Overview: The workplace is no place for an infectious disease. Whether it is the flu that comes around every year or the common cold, employers should do whatever it takes to curb the spread of contagious germs among the workforce.
The first line of defense against infectious diseases is to offer wellness programs and vaccines, e.g., flu shot, and encourage proper employee hygiene (especially hand washing) to avoid the spread of germs.
The fact is, though, that employees will get sick. Accordingly, employers should be ready to address how to handle alternative working arrangements, e.g., allow telecommuting if feasible, or offer sick days.
Trends: Employers should also be concerned about infectious diseases that arise overseas, such as the coronavirus or the Zika virus, especially when employees travel to and from an affected region for business or personal reasons. Even if employees do not travel, there is also the risk of coming into contact with an individual who has returned to the US from an affected area.
Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
With reported cases of the coronavirus in the United States, XpertHR has a host of resources and guidance for employers to prepare and protect their employees and workplace.
HR guidance on preventing infectious diseases in the workplace.