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Coronavirus Safety Could Clash with Disability Discrimination

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coronavirus discrimination

Global epidemics are few and far between. Over the last century, there have been only four flu epidemics, most recently being the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus that reached the level of pandemic. Today’s coronavirus, beginning its spread from Wuhan, China, is starting to reach different corners of the world, and health officials are scared that if it is not contained soon, it could reach pandemic levels.

The spread of the coronavirus has the attention of companies around the world.  Employers including Apple Inc. and Volkswagen AG, both who do business in China, as well as dozens of tech companies, are taking precautions to protect the health of their workers. These companies are beginning to learn they must also be cautious in regards of employment discrimination because there is a fine line between keeping the workplace safe and violating their employees’ rights.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers in the U.S.  should be safe from infection. Though there have been several cases of the coronavirus here in the states, health and public officials insist that there is not a significant threat, at least when compared to today’s influenza outbreak, which has killed 8,000 people and infected 15 million in the United States alone.

Employers Should Proceed with Caution

As the officials across the globe fight to contain the virus, employers are working diligently to provide a safe workplace without violating employment laws. Some have instructed their employees to work remotely or telework. Others may have to offer different means, especially those that must travel to China or another country containing the outbreak. Those that insist on work practices may be violating an employee’s privacy and employment rights.

Health officials are instructing companies to not panic but keep themselves abreast of any new official information comes out. That is how businesses can protect their workers. They must comply with both the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act and find a good balance in between. Acting too swiftly may violate either one of these acts, either by asking an employee’s health condition or forcing medical exams, or not hiring someone who had recently been to China. They must also be careful when questioning a worker’s call out or a worker’s insistence of coming into the workplace when they are showing symptoms.

Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Protect the Rights of All Employees

Employers must be careful when providing a safe workplace for their employees.  If you feel your employer is discriminating you, then contact the Cherry Hill employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers will protect your rights while obtaining the rightful compensation you deserve. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.

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