Essential worker Ben was slightly taken aback one morning when he attempted to log on to his work computer and was greeted with a series of statements with which he had to agree before completing log in.
“It said things like, ‘I’ve not had a fever in the last 72 hours, I haven’t had any of the following symptoms, or been around anyone who has tested positive.’ I further had to agree that I only cough into my sleeve, and that I use a hand sanitizer with a minimum alcohol content of 60%,” reported Ben. “Of course, I couldn’t complete log in if I didn’t agree, and failure to adhere to the requirements meant potential disciplinary action.”
Such is the state of employer/employee relations in these challenging times. Human resources departments across the country are dealing with potential liability brought on by sick employees.
“Now, more than ever, covering the old rump is the name of the game,” said one personnel manager who wished to remain anonymous. “This is coming straight from the top. Deflecting all responsibility onto the employee for what happens in our workplace is the only thing that stands between corporate and an epidemic of lawsuits.”
Essential Ben agrees that it seems like management’s approach to the pandemic is to blame employees. “I gotta sign a release to use the restroom, promising to limit the length of time I spend relieving myself, and to wash my hands only with an approved anti-bacterial foaming soap in a prescribed manner for a set duration of time. Of course, failure to comply could result in disciplinary action.”
“Yeah, I came up with that one,” said the personnel manager, chuckling to himself. “Look, in these uncertain times, you’ve got to be creative.”
Has management ever considered taking temperatures, testing employees, or providing personal protective equipment like masks?
“Fuck no,” says management. “If you can’t print it out and make them sign it, then it’s too expensive. Besides, that would be like admitting we have some responsibility or obligation to our employees. Additionally, it only makes sense that we put the onus on the employee as management are all working remotely from home and can’t be on site to supervise.”