The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (MSPBJ) has published a Table of Experts panel discussion about the workplace of the future, featuring Hellmuth & Johnson partner Brian Niemczyk.
When asked about Covid-related legal restrictions, Brian responded, “The big legal issue that is coming up is, what if employees think it is too dangerous, and will not come back even when the employer says it is time to come back? Can the employer make the employee come back and work, and what can an employee do if they are worried? If you are a healthy person and your employer is doing all of the things they are required to do with regard to social distancing and OSHA requirements, and you cannot work from home, and there are no other accommodations that can be made for you to work from home, then you have to come back to work. And if you do not, the employer can say, “Well, sorry, we have to take you off the payroll.” And you might have a very difficult time getting unemployment under those circumstances. Now, that is if you are healthy and there are no other issues going on. If you are immunocompromised, or in a group that is particularly vulnerable, you have additional rights to seek accommodation. Or if you have a child who fits that description, and you need to stay healthy in order to take care of him or her, there could be other options.”