There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many new considerations to the workplace, from taking more safety precautions than ever before in order to prevent the spread of the virus, to adopting policies to address sick staff and clientele in a manner that many employers may not have been accustomed to or ever anticipated.
The COVID-19 virus has been extremely unpredictable in its course of illness among the population, and its impact on a worker and their return to work is not an exception. A worker who tests positive for COVID-19 may continue to test positive for up to 90 days after all of their symptoms (including fever) have disappeared. Having a worker present to work after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and not able to present the employer with proof of a negative test may not only make the employer uncomfortable, it can present a dilemma for that employer on what they should do next: allow the worker to return to work or require the worker to stay home until they test negative for the COVID-19 virus?
According to the CDC, this circumstance of continued COVID-19 positive testing once a positive individual is symptom free may not be that unusual. The obvious risks to the employer are balancing the right of the worker to return to work with the health and safety of the rest of employer’s staff and clientele.
This is a balance that must be carefully considered in each case given the particular facts in order for the employer to reduce its risks for a possible claim of discrimination from the worker who was not allow to return to work. If you find yourself as the worker or employer in such a situation, the attorneys at Thomas Law Group are prepared to assist you.