What if an Employee Refuses to Wear a Mask?

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What if an Employee Refuses to Wear a Mask?

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Walnut Creek California Employment Attorney


If you are a California employer, your COVID-19 safety policies should be in line with Cal/OSHA recommendations. These currently include that employers should provide masks for unvaccinated employees to wear indoors and in vehicles with others. Vaccinated employees are not required to wear masks, but it is recommended. All employees should wear masks and distance themselves in a possible outbreak situation. Employers also have the option to require masking for all employees as a general rule.

While these policies seem straightforward, many companies are getting pushback from employees who do not want to comply with employer requirements. What are your options as an employer in this situation?

First, inquire whether the employee has a lawful reason not to wear a mask. These might include:

  • A legitimate medical condition
  • Sincerely-held religious beliefs

Evaluating whether an employee has a valid reason – or is simply making something up to avoid a mask – can be a sensitive issue. If an employee does have a legitimate medical or religious reason, you should look into reasonable accommodations instead of mark requirements.

If an employee does not qualify for an accommodation and still refuses to comply with mask policies, companies have the right to take disciplinary action. However, expect employees to accuse employers of unlawful discrimination or wrongful termination in this complex climate. It can be wise to discuss any disciplinary action with a Walnut Creek employment lawyer to reduce the chances of legal action from the employee.

Speak with a Walnut Creek California Employment Attorney Today

Today’s employment landscape is difficult enough without concerns over non-compliance by employees with mask and COVID-19 safety policies. If you have concerns about your workforce or compliance issues, a Walnut Creek California employment attorney at Yudien Law, PC can help. Contact us for a consultation today about our legal services for employers in California.

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