M2D Partner Mike Muskat was quoted in the Houston Chronicle article about the legal and practical issues regarding employer travel guidelines for the holidays in connection with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
While employers can legally require employees who travel during the holidays to quarantine or test negative before they return to work, Muskat offered insight into why many businesses are choosing to go a different route.
“Since March, the CDC has loosened its guidance and it’s become clear the pandemic is everywhere,” Muskat said. “I think employers are starting to realize it’s really hard to try to actually regulate travel.”
While some local companies, including Houston Methodist Hospital, Memorial Hermann Hospital, Rice University and NRG, are leaving travel decisions up to the employee, Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center does have some travel restrictions in place for its employees.
Muskat said he’s not surprised given the risks within a hospital setting. He also said MD Anderson is well within its rights. “There’s nothing that says employers cannot tell employees that if they travel, for example, they will have to stay out of the office for a certain period of time.”
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