Should you go to work when you are sick? - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Should you go to work when you are sick?

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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No one likes to get sick or get anyone else sick. But according to a new study, 90 percent of workers come to work sick.

We wanted to find out what doctors are saying about it and what the law says about it.

It seems every work place has one - the person who comes to work and coughs everywhere. At FOX13 News, it's producer Nicole Johnson. "Oh is it me?" Johnson asked.

FACEBOOK: Be honest, have you ever gone to work sick? What do you think when someone else does?

"I think in the setting we're in, it's kind of hard to just kind of pinpoint one person. Yeah there is one person but that doesn't mean that person is sick or contagious," Johnson said.

We talked with Dr. Mark Castellaw and he said this year he's seeing more sick patients who know they're sick. He says they ask for a sick note for one day, when they really need to take off three days. "But oftentimes they're going do what they want to do because they just can't afford to be off more than a day," Dr. Castellaw said.

Dr. Castellaw says this is one of the worst flu seasons he's seen. "One of the interesting things that we've seen this year has to do with the cases of H1N1 (type A flu) in people who have had a flu shot," he said.
 
Brandon Leslie practices labor law in Tennessee and Mississippi. When asked what the law says about people who come to work sick he said, "There really isn't much. I have never heard of an instance where there's been a prosecution or some type of action against an employee for knowingly coming into work sick," Leslie said. But he says an employer could go to court and get a restraining order to keep a sick employee from coming into work, or they could use a trespass statute to force an employee to leave.

On the other hand, if you do call in sick, you don't always get paid. Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi don't have paid sick leave laws. "You don't want to miss work, but you also don't - sometimes you may feel like you're well enough when you wake up. Sometimes throughout the course of the day, it changes," Johnson said. And there can be a pressure to come to work. "If your company allows sick time, that would be a valid, binding contract and you could sue if there was a retaliation or termination as a result of a violation of that policy," Leslie stated.
He also reminded us of the Family Medical Leave Act that protects your job while you're seriously sick, up to six months.

"If you don't let yourself get well, you're going to be out longer than you would if you would stay home and get well," said Dr. Castellaw.

Studies show someone can be contagious up to five days after their symptoms are gone and a couple of days before symptoms start.

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