Can I leave a worksite due to a bedbug infestation, can I be fired?

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Can I leave a worksite due to a bedbug infestation, can I be fired?

I work for an in-home healthcare agency and last weekend they sent me to a client’s home that had bed bugs. I brought them home with me. I found out the agency had known about them for weeks yet sent me anyway. The house was fumigated 5 days ago and tonight is my first night back but they are still everywhere. I already have several bites.

Asked on October 22, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract or union agreement that gives you protection under the circumstances? If not then you are an "at will" employee. This means that you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. Additionally, as an in-home health care worker, working off the job and leaving a client is not advisable. Depending on the circumstances, you may leave yourself open to legal liability.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless you have a written employment contract protecting or guarantying your employment, you are an "employee at will" and may be terminated at any time, for any reason whatsoever, including leaving a worksite due to bedbugs. There is essentially no job protection for employees at will.


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