Society

Employers, employees, and their rights amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected individuals globally, some directly and others indirectly. The pandemic has changed lives globally and laws governing nations for the past year and a few months. Many lost their lives to the virus, whereas infections are still spreading today. To control the spread of the virus, governments worldwide imposed some new laws on their countries. These measures were aimed at protecting general public health. Some of the measures imposed included working from home to reduce human contact in the work premises. However, some businesses had no work from home option; thus, employees had to go to work physically. Thus, as a result, the employees have a right to expect that their employer is safeguarding them.

During a pandemic, employers can ask their employees whether they are infected with the virus, and they can mandate that the employees get vaccinated as a job requirement. On the other hand, when signing a coronavirus liability waiver after physically going back to work, the employees should read and understand the terms of the waiver to protect their rights. The fundamental task article of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) necessitates that employers observe a safe work premise for all employees and identify any dangers the employees might come across.[1] In the case of the virus, the employers should establish if employees can encounter an infected person and keep watch for its probable presence amongst workers.

Before the pandemic struck, business owners were forbidden from requiring that employees get medically examined unless it was linked directly to their job. However, after the pandemic spread, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) amended its policies[2]. Bosses can now necessitate that workers test for the virus as a work prerequisite irrespective of whether they display symptoms. If an employer learns that a worker has the virus, they may report them to a public health agency.

Additionally, if a COVID-19 vaccine is available, the employer can require the employees to be vaccinated as a job requirement. The employers’ power to mandate vaccination is from the U.S. labor department’s OSHA and EEOC. According to OSHA, employers may mandate vaccinations, and however, it does not require employees to be vaccinated.[3]. Also, employees need to be properly educated about the importance of getting vaccinated. According to the EEOC, employees should be encouraged to get vaccinated.  Employers have a legal right to require workers to get a COVID-19 vaccination to keep their jobs. Employers have significant legal standing to require vaccinations for their employees.

As businesses reopen amid the ongoing pandemic, some firms may require their employees returning to work physically to sign a coronavirus liability waiver. A coronavirus waiver ensures the employee yields their right to take legal action or claim damages if they catch COVID-19 while at work.[4] The specific details and stipulations of the liability waivers vary, making it difficult to determine what each waiver contains. Employees with questions regarding signing a waiver can seek guidance from lawyers who can then help them navigate the risks and options associated with signing the waiver.[5] Employees can protect their rights by thoroughly reading and understanding the terms of the coronavirus liability waiver when required to sign one and staying updated on such waivers’ legality.

Bibliography

“The Coronavirus and Your Rights As an Employee.” FindLaw. Last modified February 14, 2020. https://www.findlaw.com/legalblogs/law-and-life/the-coronavirus-and-your-rights-as-an-employee/.

“Can Employers Require Employees to Test for COVID-19?” FindLaw. Last modified June 23, 2020. https://www.findlaw.com/legalblogs/law-and-life/can-employers-require-employees-to-test-for-covid-19/.

“Can Your Employer Require You to Get a COVID-19 Vaccination?” FindLaw. Last modified August 14, 2020. https://www.findlaw.com/legalblogs/law-and-life/can-your-employer-require-you-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccination/.

“What You Should Know Before Signing a COVID-19 Liability Waiver.” FindLaw. Last modified June 30, 2020. https://www.findlaw.com/legalblogs/law-and-life/what-you-should-know-before-signing-a-covid-19-liability-waiver/.


[1]“The Coronavirus and Your Rights As an Employee,” FindLaw, last modified February 14, 2020, https://www.findlaw.com/legalblogs/law-and-life/the-coronavirus-and-your-rights-as-an-employee/.

[2]  “Can Employers Require Employees to Test for COVID-19?,” FindLaw, last modified June 23, 2020, https://www.findlaw.com/legalblogs/law-and-life/can-employers-require-employees-to-test-for-covid-19/.

[3]“Can Your Employer Require You to Get a COVID-19 Vaccination?,” FindLaw, last modified August 14, 2020, https://www.findlaw.com/legalblogs/law-and-life/can-your-employer-require-you-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccination/.

[4] “What You Should Know Before Signing a COVID-19 Liability Waiver,” FindLaw, last modified June 30, 2020, https://www.findlaw.com/legalblogs/law-and-life/what-you-should-know-before-signing-a-covid-19-liability-waiver/.

[5] See note 4

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