Ebola and Employer Obligations
10 November 2014
Mayer Brown JSM Legal Update
The outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (“Ebola”) in West Africa has received considerable media attention as it begins to spread outside of Africa. In August 2014, the Government of Hong Kong confirmed that Ebola is grouped under Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (“VHF”), which is one of the notifiable diseases under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (“PCDO”). This means medical practitioners are under a statutory obligation to notify the Director of Health of any suspected or confirmed case of Ebola.
While there are no recorded cases in Hong Kong so far (and we hope there will not be), it is worth reminding ourselves of an employer’s legal obligations and prepare for the unfortunate event should Ebola reach Hong Kong. In this update are some Q&As on an employer’s obligation in dealing with an Ebola outbreak including, what are an employer’s legal obligations, can an employer direct an employee to go home or stay at home if there is an outbreak, can an employee be directed to see a doctor and can an employer screen employees and customers before entering its premises?