CDA: 3 ways to encourage COVID-safe holiday activities without violating employee privacy

Below are three ways practice owners can help protect staff and patients from COVID-19 without violating off-duty statutes and anti-discrimination laws, per the California Dental Association.

Three tips to encourage safe off-duty activities:

1. Enforce COVID-19 safety protocols in the workplace. Monitoring employees' activity outside of work can place undue hardship on the employer and make employees feel like they're being overpoliced. Employers should focus on measures that reduce disease transmission in the workplace rather than managing what employees do off-duty.

2. Avoid speculating about employees' off-duty behavior. Employers may learn of employees' off-duty activities through social media or staff discussion. Rather than assuming about off-duty behavior, owners should ask employees to monitor themselves for symptoms, immediately notify management if they believe they may be sick, and follow CDC guidelines on self-quarantining and seeking diagnosis.

3. Educate staff on potential risks. Employers should educate staff about the risks of not following CDC guidelines and discuss how off-duty behavior can affect the safety of the practice. Practice owners should clearly define the role team members play in maintaining a safe workplace. Employers should model best practices off-duty to encourage employees to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols outside of work.

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