Quarantine and Isolation: Selected Legal Issues Relating to Employment [May 11, 2009]   [open pdf - 196KB]

"Recent human cases of infection with a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus have been identified both internationally and in the United States. There has been human to human transmission and the new virus has the potential to become pandemic. The emergence of this virus, in addition to other potential pandemic threats such as the avian influenza A (H5N1) virus, has given rise to issues relating to the use of quarantine and isolation. Questions relating to employment are among the most significant issues since if individuals fear losing their employment or their wages, compliance with public health measures such as isolation or quarantine may suffer. Although the common law doctrine of employment-at-will, which allows an employer to terminate an employee from employment for any reason other than those prohibited by statute, is generally applicable, there is an exception to this doctrine for public policy reasons. This report will examine the employment-at-will doctrine, possible application of the public policy exception in the case of a potential influenza pandemic, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and possible application of the nondiscrimination mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33609
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