Round Lake, IL asked in Employment Discrimination for Illinois

Q: Is it really legal to not allow an employee to work if they medically can not wear a face mask.

The order states that those who are medically able to wear them must. But what about those who can't. Can they really tell us we can't work? Are stores really able to deny us access because we can not wear the mask because of a disability?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Cynthia Pietrucha
Cynthia Pietrucha
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Naperville, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: This is a difficult topic that does not have a clear "yes" or "no" answer. Overall, you should be allowed to make decisions for your own well being but in an employment setting, the employee doesn't have full control.

The logic behind the mask requirement is that you can spread flu/COVID-19 before you have symptoms of it, and wearing a mask would contain the spread. Some think COVID-19 is a fake crisis that has been overblown and others are taking it seriously and scared to interact in public.

Companies are getting sued for wrongful death and negligence when they don't provide their public-facing employees masks and other protective gear, and also when they don't protect their employees from others including the public, co-workers and even candidates for new hire.

If you don't want to wear a mask and you have a medical reason for it, you would need to provide the employer medical documents to substantiate the medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask. You would have to ask for a medical accommodation.

If you don't want to wear a mask and you have a religious reason for it, you would need to communicate your beliefs and ask for a religious accommodation.

The laws that like apply: ADA/EEOC, OSHA

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