Restricting Employee Travel During COVID-19: Yea or Nay?

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 37 no. 17, August 18, 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
An employee submits a time off request for a week in late September. In a conversation with a co-worker, the employee says she is going to a wedding in a state known to be a coronavirus hotspot. The co-worker contacts HR and asks if your company will require the employee to self-quarantine for 14 days upon her return. If not, the co-worker says he wants permission to work from home for those two weeks himself because he is concerned about COVID-19 transmission from his colleague.

As COVID-19 shows little sign of disappearing this fall, employers who are bringing employees back to onsite work will need to consider their stance on personal travel by employees. Should they attempt to restrict personal travel? Require employees to report personal travel? Impose requirements for self-quarantine?

These are questions employers across the country are wrestling with as they establish policies and procedures to keep employees and customers healthy and safe. “As employees report to work, both employees and employers are concerned that employees who engage in personal travel to areas affected by COVID-19 may jeopardize the safety of the workplace,” Joseph McNelis III and Samuel Haaz, attorneys with Fox Rothschild, say in a client alert.