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Workplace safety amid COVID-19

Todd M Friedman work safety covid 19With many nonessential businesses now closed in California, many office employees have yet to return to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At some point, when offices do reopen, work life still will be different. What can employees expect once they need to return to the office? Will you have to return if you have a health condition that puts you more at risk? Or you have children at home participating in virtual learning?

Safety measures

Some of the coronavirus workplace safety measures employees should expect when offices reopen include the following:

  • Workstation setups that allow for social distancing
  • Transparent plastic shields where distancing employees from visitors isn’t possible
  • Hand sanitizing stations and the opportunity to disinfect your workspace more often
  • No community coffee pots or bulk snacks
  • Disabled water fountains (unless they have no-touch activation)
  • Increased ventilation and natural ventilation (open windows) if possible
  • Staggered start times and break times, to limit the number of people in communal areas
  • Self-reporting of any symptoms of COVID-19 and perhaps daily temperature checks before beginning work
  • Online video meetings or meetings held outside

Accommodations for those with health issues or children

If you have a health condition that makes you more at risk to contract COVID-19, you need to inform your manager and your human resources department. You may need to ask to continue teleworking for the foreseeable future.

If you have children who are participating in virtual learning this year, you also will need to check with your employer to see if they will allow you to continue to telework.

Employers don’t have to allow more telework once they reopen, but many will have employees who need to. If you feel you are being treated unfairly by employer about returning to the office or your employer isn’t following CDC safety protocols, you should contact an employment law attorney to see what your options are. The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented situation, and California is a employee-friendly labor law state, which may help in getting any workplace safety issues resolved.

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