Question: An employee is requesting a leave of absence due to fear of contracting the Ebola virus at work. How long may an employee be allowed to take leave and how long is the employer required to hold the position open?
Answer: The employee does not have job protection if he is taking a leave of absence only due to his fear of Ebola. Leave may be required under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only if the employee or an eligible family member becomes seriously ill as a result of the virus. If the company has a policy in place allowing employees time off for personal matters, then that policy could be applied in this case up to the duration of allowed time. If the company has no policy or past practice for allowing time off, the company may consider the time off request based on the needs of the business.