Employers Can Fire You For Refusing to Do Your Job Because of Ebola
Do you clean out airplane cabins for a living? Are you a pizza guy who's worried your next customer may be carrying Ebola? If so, we're sorry to report that unless there's an immediate, demonstrated danger of contracting the deadly virus, refusing to do your job due to a perceived Ebola risk may not be the best idea. In fact, Texas's WOAI reports, it could result in your termination.
This has been a particularly hot topic among employment attorneys since Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan died in a Dallas, Tx. hospital last month, and the attending nationwide Ebola scare's taken flight. But according to lawyer Kimberly Moore, employers are in the clear liability-wise when it comes to disciplining hires who invoke Ebola as a reason for refusing work.
"I'm scared because I'm cleaning out airplanes, and somebody might have been here?" Moore told WOAI. "That's not gonna fly."
In every state but Montana, at-will employment laws allow companies to fire anyone who refuses to do an assignment. So unless you can prove that you're coming into direct contact with Ebola--unlikely, given that you're more likely to die of the flu--you're better off doing your job. Furthermore, any Ebola-related claims would most likely involve the person that caused the virus to be introduced, rather than an employer.
"Who caused this exposure, who didn't do their job in this case," said Moore. "There is going to have to be a lot of finger-pointing. It is not likely to be your employer unless you can find something that they did wrong."
As for the worried pizza guys of the world, don't worry--you can't contract Ebola through casual contact. So you can put away that hazmat suit, already.