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What to Do When Off-Duty Employees Aren’t Social Distancing

October 29, 2020, SHRM

Lindsay Burke and Carolyn Rashby spoke with SHRM about the actions employers can take when employees are not social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Burke says, “Disciplining an employee for not wearing a mask while off duty or, for example, attending large events could violate these laws. But if a jurisdiction with an off-duty law has an executive order or health order requiring the wearing of masks or prohibiting large gatherings, then not wearing a mask or attending a large gathering could in fact be considered unlawful conduct and off-duty protections probably would not apply.”

Ms. Rashby says, “It's not going to be appropriate to impose discipline if an employee was seen in one picture not wearing a mask in a small group outdoors. It could be that the employee just took off the mask for a few minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, imposing a quarantine or taking disciplinary action might be warranted if an employee willfully attended multiple large indoor gatherings and refused to wear a face mask each time.”

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