Can We Ask an Employee Who Has a Family Member Who Has Been Diagnosed With, or Is Suspected to Have, Covid-19 Not to Come in to Work?Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 3 March 2020
If the employee has been in close contact with the family member, for example, lives with them, it would be a reasonable request for an employer to ask the employee to self-isolate. However, it is likely in such a scenario, the employee would wish to self-isolate anyway.
In contrast, if an employer simply asks an employee to stay at home because of the relationship between the employee and sick relative, without any reasonable evidence of contact between them, this is unlikely to be an appropriate course of action.
Furthermore, this could lead to possible claims for disability discrimination on the basis of the employee's association to a person with a disability and/or claims for breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence.
This scenario highlights the importance of clear communication with the workforce and also to ensure a consistency in approach to help reduce any claims of alleged discrimination or breach of contract.
More on Health & Safety
- Byrne v Aware Defeat Depression Ltd 
- Workplace Wellbeing, Mental Health & Resilience Podcast (Ep 9) - Positive Psychology Perspective: Building Resilience & Maximising Your Energy
- Workplace Wellbeing, Mental Health & Resilience Podcast (Ep 8) - Boosting your Working Parents’ Wellbeing and Resilience from Bright Horizons
- Workplace Wellbeing, Mental Health & Resilience Podcast (Ep 7) - QUBeWell: Creating a Mental Health Wellbeing Strategy for Queen’s Staff and Students
- Hiddleston v Highland Country Buses Ltd 
The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.