Employers who may be faced with any level of viral or other infections in the workplace need to understand the intersection of laws and the balancing of employee rights versus duties of the employer to its workplace.
An employee with Coronavirus or any type of infection would likely be covered under ADA (as amended) and if applicable to the employer, Family Medical Leave (federal and/or state).
ADA: Under ADA, an employee with Coronavirus, exposed to Coronavirus or even thought to be exposed could fall under the definition of a Qualified Individual with a Disability. An employer can make inquiries of such individual if such inquiry is job related and consistent with business necessity and then must follow the ADA guidelines pertaining to medical records.
However if the employer determines that the employee is a direct threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others in the workplace, the employer can require the employee to disclose all relevant health information. Also remember that an employer can require an employee to undergo medical testing based upon a reasonable belief that an employee may have been exposed to an infectious disease such as Coronavirus and is demonstrating some symptoms.
FML: Don't forget about any intersection of family medical leave (FML) for employers who may be covered. This type of situation would likely trigger federal and any state FMLA and the rights employees have under such laws.
What about keeping a healthful work environment for all employees under OSHA? When exposure to infectious diseases such as Coronavirus is likely, employers should take certain precautions to remain compliant with its duties owed under OSHA. Employers at this time should look to the CDC's guidance which is based on industry standards as well as state health departments.
There is no doubt there is a lot to consider as an employer, especially if such employers are in the hospitality and food service industries. But having a well thought out and communicated "plan" in place to address these types of situations is well advised to keep the workplace calm, keep employees focused on work and keep the company profitable.