Suspect someone has COVID at your workplace? Here’s what you can (and can’t) do

How should businesses notify employees about COVID in workplace?

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - As cases grow and the pandemic stretches into its sixth month, many employees of Tri-State companies are worried their employers aren’t informing them about COVID-19 cases.

But according to employment attorney Kelly Myers, businesses aren’t legally required to do so.

That’s right: Businesses are under no legal obligation to tell employees if there are positive cases of COVID-19 in the workplace.

That doesn’t mean it’s not encouraged. Still, if there is a positive case, it’s against HIPPA rules to name the employee in question.

Myers says employees can always call their local health department with concerns, but the health department can’t say whether there have been cases at specific businesses.

Labs and doctors are required to report positive cases to the health department so they can contact trace.

Myers says the department will contact you if you have been within 6 feet of an infected co-worker for 15 minutes or more 48 hours before their symptoms began.

“If you’re working somewhere that has hundreds of employees and 20 or 30,000 feet of space, there may be positive employees you will not know about,” Myers said.

And if you are still nervous, Myers says you may still be covered if you leave your job.

Generally, an employee is not eligible for unemployment benefits if they quit. But during the COVID emergency, Gov. Mike DeWine’s order says those who meet certain requirements, such as being high risk or having a doctor’s recommendation, can still get benefits.

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