Employee Rights During Covid-19

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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.
 

PayrolGuy

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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.
 

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.

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.
 
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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.
 

PayrolGuy

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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.
 

llworking

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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.
 
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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?
 
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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.

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.

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?
 

llworking

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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.
 

PayrolGuy

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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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I will not talk about only COVID.
I currently receive higher mobility and lower rate care component of DLA, this is the only benefit I receive

few years ago I was struck down with a very rare autoimmune disease, which left me unable to work for a couple of years, and with no feeling in one leg and arm. slowly feeling has partially returned in both but not fully.

Condition is by and large well managed with a cocktail of pretty nasty, heavy duty medication which deliberately keeps my immune system suppressed, and steroids to combat inflammation unfortunately this leaves me susceptible to any infections / illness going round.

Over last 3 years, my attendance record at work has got steadily worse due to constant infections and general fatigue either from the infections or just general medication and feeling rough. My constant time off was to such a degree I negotiated a 3 month unpaid sabbatical to concentrate solely on my health! This helped tremendously, I got fitter, lost weight, had NO infections and so no antibiotics, which has not been the case for many, many months previously. I put this down to not being in air conditioned office with recycling air of potential germs etc from other people and no commute on trains and tube

Returned to work recently after the sabbatical and lasted 3 days before I woke up and could barely move from aching. Standing up straight was a struggle due to back pain etc. Saw GP who said was most likely viral infection due to immune system getting a shock from change of pace and commute etc.

Work have since been in contact as they want me to go back to Occ. Health for what must be 5th or 6th time as they are disappointed (as am I, massively so after feeling so well comparatively over the 3 month sabbatical) at my very short return and once I have seen Occupational health my employer said that they and I will discuss my continuing employment with company. My condition is rare enough that a lot of Doctors have never heard of it, so I don't blame my employer for potentially not knowing how best to deal with me, but every visit to Occupational health since my first one has said much the same thing to both me and my employer why are you here again? Nothing has changed, nothing will change to any great degree and its either for my company to accommodate me or get rid.

It certainly seems their position has hardened somewhat and are possibly attempting to terminate my employment due to my sickness record. while I cannot disagree with that I do need to protect myself

while I completely understand their side of things as, as it stands I am currently rather unreliable as I'm not sure from one day to next whether I will be sick or what have you. The fact is, I need to look after both my health and my financial position, so I am just wondering where I actually stand in all of this.

Can they terminate my employment that easily? https://neathousepartners.com/verbal-warning-at-work-procedure/
If so am I eligible for a compromise agreement or payment to enable me to live until I find another job etc? Ive been there almost 8 years so do have certain employment rights.

Thanks for any advice offered, as to be honest I don't feel I can continue in this vain for too much longer, I feel guilt about the constant time off, I don't look 'sick' so cannot help thinking work think I don't try hard enough to get in or else I am 'putting it on' so would like to know exactly where I stand legally. I am due a call back from the anonymous employee assistance service our company is signed up with via an arm of BUPA which comprises all manner of departments, health, legal advice etc, but thought here would also be worth a try.
 
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