Federal and state laws and regulations are in place to protect workers from workplace coronavirus exposure. The OSHA General Duty Clause “requires employers to maintain a safe workplace free from hazards likely to cause death and harm.” The entailed “hazards” include infectious diseases such as the coronavirus, and employers and businesses are obligated by law to provide workers with adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) and supplies to stay safe while working.
OSHA rules also give employees the ability to raise reasonable concerns about workplace health and safety without fear of retaliation. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to accommodate employees with a covered condition (for example, a compromised immune system or respiratory disease). While these regulations should be protecting employees, many workers are concerned about their health and job security amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
What should I do if there is a workplace coronavirus outbreak?
Employers must work to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. If an employee is confirmed to have a coronavirus infection, your employer should inform you and your coworkers about possible COVID-19 exposure in the workplace while maintaining the infected employees’ confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If your employer is not following CDC and OSHA guidelines, or they are not ensuring worker safety, report the workplace violation. You might also be eligible for a workplace COVID-19 exposure lawsuit.
How can I report a workplace COVID-19 outbreak?
The federal OSHA General Duty Clause requires that employers protect employees from infectious diseases such as coronavirus. This includes providing workers with the necessary personal protection equipment (PPE) and supplies to stay safe while working.
If your employer is not properly handling workplace coronavirus safety, report it to your local OSHA office.
What should I do if I was exposed to coronavirus at work?
If you have coronavirus symptoms (shortness of breath, fever, cough), contact your supervisor and stay home from work. If you believe you might have coronavirus or have COVID-19 symptoms, follow the CDC recommended steps. If you have emergency warning signs, get medical attention immediately. Do not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation have been met.