Is it legal if my employer informed me that because I have bed bugs in my home, that I cannot come into the building?

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Is it legal if my employer informed me that because I have bed bugs in my home, that I cannot come into the building?

I am losing pay and feeling mortified. Can they do this? I’m trying to get rid of them in my home.

Asked on October 21, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is seems to be completely legal
1) Employment is "employment at will," unless you have an employment contract. (If you do and it is being violated, you could take legal action, if necessary, to enforce its terms.)
2) If you're an employee at will, you can be terminated, or furloughed, suspended, told to not come in, etc. at any time, for any reason, unless there is some specific protection for you.
3) However, there is no protection for people with bedbugs--that is not a protected group or category.
4) And not letting someone with bedbugs come in is not unreasonable in any event--it is a reasonable precaution to prevent bedbugs from being spread to the workplace, and employers may take steps to protect the cleanliness, health, etc. of their businesses.
It appears, therefore, that this is legal.


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