The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused confusion among companies, and employees are unsure about what information they need to share with their employer and what can stay private. COVID-19 is a very serious illness that can cause death, specifically in the elderly and those who have underlying conditions. To keep the virus under control, many businesses and government officials are urging employees to tell their employer if they contracted COVID-19. If a case is publically known, workers can be more wary of symptoms and health precautions in the workplace.
This pandemic has been difficult to control, and confusion still arises over the proper protocols to keep people safe. To help minimize exposure and potential risk, workers who do not feel good or have tested positive for the virus should stay home and report their situation to their immediate supervisors. Although it is recommended for an employee to tell their employer if they have COVID-19, it is not legally required. However, employers are expected to tell their employees if they have been in contact with someone who has the virus at work, but there is no specific rule on notifying employees in the workplace.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines ways to notify employees of a specific case and what to do when in contact with that person. Unfortunately, it is not necessary for an employer to name the specific worker who has been infected. The infected employee is protected by health privacy laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers have to report the infected employee to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Being an essential worker during the pandemic is a very challenging and stressful job. Now that more stores and companies are opening back up, it is up to essential workers to keep supplying our country with health services, food, and other necessities. These workers are putting their lives on the line to help others. To make their lives a bit easier, employers should encourage the sharing of information between workers to help control the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe. Although it is not legally required, it could benefit every worker if they know about a confirmed case in the workplace.
Maintaining Safe Work Environments
If a co-worker tested positive for COVID-19, it is important to maintain proper safety protocols to keep everyone else at the company from infection. Always remember to wear a mask, wash hands for 20 seconds, wear gloves when touching public amenities, and keep each workplace clean. To alleviate stress, employers should be actively checking in on their employees and providing them with enough personal protective equipment to keep them safe and healthy while at work. Employers can maintain confidentiality between co-workers, but it is recommended to inform workers of a positive case or outbreak.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Advocate for Employees and Employers During the Pandemic
If you have been discriminated against or treated unfairly in the workplace due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. for legal help. Our dedicated and skilled attorneys are determined to protect your rights and help you receive maximum compensation. Contact us online or call us at 215-574-0600 for an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.