Employee Questions About COVID-19
As employees return to workplaces, there have been many questions. While each situation is unique, there are a handful of topics that are returned to again and again, such as protective gear compliance and child care.
For guidance on your circumstance and how it is impacting your job in Ohio, talk to a Columbus employment attorney. If you have specific questions about COVID-19, Ohio’s hotline for coronavirus can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
Leave Might Be Possible When There Are Issues with Child Care
When parents do not have access to daycare centers or schools, whether those are private or public environments, it can be difficult for parents to navigate their professional careers. If you are called back to work but are unable to do so because of child care issues, you do have some legal protections.
One possibility is being on paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA was passed by Congress in March to help individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some employers are required, by law, to provide employees with minor children leave due to COVID-19 reasons such as childcare issues, it is part of expanded leave for family and medical reasons.
Complying with Face Mask Rules and Temperature Checks
If your employer has said face masks are a requirement, there may also be other personal protection equipment items in an employer’s requirements moving forward, including gloves or gowns. There are even Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for individuals to wear face masks, particularly when it may be hard to maintain social distancing.
Guidelines are changing as more information about COVID-19 comes to light, so employers are changing policies as needed. Asking employees to wear face masks may be a legal request and it is often connected to government guidelines. For employers to be clear with their staff, they should be sure to write up specific policies and ask a legal team to review the documents, when possible. Also, the employer should provide the masks to employees. If wearing a mask is not possible because of a disability, the employee may be entitled to an accommodation.
Temperature checks are also a possibility, but confidentiality requirements should be followed. For instance, temperatures should be taken in a non-discriminatory way. And, of course, the process needs to be done safely for everyone involved. If an employee refuses to have their temperature checked, it could result in an employee being disciplined.
There are also employment rules from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a few of these guidelines follow:
- An applicant’s temperature may be taken in connection with a post-offer, pre-employment medical examination and conditional job offers could include screening applicants for COVID-19 symptoms.
- If an employee has COVID-19 symptoms an employer can delay a start date.
- In situations where a job needs to be filled immediately, an employer may withdraw an offer if a person has COVID-19.
Are you an employee who has questions about COVID-19? Ask a Columbus employment attorney at Coffman Legal, LLC. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation. The coronavirus is causing a lot of uncertainty and things are changing. The law related to working in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is also evolving. Seeking experienced legal counsel will help with any questions related to your rights during the coronavirus pandemic.