Published in Economic Development

Whitmer prohibits employers from taking action against workers showing symptoms

BY MIBIZ STAFF Friday, April 03, 2020 11:57am

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order today prohibiting employers from discharging, disciplining or otherwise retaliating against employees who show symptoms of or test positive for COVID-19, or are in close contact with someone who does.

“People who are prioritizing the health and safety of their families, neighbors, and loved ones during this crisis should not be punished by their workplace,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Staying home and staying safe is one of the most important things we can do to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, and this executive order will ensure more people can do so without facing discrimination from their workplace.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer COURTESY PHOTO

The order says employers must treat these employees as if they were taking medical leave under state law. The leave may be unpaid if the employee does not have paid leave time.

Whitmer’s order also declares that it’s state policy that residents who test positive for COVID-19, show symptoms or who live with someone who does should not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.

People who test positive or show symptoms must wait to leave their homes for three days after symptoms have been resolved, and seven days after the symptoms first appear or since a test showed a positive result. The individuals are allowed to leave the home for necessary food, medicine and supplies if it can’t be delivered.

The order exempts health care professionals and workers in a health care facility, first responders, child protective service employees, correctional officers and child care facility workers from staying at home if someone in the household tests positive or shows symptoms.

The order is in effect immediately and lasts until the end of Whitmer’s declared emergency “or until otherwise rescinded.”

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