“Joining together with other employees actually gets you more protections under federal law if you’re engaging in protected concerted activities with your coworkers to improve your working conditions,” Tung said. As states have started to open up, however, some people may find themselves getting called back to work but are reluctant to go. So legally, you probably have to go back to work. The photographer said he didn't have to go back to work, but he wanted to help the company keep operating. Q: We have been asked to return to work, but we do not believe the company has taken enough precautions to make it safe to work there. This article previously referred to the NLRB incorrectly as the National Labor Review Board. Many offices are developing plans to phase in bringing back workers, though some are going remote permanently or not expecting anyone back until at least 2021. - … There’s no broad right to refuse hazardous work in this country,” Tung said. 11:01 AM, Jun. Many people are concerned about their safety during the pandemic, but Kalish says that is not a legal reason to avoid going back to work. Be diplomatic and use “positive bookends” to frame your inquiry, recommends Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert based in Newport Beach and the author of the book “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.” In other words, start on a positive note (something like, “Of course, I’m happy to have a job to go back to, I’m just curious...”) and end on one too (“I’m sure we’re proceeding with everyone’s health and safety in mind, and I know we’ll all navigate this new challenge as a team.”). Wouldn’t this be better than the fluorescent lights and cubicles of your office? If there’s no one above them, or if that person won’t get involved, you have to make a choice about whether it’s worth your health to return to work. However, if the person developed coronavirus symptoms at any time after their first positive test result, they must meet the symptom-based criteria. 1 in 3 L.A. County residents have been infected by coronavirus since pandemic began, new estimate shows. Maybe your boss has mentioned the global pandemic in a way that makes you think they aren’t taking it particularly seriously. In most states, in general, yes you need to return to your place of employment if you want to keep your job. The CDC says employers also need to protect employees who were potentially exposed to someone who has the coronavirus, as they may be asymptomatic and may also develop symptoms within a few days. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says employers have the ability to "prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace," if they use best practices and implement preventative guidelines—which include determining when it's safe for an employee to return to work after they've had the coronavirus. If you’ve pushed back as a group and your boss still hasn’t budged, that’s the rare occasion that you should consider going over your boss’ head and asking their boss about what to do. Maybe you don’t know whether your workplace plans to enforce any safety precautions. Maybe you could propose working from home for another three months, at which point you’ll both revisit the arrangement. Coming to your boss and saying, “We have concerns,” is a lot more powerful than saying, “I have concerns.” It also offers you more legal protection from retaliation. 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