Q: My wife works at a large hospital scheduling appt.'s. Can they force her to screen incoming patients for Covid-19?
She is concerned about contracting the virus and endangering her children and elderly parents. Her job roles only include interaction with patients at check-in from behind protective glass with a mask and scheduling appointments over the phone. No additional compensation is offered and if she contracts it, as many of the screeners have, they force a leave of absence without compensation for a minimum of 2 weeks. She will likely have to quit rather than participate and increase the danger to her family.
A: If an employee contracts the virus or is seeking a diagnosis regarding whether they have the virus, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires employers with up to 500 employees to provide paid sick leave for any time off taken up to 12 weeks. It sounds as though your wife works for a larger employer that is not subject to these provisions. A generalized fear of contracting the virus is not something that the hospital would be required to accommodate unless your wife has an underlying health condition that requires an accommodation. She would need a note from her doctor to qualify for such an accommodation.
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