Employees refusing to wear masks at work can get fired without compensation

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An employee refusing to wear a face mask in the office can be fired without compensation, a daily Hürriyet columnist has suggested, saying the refusal to wear a covering amid the pandemic can be seen as directly violating an employment policy mandated by Turkish labor laws.

“It is a termination with a valid reason,” said columnist Ahmet Karabıyık, who spoke to an employer about the issue.

An employer asked Karabıyık whether there were the legal grounds to fire an employee who failed to wear a face mask at the office, where he has provided all 30 employees an ample number of masks for them to change frequently throughout the day.

Karabıyık believes the employer can rightfully penalize the employee because they are “endangering workplace safety, disobeying instructions and violating rules of the workplace.”

The policy is mandated in the country’s labor laws, which bestow responsibility on employees as much as employers on abiding by and ensuring workplace safety.

Karabıyık said a Supreme Court decision in 2011 can be a precedent, as workers disobeying such safety rules can be fired without any compensation normally paid to employees upon dismissal.

Hurriyet Daily News

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