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A nurse puts on protective gear during the night shift in the intensive care unit exclusively for COVID-19 patients at the Ixelles Hospital in Brussels. Photo: Aris Oikonomou/AFP

COVID-19: Can a nurse legally refuse to work?

Nurses are presently working amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But can a nurse legally refuse to work? Most nurses are employed pursuant to a contract of employment. This is a legally binding arrangement between the employer and nurse. It sets out the terms (and there are implied terms also) concerning the legal obligations that both parties have towards each other. Of course, every contract cannot take into account every eventuality. Hence the terms of mutual obligation are drafted broadly and generically.

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