Attorney gives advice to employees, employers affected by COVID-19

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A Connecticut attorney has some legal advice for employers and employees affected by COVID-19.

Attorney Gary Phelan says their office has been flooded with calls about the virus.

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He says the most common questions are questions from people asking if they have to go to work because they think their co-workers have the virus.

Phelan says it's been difficult for employers to navigate how to treat employees and keep businesses open during the global pandemic.

"At least from what we are seeing is for the most part, employers are being flexible with employees. They aren't trying to force people to come to work, and they aren't tying to force attendance policies," Phelan says.

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He says employers don't legally have to let you work from home because your kids don't have school.

Feylan says HR in most companies are allowed to ask employees if they have symptoms of the virus like couching, or shortness of breath, but they cannot ask if anyone in your family has it.

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If you are diagnosed or spend time out of work because you are sick, Phelan says employers are advised to have you show them a doctor’s note before you return to work.

He says being furloughed means only temporary unemployment, but says an employer cannot tell you to not file for it.

"Unemployment is a relationship between you and the Department of Labor," Phelan says.

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