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On-site work for employees with at-risk cohabitees: Brazilian court rules they can stay away

Written by
Veirano Advogados, one of the leading and most renowned Brazilian business and employment law firms.
A Brazilian court has ruled employees who live with someone in a high-risk group for Covid-19 cannot be required to return to on-site work.

A recent decision by the Labour Court of Santos, State of São Paulo, granted an injunctive relief to stop a bank from calling on employees to resume in-office work if they live with individuals who are in a Covid-19 risk group. The case was opened by the trade union against the public bank, Banco do Brasil, and the injunctive relief was granted until further revision by the court or the expiration of the ‘state of calamity’ (31 December 2021).

The bank has not yet provided its defence but the case is already inspiring review and debate about elements that might influence other decisions similar or contrary to this.  These include:

  • the possibility of performing the job on a remote, teleworking regime;
  • the possibility of suspending an employee’s employment agreement under the transitional emergency programme introduced to manage workforce in the context of the Covid-19 crisis (Law 14,020/2020)
  • conditions to validly identify workers living with individuals who are in a Covid-19 risk group.
José Carlos Wahle
Partner - Brazil
Veirano Advogados