If you get the Coronavirus, you are likely protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The FMLA applies to employers with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius. If gives employees who have been on the job for at least a year certain protections. You get up to 12 weeks off per calendar year to get treatment for a “serious health condition.” The flu (influenza) has been ruled a serious health condition, so the Coronavirus will likely also qualify. If you are diagnosed with Coronavirus, you should ask for FMLA paperwork and have your doctor fill it out. Your employer must hold your job for you and return you to your same position, or an equivalent one when you return.
Some people may be reluctant to fly for business because of the virus. This is a more difficult question. If you refuse to fly for fear of catching the Coronavirus and are fired, you can make a claim under Connecticut’s wrongful termination law. Back in the 1990s, a man named Parsons was allowed to sue because she refused to go work in Kuwait at the time when the Gulf War was happening. That case relied on a general obligation for an employer to provide a safe work environment.
The best advice is to try to stay healthy and communicate with your employer about your concerns. You may be able to explore alternatives to traveling. For example, our office has been conducting depositions via video conference to avoid travel.
If you have any questions, contact us.