Can employers force staff to return to work in person?

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions are disappearing on Saturday, so what does this mean for people working remotely?

Those soon-to-be lifted restrictions include capacity limits, so businesses will be allowed to return to 100 percent capacity. This means that employees can return to work.

22News spoke to John Gannon, a labor and employment law expert from Skoler Abbott, about whether workplaces can fire employees for not returning.

“Massachusetts is called an at-will state, meaning employers have to have any reason or no reason to terminate someone’s employment, as long as that reason is lawful. And if someone decides- I’m not going back to work and doesn’t have a valid legal reason for not returning, then yeah they could be subject from termination of employment,” Gannon said.

Employees will need to provide documentation from a medical provider if they can’t return to work for at-risk health reasons.

Additionally, Gannon asked that employers should still give their staff the option to wear a mask if they feel more comfortable doing so.

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