Businesses are doing all they can to keep operating while minimizing the spread of the virus. But some have run into an unexpected obstacle: federal law.

In May, as the first wave of the pandemic receded, Connecticut put out guidelines for workplace reopening. “Individuals over the age of 65 or with other health conditions should not visit offices, but instead continue to stay home and stay safe.”

That seemed like a sound directive, but as lawyers soon pointed out, the state had told its private employers to violate federal law. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act makes it unlawful to deprive older employees of any opportunity offered to younger colleagues.

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