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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
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    Default Employee Rights During Covid-19

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Illinois

    Background: My husband works for a small private owned engineering company with at least 20 employees in the office daily. There aren't supervisor/managers, only owners of the company. There are 5 owners (1 of which is the president) and all are in the same building. My husband is also diabetic with a compromised immune system.

    At the start of Illinois' stay at home order on April 7th, the company allowed the employees to work from home. On June 8th, after Illinois progressed to Phase 3 of the reopening plan, the employees returned to work. The office did not have a meeting with employees to discuss social distancing, spread of the virus, etc. They did not require employees to wear face coverings when within 6 feet of one another or any other form of social distancing. My husband, a diabetic, and another employee with heart problems, are the only employees to share an office. They are within 6 feet from one another. My husband was concerned for his and other employees safety. He came home for lunch and decided to call his employer. He called an owner he was most comfortable with speaking with. That owner referred him to the president. My husband spoke to her and expressed his concerns. She was very insensitive and told him they will not wear face masks. She stated they are following OSHA guidelines and masks are not required, period. She said she would place a clear curtain around his work station and let others know to avoid his work area as well as play signs stating to wash hands, maintain distance, etc. My husband told her that Illinois phase 3 reopening guidelines has minimum requirements for office buildings. The correspondence ended in her giving him until today to either 1. Return to work with her conditions 2. Take a leave of absence approved by a physician 3. Resign from position.

    What are his rights? Any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    4,301

    Default Re: Employee Rights During Covid-19

    1. Return to work with her conditions 2. Take a leave of absence approved by a physician 3. Resign from position.
    Looks like the President of the company gave a pretty good list of his options.

    The problem is, I can find not proclamation by the Governor of your state that gives the 'Guidelines' the force of law. The fact that they are called guidelines would make me think they don't have such force.

    His best option would likely be #2. Take a leave of absence approved by a physician.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18,340

    Default Re: Employee Rights During Covid-19

    The prohibition on mask wearing is BS.

    There's a 4th option.

    Return to work. Wear the mask. If he gets fired he goes on unemployment.

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    His best option would likely be #2. Take a leave of absence approved by a physician.
    If it's not a paid leave of absence it would be the worst option.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    750

    Default Re: Employee Rights During Covid-19

    How would your husband like to see the owners handle this? He must have ideas if he feels they are wrong.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Employee Rights During Covid-19

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    The prohibition on mask wearing is BS.

    There's a 4th option.

    Return to work. Wear the mask. If he gets fired he goes on unemployment.



    If it's not a paid leave of absence it would be the worst option.

    It has been my understanding that the masks (short of an N95 doesn't really help the wearer but those around the wearer.) Hence my not suggesting that.

    I'm assuming he wants a job to return to.

    I'd add that if he resigns there is some less than zero chance that he will originally be found to be disqualified for unemployment.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,474

    Default Re: Employee Rights During Covid-19

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    It has been my understanding that the masks (short of an N95 doesn't really help the wearer but those around the wearer.) Hence my not suggesting that.

    I'm assuming he wants a job to return to.

    I'd add that if he resigns there is some less than zero chance that he will originally be found to be disqualified for unemployment.
    I agree that the masks protect people FROM the wearer of the mask more, but they also protect the wearer of the mask, just to a lesser degree than the N95 masks. There were two stylists at a Great Clips who were working (not realizing that they were sick) and none of the 142 customers who came into the salon during that time got Covid-19. Everybody wore a mask and gloves (both customers and employees) and the work stations were more than 6 feet apart.

    Therefore it would offer the OP some measure of protection to wear a mask, just not full protection.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Employee Rights During Covid-19

    Quote Quoting AmyK84
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    What are his rights? Any advice is appreciated.
    Creating a list of rights would serve no useful purpose. Do you have a more specific question?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
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    Default Re: Employee Rights During Covid-19

    Quote Quoting Harold99
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    How would your husband like to see the owners handle this? He must have ideas if he feels they are wrong.
    He asked them to wear masks in public spaces and when within 6 feet from one another. They said no.

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Return to work. Wear the mask. If he gets fired he goes on unemployment.
    He wants to wear a mask. But no one else is. From my understanding, masks help not spread the virus to others. It's more for others protection than your own.

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    Creating a list of rights would serve no useful purpose. Do you have a more specific question?
    Can they legally require him to return to work without following Illinois phase 3 reopening guidelines?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,474

    Default Re: Employee Rights During Covid-19

    Quote Quoting AmyK84
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    He asked them to wear masks in public spaces and when within 6 feet from one another. They said no.



    He wants to wear a mask. But no one else is. From my understanding, masks help not spread the virus to others. It's more for others protection than your own.



    Can they legally require him to return to work without following Illinois phase 3 reopening guidelines?
    One of the options they gave him was to take a leave of absence, therefore they are not requiring him to return to work. Look, I honestly understand how you feel. I am also someone who is vulnerable. However, there are just too many people out there who refuse to wear masks and no one is going to change their minds unless things get a lot worse than they are now.

    Even if your husband is the only one wearing a mask, it will help him to some degree. It will be better than not wearing one.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    4,301

    Default Re: Employee Rights During Covid-19

    Quote Quoting AmyK84
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    Can they legally require him to return to work without following Illinois phase 3 reopening guidelines?
    The 'guidelines' do not have the force of all.

    Once again I think we have Harold99 trolling under another name.

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