How to Handle Employees Returning to the Workplace After Testing Positive for COVID-19


In an article published online in HotelExecutive, Member Ronald Schirtzer and Partner Steven Gonzalez discuss how hotel owners and operators should handle employees returning to the workplace after testing positive for COVID-19.

The question of how to balance the desire to return seemingly healthy employees to the workplace with concerns about the safety and welfare of other employees and customers continues to plague employers as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. While there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question, there are resources and best practices that hotel owners and operators can utilize to reduce their risk.

“Permissible and recommended responses from employers will depend on a variety of factors, including: (a) whether or not the employee tested positive, (b) the severity of any COVID-19 symptoms experienced by the affected employee, and (c) whether the employee is immunocompromised (severely weakened immune system),” the authors explain. “There is also a great deal of discretion afforded to employers on what type of proof of fitness they can require before allowing an employee to return to the workplace.”

Schirtzer and Gonzalez also consider employer permissions related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Historically, the EEOC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have allowed employers to either implement mandatory vaccination programs or require employees to provide evidence of vaccination for infectious diseases, including pandemic viruses such as the H1N1 flu, as a condition of employment,” the authors write. “Employers can anticipate updated guidance from the EEOC as part of the roll-out of the vaccine.”

For the full article, click here.

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