By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Can a company force a sick employee to stay home?
In a Simpsons episode from 1994, Homer Simpson calls out sick from work and is told: if you don’t come in tomorrow, don’t bother coming in Monday. To which he responds: Woo Hoo! Four day weekend.
Twenty years later, the issue is reversed: employers want to know if they can send a sick worker home for fear that he is transmitting a cold, flu, or ebola.
The answer is yes, employers are allowed to have policies that, provided they don’t discriminate against people with disabilities, prevent sick employees from infecting the workplace by telling sick workers to stay home.
The problem for many workers is that unless they’re covered by a collective bargaining agreement or they live in San Francisco, DC, Seattle, Milwaukee or Connecticut – where employers are required to give accrued paid sick days – they don’t have to be paid for the time they are forced to take off.
That said, several cities and states have paid sick bills pending in the legislature. And ultimately the day of pay you may lose while you get better is less than the cost of getting sick from every other drone in sector 7g who comes in and infects you.