We are a Mfgr with 80 employees. One is returning to work from vacation with a flight layover in Hong Kong. Her co-workers are concerned about SARS. May we require her to wait 10 days before returning to work? If we did allow her to work and she developed symptoms, making others subject to SARS would we be liable?

1 answer  |  asked Apr 23, 2003 5:28 PM [EST]  |  applies to Indiana

Answers (1)

Brenda Franklin Rodeheffer

If you pay her for the 18 days of missed work, you certainly can require her to remain home during that period.
If she is allowed to enter the US, I do not see how you could be liable in anyway if she should infect co-workers.
If you do not want to pay her for the 18 days, since it is an at-will state, you could do this. However, if she should find it unreasonable and quit, Workforce Development would probably agree and award unemployment. Also, you might be in violation of the Americans with Disability Act for it seems you are preceiving her as and treating her as disabled to her detriment, even though she is not. If you are going to require her to stay away from the workforce for 18 days, you would definitely be better off paying her than taking the risk that she would bring legal action even if ultimately you prevailed (after paying much more than 18 days pay in legal fees.)

posted by Brenda Franklin Rodeheffer  |  Apr 24, 2003 12:07 PM [EST]

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