Is Your Pennsylvania Employer Required to Inform Employees of Positive COVID-19 Cases in the Workplace?
While Pennsylvania’s non-essential businesses closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers are still required to come to work despite the risks associated with the virus. In light of this, many employees are wondering, “Is my employer required to inform employees if there is a positive coronavirus case in the workplace?”
Are Employers Required to Inform Employees of Positive COVID-19 Cases at Work?
Unfortunately, this is not a yes-or-no question because federal employment laws were not prepared for a pandemic of this magnitude. While there is no law that would specifically require employers to inform their employees of positive coronavirus cases in the workplace, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) does require employers to provide a safe workplace. Under federal law, “your employer must provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards.”
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines in which it recommended that employers should inform workers of possible exposure to the coronavirus disease in the workplace. However, neither the OSHA nor any other federal or state agency is enforcing CDC guidelines as law.
Are Employers Allowed to Reveal the Identity of the Worker Who Tested Positive?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from revealing the identity of an employee who tested positive for coronavirus when informing fellow employees of their possible exposure to the virus at work.
However, they can ask the infected employee for consent to reveal his or her identity. In this situation, most workers agree to reveal their identity in order to protect coworkers who might have been exposed to COVID-19.
How Can Employees Obtain Information About Positive COVID-19 Cases in the Workplace?
If your employer has not notified of any positive coronavirus cases among employees, you can get together with your coworkers to inquire about positive COVID-19 cases in the workplace. Also, ask if any workers are known to have coronavirus symptoms. In many cases this type of activity is considered protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act.
If your employer refuses to provide information about positive COVID-19 cases, and you are concerned about work place safety, you may want to consider consulting a Union about organizing your workplace. If you need more information about organizing you can talk to our Harrisburg labor union representation attorneys at Ira H. Weinstock, P.C., to discuss your options. Call at 717-238-1657 for a case review.
Talk to our Harrisburg labor union representation attorneys at Ira H. Weinstock, P.C., to discuss your options. Call at 717-238-1657 for a case review.