Coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2 , is a global pandemic that has killed thousands across the United States. As the virus continues to spread, the federal government and states have issued guidelines and orders to protect people.
In California, Governor Newsom issued a stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of the deadly virus. However, the order still allows people to commute to their jobs. This means that some California residents still go to work every day. If someone at work contracts COVID-19, what are your rights as an employee? Does your boss have to tell you if someone gets coronavirus? Do you still have to go to work?
Can Your Boss Force You to Come to Work During the Pandemic?
California is an “at-will” employment state. Workers can find themselves unemployed with little notice from their employer. Likewise, employees can leave their jobs without reason at any time. Does this mean that your employer can force you to work during the pandemic? No, they cannot force you to come to work. However, depending on the type of job you have, they may be within their rights to terminate your employment.
During a crisis, the government determines essential jobs in our communities. Medical personnel, government workers and law enforcement are examples of essential jobs. If you work in an essential job, your employer has a right to demand that you show up for work. If you do not, you could risk losing your job.
If local laws do not consider your job essential, you may find that you can stay home without the risk of losing your job at this time. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protects workers from hazardous work conditions. These laws require employers to offer hazard-free workplaces. At the moment, the spread of coronavirus makes many workplaces dangerous. As a result, many employers are working with employees to find solutions to their work problems. Telecommuting, video conferencing and temporary closures are all working to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
What if Someone at Work Contracts COVID-19?
If someone at your workplace contracts COVID-19, your boss must inform you and your coworkers. However, they cannot legally reveal the infected coworker’s identity. Doing so would violate HIPAA guidelines. After all, medical privacy is important, even during a global pandemic. All cases of coronavirus and other illnesses are private. However, your employer must tell you important and vital information so that you can monitor yourself and your loved ones for symptoms.
It is important to know that you have legal rights in the workplace during this global pandemic. Do you believe your employer violated your employment rights during this time? If so, it is important to speak to an experienced California employment law firm immediately.
Contact Employment Attorneys in California
Do you have questions about how the coronavirus outbreak will affect your employment? What happens if someone at work contracts COVID-19? At Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C., our employment attorneys in Los Angeles, CA can help answer those questions. We know this is a scary time with lots of misinformation out there. However, you still have legal rights during this pandemic.
If you contracted COVID-19 or suffered a workplace injustice during this time, call us. To learn more about your legal options, call us at (310) 273-3180 or fill out our confidential contact form. You can obtain the justice you deserve and the answers you need.