What rights do I have when my employer stopped me from working from home when I was self-isolating after recovering from illness?

My work requires me to be in the office for about 20% of my duties. The rest can be done at home. After an illness, my doctor advised I stay away from others. I wanted to complete my work from home, but my employer said they wouldn’t allow me to.



Duncan, BC

Under human rights law, employers have a duty to accommodate their workers. That includes accommodating for a disability, which, at this time, arguably includes self-isolation because of coronavirus. 

So, if your employer stopped you from working right now and isn’t paying you, you may have the same rights as if you'd been fired outright. You would typically be entitled to severance pay. How much can depend on many factors. Check out our information on this. And you could also apply for emergency benefits while you look for a new job or continue to self-isolate.

There’s also now an unpaid, job-protected leave due to COVID-19 reasons. This means your job has to be there for you when you get back.

But the ball is in your court. Do you really want to leave your job right now, even if you’re entitled to severance pay? If it isn’t worth it, there are other options for dealing with this problem, like a frank discussion with your boss, or making an employment standards complaint.

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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