Friday, September 18, 2009

Illness at Work

Writing in The Mississippi Employment Law Letter, Susan Fahey Desmond has some tips on what to do when contagious illnesses come to work. An excerpt:

Suppose you have an employee who fears he has been exposed to the flu, or maybe the risk is high and he demands to go home or refuses to come to work at all. Can you prohibit him from going home? Can you discipline him if he goes home anyway? Be careful. Depending on the circumstances, the OSH Act may allow an employee to refuse to come to work if he has a good-faith fear of workplace exposure. In that situation, the court may ask whether there were any "reasonable alternatives" available to the employee, even if there was a serious risk. In determining whether the employee has a good-faith fear, there must be a real danger determined by scientific evidence. A panicked employee with no factual basis for his fear won't cut it.

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