Even as businesses reopen and employees return to their new normal, the risk of becoming exposed to and ill with COVID-19 is still present. When an employee reports they have COVID-19, employers are faced with the difficult task of determining whether the employee’s illness is work-related.
As is the case with all inherently legal issues, employers are strongly recommended to seek the guidance of legal counsel when faced with these sorts of situations.
OSHA Guidance on Work-relatedness
An injury or illness is work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a preexisting injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for events or exposures in the work environment.
Unfortunately, because the coronavirus is so widespread, determining whether an employee’s illness is work-related can be difficult and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Employers should ask probing questions to reveal the potential exposure of COVID-19 in their workplaces. Employers should consult with legal counsel if they are concerned about what kinds of questions they may ask. After conducting a review, employers will need to record the incident and report it to OSHA.
The content herein is provided for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other advice or opinions on any matters. This information has been taken from sources which we believe to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy.