Weekly Updates and News

Weekly Updates and News Weekly

Topic of the Week  Infectious Diseases and the Workplace

Getting sick can sometimes cause far more problems with your employer than you might imagine. Can you be fired for getting sick, or forced to stay home when a family member is sick? What do you do if you contract a serious contagious illness? What can employers do when there is an identified health risk or pandemic in the news, like swine flu, Ebola, or measles? It is important for workers and employers alike to know what employment actions are lawful in the face of serious illnesses, and how individuals and companies can protect themselves when infectious diseases are going around.

1. Is my boss required to grant me leave if I have been quarantined due to an infectious disease?

Many states do not have laws preventing employers from firing someone who is quarantined by the state, so long as there is no contract or union agreement. However, the some states do have laws that prevent employers from firing any employee or any full-time employee. However, some states do have laws that prevent employers from firing any employee or any full-time employee.

2. If I am quarantined, what information can my employer share with my coworkers?

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Employers should not, however, disclose to co-workers the identity of the quarantined employee because confidentiality requirements under federal law, such as ADA, or state law may apply.

3. My coworker has been constantly coughing throughout the workday and I’m worried about getting sick, should I inform my supervisor?

Yes. If an employee arrives to work showing signs of an acute respiratory illness (such as cough or shortness of breath) or becomes sick during the day, the CDC recommends that the employee be separated and sent home immediately. Advising such workers to go home is not a disability-related action if the illness is similar to seasonal influenza or COVID-19. Additionally, the action would be permitted under the ADA if the illness were serious enough to pose a direct threat.

Thought of the Week

“We never asked for this system; it was imposed on us. Now, they are mismanaging our money–not appropriations or donations, but our own money–and we can’t fire them. . . . All that’s going to change. We are not going to let them off the hook. There has to be reform and restitution. There has to be justice. “

–Louise Sahagun, Tangled Trust Earns Wrath of Native Americans

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

  1. Amazon Warehouse Workers in Alabama Petition to Form a Union
  2. Punching In: Trump Can Fill Key Labor Posts With 11th-Hour Hires
  3. Rolls-Royce settles discrimination allegations, to pay $135K
  4. Union workers in West Virginia ‘overwhelmingly’ OK new contract with Kroger
  5. Women are leaving the labor force in record numbers

List of the Week

from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

American Indians and Alaska Natives in the U.S. labor force

  • According to data from the Current Population Survey, the country’s 2.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) accounted for 1.1 % of the U.S. civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and older in 2018.
  • The unemployment rate of AIANs was 6.6 %, considerably higher than the rate of 3.9 % for the country as a whole.
  • AIANs were less likely to be working —59.6 % of them participated in the labor force, compared with 62.9 % for the total population.
  • AIANs have had higher unemployment rates and lower labor force participation rates throughout the history of the series 



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