Off-duty COVID behavior: What you can & cannot legally require from workers.

Date01 March 2021

To prevent employees from bringing COVID into the workplace, how far can you legally go in limiting their off-duty activities? Here are some do's and don'ts:

Demand employees follow virus-avoidance rules. You can strongly encourage employees to follow CDC or state guidelines during nonworking hours--and discipline them for failing to do so. Example: A nurse was fired after she posted a TikTok video bragging about traveling and not wearing a mask.

Restrict travel. Some employers have policies that prohibit personal travel out of the area during the pandemic. If you establish a travel ban, apply the rules uniformly. Be able to articulate a clear justification for your policy.

Check the law in states where you operate. California, for example, generally prohibits restrictions on otherwise legal activities (such as travel) when employees are not at work. An outright ban might violate such laws.

However, nothing prevents...

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