Workers’ Rights in the Age of Covid-19
As we progress through the unprecedented Covid-19 era, it is more important than ever that employees and employers know their rights in the workplace. Predominantly, Illinois employers are required to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for all employees. However, given that we are still navigating through the Restore Illinois plan, employers have been faced with difficult questions as they enter a new world of work.
Employers are required to follow Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Orders. Notably, the Illinois Department of Public Health has answered difficult Covid-19 issues, which are summarized below. First, all employers are required to:
- Continue to evaluate if employees are able to work remotely;
- Implement social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible;
- Ensure that all spaces where employees may gather allow for social distancing;
- Ensure that all visitors to the workplace can practice social distancing; and
- Inform their employees of guidance from IDPH and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency.
Furthermore, while employers are not legally required to implement the following, the Illinois Department of Public Health recommends that employers:
- Stagger the scheduling of employee shifts, lowering the number of workplace personnel present at one time; and
- If necessary implement Covid-19 screenings when employees enter the workplace.
Additionally, employers can require employees to do the following per their discretion:
- Require employees to receive the Covid-19 vaccine;
- Ask employees to leave the workplace if they exhibit Covid-19 symptoms and stay home until 10 days since their symptoms first appeared and 24 hours without a fever (without use of fever-reducing medications);
- Wear face mask coverings and take temperature screenings;
- Ask employees to provide a doctor’s note stating that the employee is safe to return back to work; and
- Ask employees if they have been diagnosed with Covod-19 or are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, including if they have been exposed to the same.
However, employers cannot fire or retaliate against employees for raising safety and health concerns. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the current law surrounding employers or employees during this time, local attorney Andrew Szocka provides thorough and speedy employment law help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.