Will my employer have to say if the coworker has a virus?

Will my employer have to say if the coworker has a virus?

AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin;

© Provided by Associated Press
AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin;

Employers generally do not need to tell workers that someone in the workplace has tested positive for coronavirus.

The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that companies monitor employees for symptoms and alert people who have been in contact with an infected person. Some states may order businesses to follow such guidance.

Employers have the right to take the temperature of employees and ask for symptoms or if they are exposed to the virus or diagnosed. If an employee does not answer those questions, they may be barred from the workplace.

Businesses are required to provide a safe work environment. They must also monitor contracted infections on the job and report any hospitalization or illness-related deaths to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Some activists are troubled by the lack of information. For example, Amazon alerted warehouse employees when someone tested positive for the virus, but did not disclose how many workers tested positive. So the workers started trying to keep an eye on their own.

There are also pending lawsuits against employers filed by workers who were exposed or diagnosed with coronovirus. In general, there is a high legal bar for endangered employees to find an employer and most claims are resolved through labor compensation settlements. There has also been some debate over whether Congress should provide businesses with liability protection during the epidemic.


AP is answering your questions about Coronavirus in this series. Send them to: [email protected]

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