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Work From Home Mandate Expires in Minnesota on April 15

On March 12, Governor Walz issued an Executive Order to ease up some COVID-19 restrictions affecting the state of Minnesota. The most noteworthy of these restrictions to be relaxed was the work from home order affecting the state.

As of April 15, that work from home requirement will be discontinued.

What Employees and Employers need to know

Minnesota employers have been required since early in the pandemic to have all employees work from home who were capable of doing so. The latest Executive Order removes this requirement. While employers may still require employees to work from home, they are no longer under any obligation to do so.

The language instead changes to employers being “strongly encouraged” to allow employees who can work from home to continue to do so.

Working from Home
Before April 15, 2021

Employees who can work from home must work from home. If an employee is told to return to the office or have been going into the office but can clearly complete their work from home, the employee can take these steps:

Inform their employer that returning to work violates the Governor’s Executive Orders and that the employee request that they continue to work from home, so they are not violating the Governor’s orders.

An employee can file a lawsuit against your employer under the state’s whistleblower law, if the employer retaliates against the employee for requesting to work from home or reporting the violations to the Department of Public Safety.

After April 15, 2021

The Work from Home order expires on April 15, 2021. Beginning April 15, employers may request that employees return to their workplaces. However, employers are strongly encouraged to allow employees who are able to work from home to continue to work from home.

If an employee has a disability that affects their risk for contracting COVID-19 or being harmed if they do contract the virus, they have the right to request a reasonable accommodation from their employer.

Employers in the state are also “strongly encouraged to implement reasonable accommodations for at-risk employees or employees with one or more members of their households who have underlying medical conditions and are not yet eligible for vaccination.”

If an employee has a disability that affects their risk for contracting COVID-19 or being harmed if they do contract the virus (such as diabetes, a compromised immune system, or pregnancy), they have the right to request a reasonable accommodation from their employer.

A reasonable accommodation could include shifting working hours, moving workstations, or working from home.

When requesting a reasonable accommodation, an employee should describe the nature of the accommodation requested and how it will assist them in performing the essential functions of their job.

Holden Law Firm represents employees and small businesses exclusively with employment law matters. Contact Holden Law Firm and ask to speak to John Holden to discuss your employment law questions.

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