DO YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK?
As workplaces have spent the last year juggling the concept of remote work for their employees, employees at first resisted. Feeling isolated and afraid of what the future would bring, it was difficult to let go of years of routines and the collegial everyday relationships.
Now that the temporary laws and COVID leaves of absence are expiring, workplaces are beginning to confront their employees to come back to work. Employees, especially working parents, are realizing that the morning grind of showering, dressing, feeding the family and dropping kids off at day care, are not missed at all. And these considerations have somehow become much more complicated, even where the employee is comfortable with their employers’ plan for COVID safety.
Do you have to go back? Some companies have been giving workers a choice; others are ratcheting up the pressure or doling out ultimatums. So, how much do you push back? How do you decode corporate statements to tell you what you really want to know? Will you lose your job or career if you stay home?
The bottom line is that unless you are in a union, or have a medical condition which may still be affected by the Pandemic, your employer has a right to demand you come back. Most employees are employees at will, which means the company is allowed to set its own reasonable rules and regulations. That would include where you work, and the rules in effect inside the workplace. When you do go back, you should know that your employer can require you to wear a mask and also that you get vaccinated.
There are limited exceptions to what your employer can demand, of course, but, all in all, if your own values or beliefs don’t align with the rules your employer has put in place, your best option will be considering changing your employment.
If you have any questions, our attorneys are always available to hear your story and answer any other questions you may have.
Call us at 859-431-3333 to speak with an attorney or to schedule an appointment.
Barbara Bonar has more than 30 years' tenure as a licensed attorney and nationally recognized in all issues regarding employee/employer relations, including whistleblower claims, workplace standards, executive contracts, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, conflict resolution, wage and hour laws, employee benefits, and personnel policies & procedures.