During A Pandemic, I Reported Feeling Ill At Work Or I Called In Sick. How Much Information May My Employer In New Jersey Ask Of Me Either During This Pandemic Or At Any Other Time?
During a pandemic, if you report feeling ill at work or you call in sick, your employer in New Jersey lawfully may request, from you, a considerable amount of information.
Specifically, during a pandemic, employers covered by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) may ask employees, who report feeling ill at work or who call in sick, whether they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus. For COVID-19, these symptoms include conditions such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. Employers must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, at this time employers may ask employees who work on site, whether regularly or occasionally, and report feeling ill or who call in sick, questions about their symptoms as part of workplace screening for COVID-19.
An employer lawfully may ask an employee why the employee has been absent from work. Asking why an individual did not report to work is not a disability-related inquiry. An employer is always entitled to know why an employee has not reported for work.
Suppose, for example, that during an influenza pandemic, an employer instructs a supervisor to contact an employee who has not reported to work for five business days without explanation. The supervisor asks this employee why he is absent and when he will return to work. The supervisor’s inquiry is not a disability-related inquiry within the meaning of the ADA.
If you are an executive or a professional in New Jersey and you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated or that your employer has failed or refused to reasonably accommodate your disability, call New Jersey Employment Lawyer David S. Rich at (201) 740-2828 today.
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