The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) has launched an Ebola Web Page for employers providing
information on Ebola and how to protect workers.
OSHA states that workers, including healthcare and airline
workers, performing tasks involving close contact with symptomatic
individuals with Ebola, or who work in environments contaminated or
reasonably anticipated to be contaminated with infectious body
fluids, are at risk of exposure.
OSHA's guidance includes information on hazard recognition,
medical information, standards, and control and prevention.
OSHA has also issued a "Fact Sheet" called "Cleaning and
Decontamination of Ebola on Surfaces: Guidance for Workers and
Employers in Non-Healthcare/Non-Laboratory Settings".
Employers – particularly those whose workers may be at
greater risk of exposure to Ebola – should prepare a plan for
dealing with Ebola, including the logistics of telecommuting
arrangements. Employers' obligation under health and safety
legislation to take every precaution reasonable in the
circumstances for the protection of workers, includes an obligation
to take reasonable precautions relating to infectious diseases.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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