Answer: Employees who get Covid-19 at work may be able to get worker's compensation coverage but compensability will be on a case-by-case basis.
You should immediately report your illness to your employer and ask to make a worker's compensation claim if you were exposed at work while working. You should call a Vermont worker's compensation lawyer to ask whether you are entitled to worker's compensation benefits.
In Vermont, occupational diseases can be work injuries covered by worker's compensation if the disease results from conditions characteristic of and particular to your job, if the employee is not ordinarily exposed to the disease outside of employment, and if the disease arises out of and in the course of employment. A Vermont employee must prove that he or she contracted Covid-19 at work, or while doing a work related activity, in order for it to be covered by worker's compensation.
Vermont law has further protections for first responders. Under 21 V.S.A. Section 601 (11)(H)(i), firefighters and members of a rescue or an ambulance squads who get an infectious disease after a documented occupational exposure in the line of duty shall be presumed to be compensable, unless it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the disease was caused by nonservice-connected risk factors or nonservice-connected exposure. This means that first responders who get Covid-19 due to exposure from a sick person while working likely have a presumptive compensable worker's compensation claim unless there is proof they contracted the coronavirus from a non-work related exposure.
If you have questions or believe that you contracted Covid-19 at work, I offer free phone consultations and can be reached at (802)764-3020 Extension 1.
Please wash your hands, stay home and stay healthy!