ARIZONA NEWS

Workers have legal protections related to coronavirus, Phoenix attorney says

Mar 10, 2020, 1:30 PM | Updated: 1:32 pm

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(Photo by Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images)

(Photo by Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Employees do have protections — and requirements — under the law in relation to the coronavirus threat, according to a Phoenix attorney.

Even as the COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, spreads across the U.S., workers must travel for work in most cases.

“An employee can refuse to travel to any of the level 3 countries like China, Italy and Iran at this point,” attorney Jessica Post with the Fennemore Craig law firm said Monday.

She cited regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Post says workers can travel wherever they want in their personal time.

“However, an employer may ask an employee whether they’re returning from countries disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and then follow the CDC guidelines for how long the employee should be quarantined,” she cautioned.

Post also says employers need not pay workers if businesses shut down, and no work is done, because of coronavirus.

But the virus need not shut down all productivity.

“Employers should try to be proactively making arrangements, come up with plans, to allow employees to work from home,” Post said. “An employee who’s quarantined can certainly work from home.”

Post says companies can prohibit face masks unless health officials have deemed an area has a severe threat for the virus.

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Workers have legal protections related to coronavirus, Phoenix attorney says