Working from home has been a valuable resource in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have found that they can do their job more efficiently at home, but others recognize the value of working in person. Employees who do not have a dedicated workspace or cannot work effectively from home may feel more comfortable returning to the office. Some people find that their workplace environment helps them thrive and be productive.
It is still common practice for some companies to make people work from home, especially if they have been exposed to the coronavirus. If you have contracted coronavirus, your employer may force you to work from home even if you are asymptomatic. While they can require their employees to work from home, there are some limitations on who they can force to do so in California. If you feel that your employer is violating your rights by wrongfully forcing you to work from home, you should discuss your legal options with a California employment attorney.
What Does It Mean to Be Asymptomatic?
People who have contracted COVID-19 fall into three categories. They are either pre-symptomatic, symptomatic, or asymptomatic. Pre-symptomatic people are in the early stages of their infection and will experience symptoms later. The symptomatic person presents symptoms of the coronavirus such as fever, body ache, dry cough, fatigue, chills, headache, sore throat, loss of appetite, and loss of smell.
Asymptomatic people never experience symptoms, which seems to be the ideal camp to fall in for those who contract COVID-19. You have the virus, but you do not have many of the drawbacks associated with it. Although, it is important to know that as a carrier of the virus, you can still spread it to others even if you are asymptomatic and fully-vaccinated. Fortunately, fully-vaccinated people are significantly less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated ones.
Can Employers Make You Work from Home in California If You Are Asymptomatic?
Employers are limited on how much control they can exercise over their employees. As long as they are not enforcing a policy in a discriminatory manner, an employer may require employees to work from home under certain circumstances. For instance, they cannot single out employees to telework on a basis prohibited by any Equal Employment Opportunity laws.
In some cases, if an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, employers are within their rights to ask the employee to work remotely as part of their infection-control or prevention strategy. This does not apply to employees who are both asymptomatic and fully vaccinated. According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) Isolation and Quarantine Fact Sheet, workers who have received a booster, are fully vaccinated, or are booster-eligible do not have to quarantine if they are asymptomatic.
Fully vaccinated and asymptomatic workers are advised to wear a face covering around others at work for ten days following their exposure. They may only be forced to work away from the workplace if they start to develop symptoms.
Discuss Your Legal Options with a Knowledgeable California Employment Attorney
California labor laws are put in place to protect employees from employers attempting to exploit them. Unfortunately, you might not be aware of all of your rights as an employee in California. You need a dedicated California employment attorney to defend you against employers trying to take advantage of your hard work. If you are a worker in California who believes your rights were violated by your employer, you should consider pursuing legal counsel from a knowledgeable California employment attorney.
At Blackstone Law, we can help you understand your legal options for dealing with your employer. Our legal team consists of California’s leading employment and labor attorneys. We have the knowledge, resources, and experience necessary to answer your questions and determine your best course of action. To learn more about your rights as an employee, schedule a consultation with us by calling us at (310) 956-4054 or submitting our contact form.