Do I have the right to refuse to work when my employer has not taken adequate steps to protect against transmission of COVID-19?

In some circumstances, yes. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, Act 154 of 1974 (MIOSH Act) affords employees the right to refuse to work under imminent danger situations. The refusal must be in good faith and there must not be enough time to contact MIOSHA. The employee must have sought and been unable to obtain from the employer, a correction of the condition. When an employee meets the criteria set forth above, the refusal is justifiable and thus an activity protected under Section 65 of the MIOSH Act.

If possible, an employee should bring the questionable conditions to the employer's attention. Nevertheless, if a dangerous condition in the workplace (1) clearly presents a risk of death or serious physical harm; (2) there is not sufficient time for MIOSHA to inspect; and (3) a worker has brought the condition to the attention of the employer where possible to do so, the worker has a legal right to refuse to work in a situation in which he or she would be exposed to the hazard.

If you believe your rights have been violated under Section 65, you may file a complaint with MIOSHA. Online complaints are preferred, complaints are generally not accepted via telephone unless it is an emergency. Michigan law prohibits an employer from firing an employee, or otherwise discriminating against an employee, for filing a complaint with MIOSHA.