This week, TraveLaw Online’s Doug Crozier and Tim Law of Heifetz, Crozier, Law respond to a question about what to do if an employee arrives at work showing signs of being infected by COVID-19.
Q: What should I do if an employee shows up for work despite showing signs of being infected by COVID-19?
A: Now is the time to ask that question, not when it happens. You’ll want to have a written and publicized policy in place BEFORE it needs to be implemented. That policy can be part of your company’s overall COVID-19 response plan, and does not need to be a stand-alone policy.
Among other things, the policy should address if, how and when:
a. You isolate the employee who exhibits symptoms while at work, and how s/he gets home; public transit ought to be avoided, even if the company funds the taxi trip.
b. The taxi company is advised of the passenger’s symptoms.
c. Local and/or provincial health authorities are notified.
d. People whose names are on your “contact list” (assuming you are keeping a time-dated list of people who’ve been in the office) are notified that they may have had contact with this employee.
e. That employee can return to work if s/he tests negative for COVID, or if no testing is possible.
With respect to (c), remember that the employee enjoys privacy rights that may preclude you identifying him/her unless:
i) You have the employee’s consent, or
ii) (In consultation with your lawyer) you conclude that the facts fall within a legislative exception because the situation threatens the life, health or security of another individual.
If you have a question, you can contact Crozier or Law at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with Bob Mowat at Canadian Travel Press/Baxter Media at email@example.com.
Heifetz, Crozier, Law is a Toronto law firm that has for years represented all aspects of the Canadian travel industry. The lawyers at HCL also maintain a non-travel practice, covering litigation, real estate, Wills, corporate/commercial matters, etc. To contact HCL, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.