As Michigan businesses continue to reopen, employees are rapidly returning to the workplaces they left behind.
Or are they?
While many workers are eager to return to “brick and mortar” offices, others may feel reluctant to come back, like employees in one of the CDC’s “high risk” categories. As some employees request to continue telecommuting arrangements, companies should consider the following:
Finally, while many companies may desire employees to be physically present, others may actually prefer that employees – especially those perceived as “high risk” – continue to telecommute. Such employers must take care not to unlawfully discriminate against protected classes of employees in this regard. For instance, updated guidance issued by the EEOC on June 12 cautions that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act “would prohibit a covered employer from involuntarily excluding an individual from the workplace based on his or her being 65 or older, even if the employer acted for benevolent reasons such as protecting the employee due to higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
The legal landscape is rapidly evolving and much uncertainty remains. Employers should carefully analyze each situation that arises and work with employees to identify an appropriate resolution consistent with company policies.
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