurance acceptance) that may be fulfilled to enable the organization to invoke Force Majeure?
• Is the organization confident that its own terms and conditions form the basis for its key commercial relationships, or will it need to assess the implications of differing Force Majeure clauses?
• Have you evaluated validity and enforceability of insurance contracts and assessed coverage in a crisis context?
• Does your organization’s corporate governance rules contemplate in-person meetings only, or are remote meetings permissible? • In the case of health-based emergencies, is there a protocol to handle sensitive personal health data, including in circumstances where employees may not self-report travel to restricted areas?
Analyze the options
► When evaluating alternative suppliers, are there exclusivity clauses in current supplier contracts that may complicate switching?
► How does the health or critical insurance policy interpret a crisis and under what circumstances will it suspend payments?
► Are you obliged to continue to pay employees while they remain in quarantine or absent from work due to circumstances beyond their control? Is this covered by employment contracts or local regulations?
► Has your team been in touch with your organization’s key supplier relationship manager to determine the supplier’s financial viability or attitude to the crisis facing your organization?
► Have you evaluated risks from potential event cancelation in terms of liability and potential damages actions?
Embrace work with new teams/colleagues
► Has the legal team stipulated who would be responsible for regular liaisons with and updates from key teams within your organization? (Any delegation should also include alternatives, in case the primary delegate is unable to execute their task.)
► What input and alignment will your legal department have regarding internal and external communications, including social media, to prevent reputational risk, leaks or disinformation affecting the company brand? (It’s critical to balance speed with accurate legal advice.)
► How will you provide information and fulfill your consultation obligations toward trade unions, work councils and other employee representative bodies?
Execute crisis plans
► Summarize the employer’s obligations across multiple jurisdictions to your local teams, including reporting obligations to regulatory authorities
► Review employer obligation to provide appropriate technology/equipment when working on alternative sites
► Review method for employee guidance and regular updates, including health and safety (where most employees are not present in an organization’s offices and facilities)
Conduct post-event debriefs
► Do you conduct your own or participate in the wider organization’s post-crisis review exercises?
► Can you track the lessons learned from the previous major crisis and how responses have improved in subsequent crises?