The recent Novel Coronavirus outbreak, which began in China, has led to many concerned workers and employers here in Indiana and across the U.S. Some may be tempted to ask their employers to keep any fellow workers who have been to China away from their office or cubicles. However, this is not permitted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Title VII prohibits discrimination based on national origin
Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate against workers based on their race or national origin. Furthermore, you can’t fire, demote or take other actions simply because someone is associated with a member of a certain race or who is a foreign national. In other words, it’s illegal to use the Coronavirus as an excuse to target people of Chinese descent.
Employees should know that harassment will not be tolerated
It is important that workers understand that harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated. This should generally come from the top down. Management should also help workers understand the signs that a person may be legitimately sick. It is also vital that staff members understand what to do if someone does display signs of being ill so that the problem can be contained in a timely manner.
Sick workers may be kept out of work
If there is a legitimate reason to keep a person out of work, employers generally have the right to take such action. For instance, if an employee is sneezing, coughing or has a fever, it may be possible to have that person seek medical treatment.
Those who believe that they have been victims of work discrimination of any kind, may want to file a lawsuit or take other legal action. An attorney could explain a worker’s rights under Title VII or other applicable employment statutes.