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Employers taking steps before Thanksgiving to prevent workers from spreading virus

Companies are limited in what they can do though
Posted at 3:19 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 17:12:15-05

As our country works to rebound, companies are managing the pressure of keeping workplaces safe.

Employers are taking precautions ahead of Thanksgiving with concerns about the coronavirus spreading over the holiday.

Companies are doing everything from issuing memos, reminding workers about the public health guidance on gatherings and travel, to asking workers to sign pledges they'll keep gatherings small.

But there are limits to how much say your boss has on what you're doing outside of work.

“They are allowed to inquire about what their travel plans might be, what their off-duty conduct might be and they can ask employees to disclose that information,” said Christine Lamb, an employment attorney with Fortis Law Partners.

Lamb says many states prevent employers from discriminating against workers who are doing things outside of work that are lawful.

But if you aren't following policies your work put in place for COVID-19, they can ask you to go through some type of coaching or counseling.

Lamb advises companies against checking in on their workers on social media.

“You might have an employee who is at a gathering of 50 people and they're not posting anything on social media. The employer might not know what's going on and another employee that posts a photograph of them with 10 people on social media, there's just a risk of that unequal application of the rules,” said Lamb.

She says one thing employers should be thinking about now is what does next week look like for the company post-Thanksgiving. That includes having a plan for people to work from home if that's possible.

One drug maker told the Wall Street Journal that it's offering workers a paid 2-week quarantine if they need it after the holiday, where they'll be expected to work from home.