13 March 2020

COVID-19 and Employers: What you Need to Know

***Information and guidance in client updates was up to date at time of publication. During the pandemic, information and guidance has been changing rapidly. If you have any questions about the information contained in a client update, please contact the author(s) or your Miller Johnson attorney.***

  • Can we ask employees exhibited COVID-19 symptoms to go home?
    • Employers can ask sick employees, whether with COVID-19 symptoms or flu or cold symptoms, to go home.
  • Can we ask employees about cold or flu symptoms (which would include COVID-19 symptoms)?
    • The EEOC has advised that these types of questions are not prohibited by the ADA.
  • Can we prevent employees from traveling?
    • Yes, you can prohibit work-related travel completely, or just to certain highly impacted areas. You should not prohibit personal travel, but you can require employees to inform you of their travel, and you can prohibit them from working on-site for a period of 14 days after they return. During these two weeks, if their jobs duties allow them to work from home, they can continue to work.  If they cannot work from home, they may need to take those days off of work.
  • When can we tell employees to stay home?
    • If they are visibly sick
    • If they are returning from a country with a level 3 travel advisory
    • If they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19
    • If they haven diagnosed as having COVID-19
  • Does an employee have the right to refuse to work out of fear of catching COVID-19?
    • No, not unless there is imminent danger. The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly, but at this point, there is probably not imminent danger unless they would be forced to work with someone who has COVID-19 or someone who was in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
  • Can we require employees to work from home?
    • Yes, you can offer it as an option, or require employees to work from home.
  • What about employees who can’t work from home because the nature of their job requires them to be at one of our facilities?
    • These employees can be required to come to work, unless they have COVID-19 or have been in contact with a person who has COVID-19.