By: David M. Foy
Testing after Positive for COVID-19 or Exhibiting COVID-19 Symptoms
If an employee tests positive, they should isolate for 10 days after the positive test. If the employee thinks they have COVID-19 because they are exhibiting symptoms, employers can require them to be tested or have the employee quarantine for 10 days. To avoid abuse or false claims, when employees have symptoms, employers can require employees to test at the onset of symptoms and prior to returning to work. If employers have some daily protocol in place, they may require employees to comply with that protocol while isolating.
Michigan law does not protect an employee who refuses to get tested for COVID-19 within 3 days of an employer’s request.
Testing after Exposure
The CDC’s Quarantine Guidance varies based on whether an employee is vaccinated or not. The CDC’s Guidance recommends that unvaccinated employees should quarantine for 14 days. However, the CDC noted that fully vaccinated people who have been exposed to COVID-19 do not need to quarantine unless they are exhibiting symptoms of the virus. Still, fully-vaccinated people should be tested within 3-5 days of exposure and continue to wear a mask in indoor places for 14 days after exposure or until they receive a negative test result.
Employers can ask employees to test the day they report the exposure, but Michigan law allows them 3 days to do so. Employers should then require a second test prior to returning to work. If employers do not require testing, the employee should quarantine for 10 days if no symptoms are reported during daily monitoring. Either way, if your organization has a daily protocol in place, employers may require employees to comply with that protocol while quarantining.
Work from Home
Employees may request to work from home. Whether you have an existing policy or create one, the following issues may arise:
- The Policy may be applied arbitrarily which could give rise to discrimination claims.
- You may want to require the employee to attest to reasons for the request.
- There should be a clear end date.
- Employees with disabilities may assert work from home as an accommodation if essential duties do not require in person attendance.