In all 50 states in the U.S., an employer has the right to ask a sick employee to go home.
Employers are under no obligation to allow a sick employee to stay on the job and infect their co-workers. In fact, an employer can send an employee home at any time for any reason, or without reason. However, the employer must be careful that they do not engage in illegal discrimination against an employee based on race, color, sex, pregnancy, religion, national ancestry, or violate any written contracts.
A few examples or reasons an employer may send a worker home include:
- There is little work for him or her to do.
- The employee seems too ill to be productive.
- The employer fears that the employee is contagious.
- The employer has reason to believe that the employee is not physically fit for duty. In this case the employer may require a doctor’s release for the employee to return to work.
When an employer sends an hourly employee home, the employee must be paid for any time worked. There is no federal or state law requiring that the employee be paid for time not worked. An exempt employee who works a portion of the day must be paid his or her usual salary for the entire day, regardless of whether they have, or do not have sick leave or paid-time-off benefits.
Finally, employers must be aware that different rules apply if the employee has a permanent disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) or a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), rather than a minor illness.
The experts at BCN Services can offer guidance in specific employment situations. Contact us at 734-994-4100 or toll free at 800-891-9911 or visit our website at www.www.bcnservices.com.
Lisandra Garrow, Partnership Manager