Can my work tell me I have to take off my face mask and gloves when I am handling files?

Or do I have the right to say I am uncomfortable? 



Chilliwack, BC

The law in BC says you can refuse to work if it presents an “undue hazard” to the health and safety of any person. An undue hazard is an “unwarranted, inappropriate, excessive, or disproportionate” risk — one that is above and beyond the potential exposure someone would face through regular, day-to-day activity. 

This will depend highly on the situation. Currently, with the prevalent public health hazard, you are on solid ground saying you want to wear a mask and gloves to protect yourself. That said, if your employer is following the guidelines of public health officials, and you refuse to work simply because you’re not comfortable around other people, you could be seen to be quitting your job. Tread carefully. Best to discuss the situation and your concerns openly with your employer to work out a path forward. 

Want to learn more about your legal rights during the coronavirus pandemic? We've compiled responses to the most common questions people are asking

David Kandestin

David Kandestin

People's Law School
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in December 2021

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