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5 questions to ask your employer before you head into the office

Consumer Reports – “Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—have issued guidance on how employers can make their workplaces safer for employees. But at the moment, these guidelines are just suggestions. “You can’t enforce them . . . because it’s completely voluntary,” says Jonathan Karmel, J.D., a union labor lawyer and the author of “Dying to Work: Death and Injury in the American Workplace. “Some state and local officials have stepped into this vacuum. In New York, for example, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that turns recommendations from the CDC guidelines, such as developing a regular cleaning and disinfection plan and maintaining social distancing, into enforceable standards. In the absence of unified rules, the legal minimum for what you can expect if you return to work depends on your state and jurisdiction. That said, even in areas where there aren’t COVID-specific regulations in place, employees should feel empowered to ask either the owner of the company or someone in its human resources department, “What steps do you have in place to protect us as the workers?” says Tina Tan, M.D., a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, and a board member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “They have all the right in the world to ask that question.” George Slover, senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports, agrees. “Returning workers need to be absolutely confident that their employer is doing everything it reasonably can to protect them,” he says. “People should know that their health and safety is a top priority.” Here are five issues to discuss with your employer if you’ve been asked to return to work…” [h/t Pete Weiss]


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