Masks at Work – the New Norm!
Do employees have to wear their masks all day?
The current rule, and things are changing daily, is that in Los Angeles County masks are required in the workplace unless social distancing can be ensured and workplace disinfecting along with handwashing is the norm.
The answer is “yes” an employee must wear a mask at work but can probably take the mask off if the employee has their own office, cubicle or space that is sufficiently distant from other employees.
What if one employee refuses to wear a mask?
If an employee refuses to wear a mask and social distancing is not an option the Employer must take steps to explain the rules to the employee and demand that a mask be worn. However, an Employer must also take into consideration the reason the employee refuses to wear a mask and whether it is valid or justifiable.
More importantly, if more than one employee refuses to wear a mask this can be considered a PROTECTED ACTION and a right of the Employees. Employers must tread carefully in this situation and seek legal advice so as not to get sued.
What if someone complains about an employee not wearing a mask?
An Employer, like in other work complaints, must engage in an interactive process and investigate the complaint. An Employer should document the complaint, speak to the Employee not wearing a mask, assess the situation and then determine whether a mask is required or not. Ignoring the situation will make it worse and open Employers up to lawsuits.
While Employers must follow State and County guidelines, they must also be aware of their own workplace environment and the requests of their Employees. If you think it is a minefield, it is. Contact Liat Cohen for advice on individual situations at 818.579.9996
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Liat Cohen, ESQ.
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