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Can you walk off the job if you feel unsafe? Can they force you to stay at home?

Written by: Kabous le Roux

Companies should base their Covid-19 policies on official advice from the Department of Health.

What if your employer won’t let you work?

Say a colleague of yours tests positive for the coronavirus – you went into quarantine and tested negative, yet your company orders you to stay away.

What are your rights in this regard?

Refilwe Moloto asked Jeremy Crawford (a labour lawyer at Crawford and Associates) about the rights of workers (e.g. those being urged to stay away from the office for longer than required by the government, and those who feel unsafe at work).

Employers may ask for a [Covid-19] test pre-entry back into the workplace. It would be reckless not to do so…

Jeremy Crawford, labour lawyer - Crawford and Associates

It becomes the employer’s responsibility [if an employee can’t afford a Covid-19 test] …

Jeremy Crawford, labour lawyer - Crawford and Associates

There’s no onus on customers. What the filthiest thing in a restaurant? The menu!

Jeremy Crawford, labour lawyer - Crawford and Associates

Casual and permanent workers have the same rights as far as this is concerned…

Jeremy Crawford, labour lawyer - Crawford and Associates

You’ve got to put some onus on the employee… if employers aren’t providing [protective] equipment, then you should do so, and claim that… Take it up with the employer directly and immediately! Say it’s an ultimatum… it could be a strikable issue.

Jeremy Crawford, labour lawyer - Crawford and Associates

Listen to the interview in the audio below.


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Can you walk off the job if you feel unsafe? Can they force you to stay at home?




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