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what are employee rights under covid

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  • Jan 19th, 2021 7:38 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 30, 2011
1785 posts
469 upvotes
MISSISSAUGA

what are employee rights under covid

My workplace starts to have two potential covid cases, both are asymptomatic and got from their family members and again from their respective workplace - One was tim horton one was a factory.
My company didn't even announce anything but just keep the two related members work from home and two weeks later they are back, I heard all this from kitchen talk!!.
They probably back with some negative test results, I guess, but I still think their returns are totally unnecessary, as they are both administrative roles, can absolutely work from home.
And my company just won't let them work from home any longer or allow us to WFH (office job) to lower potential risk.
I have no problem with the 2 co-workers, absolutely don't want anyone to lose a job because of sickness. but I just feel that the employers just don't care, and they just think WFH is too much luxury to employees.

I do track news and know covid can be infected A LOT of people without showing any symptom, any a test positive patient can still spread virus due to error in test. And if the same situation happens somewhere in China, they would lock down the entire building for weeks just for one potential contact - and China is the only one really solve the problem by doing that.
But, seems now Ontario can easily have 3k cases a day, geese, and nobody care, people still shopping and employer doesn't care, I just can't get it.
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14 replies
Deal Fanatic
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Jan 31, 2006
7089 posts
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Toronto
As you stated the company already quarantine the 2 employee for 2 weeks, that is the basic guideline of a potential covid case set by the government. Your company already follow the procedure. If you feel not comfortable working with them, then take paid/unpaid vacation or quit your company. There is nothing more you can do, as your employer does not allow any employees to WFH (your company seems to be an essential business).
Newbie
Nov 28, 2020
80 posts
76 upvotes
Can't speak for all provinces, but Ontario MOL shot down COVID related work refusals back February. If your employer is following all requirements and recommendations from the local public health agency that is it. There is nothing else you can demand as an employee.

Do you have rights? Yes you do. There are there for all to see in your provincial Occupational Health and Safety legislation: the right to know, the right to participate and the right to refuse unsafe work.

If you think your employer is violating any of those, call the MOL. But if you are calling to complain about not working from home, don't expect a field visit. It won't happen.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
5639 posts
2463 upvotes
Toronto
In addition to the posters above, your employer can't announce other employees' COVID statuses or actions taken any more than they can any other illness. It's someone's private medical information, so they're not going to call or email to say Bob got COVID, he tested positive on this date, he's coming back to work on this date, these are all the things we've done to make sure Bob isn't going to infect anyone.
Deal Guru
May 29, 2006
10262 posts
2823 upvotes
rules vary by province, in AB for example are we are told is there was a confirmed case in the building, only confirmed close contacts are notified.

even for general medical leaves you are not required to tell your employer why, all you need is a doctors note with saying "person is not fit for work until XYZ"

your employer also cannot share your medical issues (if known) with others, they can say things like " person A will be on leave for 2 weeks"
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2015
2031 posts
1443 upvotes
NOT centre of Univer…
napoleonbot wrote: My workplace starts to have two potential covid cases, both are asymptomatic and got from their family members and again from their respective workplace - One was tim horton one was a factory.
My company didn't even announce anything but just keep the two related members work from home and two weeks later they are back, I heard all this from kitchen talk!!.
They probably back with some negative test results, I guess, but I still think their returns are totally unnecessary, as they are both administrative roles, can absolutely work from home.
And my company just won't let them work from home any longer or allow us to WFH (office job) to lower potential risk.
I have no problem with the 2 co-workers, absolutely don't want anyone to lose a job because of sickness. but I just feel that the employers just don't care, and they just think WFH is too much luxury to employees.

I do track news and know covid can be infected A LOT of people without showing any symptom, any a test positive patient can still spread virus due to error in test. And if the same situation happens somewhere in China, they would lock down the entire building for weeks just for one potential contact - and China is the only one really solve the problem by doing that.
But, seems now Ontario can easily have 3k cases a day, geese, and nobody care, people still shopping and employer doesn't care, I just can't get it.
You cannot compare your company with what might happen in China, unless your work for a company in China. It’s silly to compare the two for your ‘rights’. Don’t forget in China, when they lock down all the people that work there are taken care of for their basic needs.

Generally, your rights are that you can expect that your company follows the public health protocols and guideline for your industry. If they are not, then you can file a complaint. You can choose to speak with your manager, but if they are following the protocols, then they don’t have to do anything else.
- Unless mandated to WFT a or capacity restriction WFH a is the employers decision.
- there are privacy laws for medical notification. In my province, only people in close contact are notified , but they cannot disclose who, this applies for our schools too
-if the company meets isolation requirements, having them stay at home longer, is a precaution but not your right.

I know someone who went to work with a hacking cough, (should not have been their) they also are in a medical field (back office) My friend who works there said they weren’t comfortable being the in same room to the supervisor. . The supervision blew them off saying the person is always sick and my friend to mind their business. A senior VP walked by heard all the coughing, was really mad and left, A few minutes later, the manager came in, sent the person home for breaking the law, told them not to come back and out the supervisor on warning. Said if the manager had to send anyone home again , the supervisor would also be sent home permanently. The sick person tried to file a complaint for wrong dismissal, but it was determined they weren’t let go for being sick (they had sick days). They were being fired for breaking health orders and the law.

My point is, employers are expected to enforce the health orders but it is difficult to enforce more.
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Deal Fanatic
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May 11, 2009
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Debtario
The reality is that your employer's policies are just there for liability reasons, so when something happens they can point to what they've done on paper and wash their hands of the situation.

Money talks. They'll do the bare minimum to appease lawyers, auditors, and inspectors, but beyond that they don't care about your safety.

The $2 wage increase some employers had was an excellent example of the hipocrisy. Once one employer stopped doing it, everybody else stopped as well. The pandemic isn't over, it's worse now, so where did that "danger pay" go? My employer answered that question by showing how much money they've spent on providing masks, installing handicap-style automatic doors, and shields in offices so we are automatically all safe now. Screening also went from temperature checks down to just asking questions at the door if you feel unwell, with signs posted threatening termination if you lie about your symptoms. If you get turned around at the door for answering honestly, you get disqualified for the perfect attendance bonus, so answer "honestly".
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Deal Fanatic
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Nov 13, 2010
7011 posts
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Scarborough
That pcr test really stings/hurts in the nose for at least 30 mins...not pleasant at all...

I wouldn’t wanna do a test every time someone around me is +ve, that would be **** up. Do the14 days quarantine and back to work if no symptoms.

How many times can employer force anyk e to keep testing ? Its not a easy test
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 30, 2011
1785 posts
469 upvotes
MISSISSAUGA
M1K3Z0R wrote: The reality is that your employer's policies are just there for liability reasons, so when something happens they can point to what they've done on paper and wash their hands of the situation.

Money talks. They'll do the bare minimum to appease lawyers, auditors, and inspectors, but beyond that they don't care about your safety.

The $2 wage increase some employers had was an excellent example of the hipocrisy. Once one employer stopped doing it, everybody else stopped as well. The pandemic isn't over, it's worse now, so where did that "danger pay" go? My employer answered that question by showing how much money they've spent on providing masks, installing handicap-style automatic doors, and shields in offices so we are automatically all safe now. Screening also went from temperature checks down to just asking questions at the door if you feel unwell, with signs posted threatening termination if you lie about your symptoms. If you get turned around at the door for answering honestly, you get disqualified for the perfect attendance bonus, so answer "honestly".
Those things are so broken, one of my friends said simply this: if they at least treat work place covid case as simple as a WSIB incident, the employer will behave much differently, but they treat it like a flu case, or not even.

Those posts about government guidelines are just so out of touch, the guideline guide Canada from 0 case to 3k a day, LOL. guideline?
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Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2011
2702 posts
1274 upvotes
ChesterCheetoh wrote: Can't speak for all provinces, but Ontario MOL shot down COVID related work refusals back February. If your employer is following all requirements and recommendations from the local public health agency that is it. There is nothing else you can demand as an employee.
Do you have rights? Yes you do. There are there for all to see in your provincial Occupational Health and Safety legislation: the right to know, the right to participate and the right to refuse unsafe work.
If you think your employer is violating any of those, call the MOL. But if you are calling to complain about not working from home, don't expect a field visit. It won't happen.
This is what I don't understand, they shot down all of those claims previously, but on their updated lockdown FAQ, they are telling people to file a complaint if they believe they should be WFH.

The problem is, if you work for an 'essential employer', even if you have an office job, and the ability to WFH, the employer can just force you to come to work regardless for literally no reason.
Newbie
Nov 28, 2020
80 posts
76 upvotes
zzzz24 wrote: This is what I don't understand, they shot down all of those claims previously, but on their updated lockdown FAQ, they are telling people to file a complaint if they believe they should be WFH.

The problem is, if you work for an 'essential employer', even if you have an office job, and the ability to WFH, the employer can just force you to come to work regardless for literally no reason.
If you don't understand the difference between December 27 (when I made my comment) no stay at home orders and January 15 (your post) active stay at home orders, I can't help you.

If you can't understand the difference between reporting your employer and MOL not accepting work refusals, I can't help you.
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2011
2702 posts
1274 upvotes
ChesterCheetoh wrote: If you don't understand the difference between December 27 (when I made my comment) no stay at home orders and January 15 (your post) active stay at home orders, I can't help you.

If you can't understand the difference between reporting your employer and MOL not accepting work refusals, I can't help you.
I understand those things, thanks.

My point is there is really no point in filing a complaint as they are suggesting, if it’s most likely not going to go anywhere based on their prior response regarding covid work refusals, especially if you work for an essential workplace.

The stay at home order does not apply to essential work places, so in reality, there is no point in filing a complaint if they refuse to allow you to work from home.
Deal Fanatic
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Jan 31, 2006
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Toronto
zzzz24 wrote: I understand those things, thanks.

My point is there is really no point in filing a complaint as they are suggesting, if it’s most likely not going to go anywhere based on their prior response regarding covid work refusals, especially if you work for an essential workplace.

The stay at home order does not apply to essential work places, so in reality, there is no point in filing a complaint if they refuse to allow you to work from home.
You are correct. Its either you go to work or quit, There is no third option.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 27, 2006
822 posts
67 upvotes
Toronto
zzzz24 wrote: This is what I don't understand, they shot down all of those claims previously, but on their updated lockdown FAQ, they are telling people to file a complaint if they believe they should be WFH.

The problem is, if you work for an 'essential employer', even if you have an office job, and the ability to WFH, the employer can just force you to come to work regardless for literally no reason.
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