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Workers have legal protections related to coronavirus, Phoenix attorney says

(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.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

If you’re looking to support a local business or are a business that wants to let people know your doors are open, visit ktar.com/openforbusiness.

To help contain the spread of COVID-19 health officials have issued the following recommendations:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Don’t make close contact with sick individuals.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away.
  • Clean and disinfect objects that are frequently touched.

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