Recently Crate & Barrel sent out an email to customers that if they preferred not have their delivery team wear mask, that they should call the company and the company would arrange to have a team of employees who were not wearing masks deliver their items.
While we all appreciate good customer service, what does this mean for the delivery team members or other non-essential workers who would prefer, for their own protection, to wear masks? What if the Crate & Barrel are required to deliver big, heavy pieces of furniture into homes that have recently, or currently have the COVID-19 virus?
More unsettling, is the fact that people who have the virus can be asymptomatic yet contagious.
Your rights as an employee during COVID- 19
On April 7, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti’s Work Protection Order went into effect. In a nutshell, this Order states that all non-essential workers also wear masks: “I am ordering further protections for our non-medical essential workers, requiring them to wear non-medical grade face coverings while performing
their work.” These non-essential workers include:
- Hardware store employees
- Plumbers, electricians, HVAC workers
- Grocery, convenience and supermarket store workers
- Pet food suppliers and pet medical providers
- Taxis, ride sharing services, car rental companies
- Transportation workers
- Hotel, motel and shared rental unit workers
- Other food and social service workers
As a worker who comes in close contact with people who may be infected, for example in the closed confines of a small car, it would seem reasonable that you would want to wear a mask.
This is especially true if you also come in contact with family members who have compromised immune systems (such as asthma, COPD, lung cancer or who are in the recovery stages of cancer treatment, for example). You do have the right to refuse to do a job or work that puts you in danger. In this instance you can:
- Ask your employer to eliminate the danger.
- Refuse to work “in good faith” because of the potential danger.
- Request that the danger be assessed by an outside agency.
If you are worried about losing your full time job or have lost your job because your employer is not allowing you to protect yourself or is refusing to protect you from a hazard or danger, it is in your best interest to speak with a California employment law attorney.