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Can Employers Require You to Wear (or Take Off) a Mask at Work?

sick woman with colorful socks and tissues blowing her nose

By candy1812

  Can an Employer Require You to Wear a Mask at Work? Yes, in the vast majority of situations. Most private employers are subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) and the regulations derived from this law. Under the OSH Act and its regulations, employers must determine if the workplace exposes employees to hazards that warrant the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks. If the employer concludes that face masks are necessary, they may require employees to wear them. Can an Employer Require You to Take Off a Mask at Work? Yes, but only when the mask is not necessary to protect your health and safety. In most situations, employers will have the discretion to decide when employees must wear a mask or other form of personal protective equipment (PPE). Outside the health care context, you can expect that most employers will have the ability to prohibit employees from wearing masks on the job. An exception may apply if a particular employee has a disability recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) or equivalent state or local law. In this situation, an employer may need to allow you to wear your mask if it constitutes a reasonable accommodation for your disability and that accommodation doesn’t place an undue burden on your employer.

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