Recently, there was a local passionate post from someone who was terminated from their employer for speaking up about a coworker testing positive for COVID-19 and the need for sanitization and notification. The Owner evidently didn’t appreciate their opinion. As an HR professional, what instantly comes to mind is the Duty of Care requirement in the OSHA regulations. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees. Employees are protected under these regulations from retaliation for voicing their concerns. OSHA covers nearly all employers in the United States.
What is an employer to do? The Supreme Court didn’t uphold the 100 employee vaccine and testing mandate. Employers now must make a decision on how they will have a “duty of care” when it comes to COVID-19 and the continued pandemic. Employers need to do the right thing….but what is that right thing?
In the case above, cleaning the workspace and notifying employees and customers certainly is required. What if they fail to clean? What if there isn’t such notification, and an employee or customer infects an immunocompromised family member? Or, without notification, the employee or customer continues their daily activities and infects many more people than if they knew they were exposed?
The “duty of care” is so much more than a governmental regulation. In a sense, it is an ethical, responsible way of running a business. Do you and your management take this “duty” seriously?
Thanks for listening,