Seeing Red: Navigating Measles Concerns in the Workplace

Health officials are predicting more cases of the measles as the number of reported cases continues to grow. And while employers might be understandably concerned about the potential for an outbreak at their place of business, it’s important to first consider what can and cannot be required of employees. For example, do employers have the right to require employees to be vaccinated? What about simply asking an employee if they have been vaccinated? The situation can be highly contentious and the answers complicated, as they vary by state, by industry, and even from one employee to another. To get out in front of these issues with a sound plan and strategy, now may be the right time to develop and enact a communicable disease workplace policy, one of the latest provisions to hit employers’ handbooks. Veena Iyer and Sarah Riskin, attorneys in the labor and employment practice group of Nilan Johnson Lewis, note that employee protection laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act can come into play in these policies, but are only part of a host of factors that should be considered. To speak with them about the tricky issues relating to communicable disease policies at work, especially in light of the recent measles outbreak, contact Jeff Trauring at 651-789-1268 or jeff@kohnstamm.com.

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