What rights do I have as a MRSA carrier in the workplace in California

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What rights do I have as a MRSA carrier in the workplace in California

I told my manager that I had MRSA and she told the store owner, who called the
health department about my condition. Now my managers are on me about my
medication, asking me where I break out and even expressing concerns about
sharing things with me like the bathroom. They ask me about scars I have and what
theyre from and a coworker told me that what I had was worse than aids. This job
has become miserable for me. Do I have any rights about my medical privacy any
more since I told my manager what I had? I know theyre going to say its safety
concerns for the customers and the people I work with, but if thats the really the
case, why doesnt a doctor just put me on disability or something?

Asked on March 21, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

MRSA is potentially contagious by touch, so your employer has a legitimate right and interest to inquire into issues affecting the health and safety of other employees or customers; your right to privacy does not trump other people's rights to health or safety, or the company's right to not be sued if someone becomes infected by exposure to a person whom the employer knows has MRSA. Their questions are reasonable and allowable under the circumstances.
It is not their obligation to "place" you on disability; disability is something *you* apply for if you cannot work (not merely find work unpleasant), such as if you are terminated for having MRSA. (Some employers do help with disability applications and paperwork, but they don't have to.) Here is a link to a state government webpage with information about eligibility, applying for disability, etc.:http://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/

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