COVID-19 in the workplace, what protections are available for employee and employers?


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) One employee at Ruckus Ramen, 13 at Sundance Chevrolet, and six people at Shaheen Chevrolet have all tested positive for the coronavirus recently.

“We thought we were doing everything right and I think we are still doing everything right but a few of our employees came down with the COVID and their isolating right now,” says President of Shaheen Chevrolet Ralph Shaheen.

All four dealerships on the Shaheen campus in Lansing closed for a day for deep cleaning and Shaheen says they continue to follow all state guidelines, but with more than 300 employees, nothing is guaranteed.

“I think every employer is going to deal with it, there is no one exempt.”

So what protections do employees have if they contract the virus? Cliff Hammond, a partner at Foster Swift, says its your right to have time off to quarantine, and most people can still get a paycheck without using sick time.

Its called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Employees can get 80 hours off paid, and employers can write the cost off on their taxes. Exceptions include employers with more than 500 employees, people in the medical field and certain businesses with less than 50 employees.

But what if you feel like you contracted the virus because your job is being careless? Or you feel you were fired because you took time off? There are three government offices that will look into claims and investigate. The department of Labor, The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and your local health department.

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