Employers who require employees to travel to regions afflicted by the Zika virus could potentially face legal risks if employees of reproductive age contract the virus while traveling for work. The mosquito-borne virus can cause microcephaly and other birth defects to a fetus which presents a significant health risk to women in early stages of pregnancy or those considering pregnancy. The virus can also be contracted through sexual contact which could put female partners of male employees traveling to Zika-affected areas at risk as well.
Employees may not want to inform their employers of plans to become pregnant; therefore, employers should inform all employees who may be asked to travel to Zika zones of the known risks. Employers cannot bar female employees from travelling to afflicted regions without violating pregnancy and gender discrimination laws; however, if workers are forced to perform risky work without proper precautions in a Zika zone, employers could face negligence lawsuits if an employee contracts the virus. Workers may also be eligible to collect Workers’ Compensation if they contract Zika while traveling for work.
Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates offer free case evaluations to employees who believe they have been subjected to unfair treatment, harassment or discrimination at work. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to speak to an experienced Philadelphia employment lawyer.