What are my rights if I own a daycare center and have an employee that has a chronic case of head lice?

She has spread it to several children and staff. I have sent her home repeatedly to get treated. Can I do some time of contact saying she can’t come back to work until the head lice are gone, she has a doctor’s note or even she has so many days to rectify the situation and then she is fired? I would like to know what my rights are in dealing with this situation.

Asked on October 15, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, South Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have a written employment contract with her which only allows you to terminate her for certain reasons and this is not one of them or requires some process or procedure to terminate her which you must follow, she is an employee at will and you could terminate her at any time, for any reason, including chronically bringing lice into a daycare center.
Or you could suspend her until she clears up the lice and provides proof of it. Or putting the above together with an employer's right to put any terms or conditions the employer likes on employment, you can give her a written notice and/or a short agreement for her to sign stating that if she returns again with head lice, she will be terminated. 

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