Protect Yourself at Work

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING

 

My employer expects me to come into work despite the government recommending that people stay home. I am afraid  that I will be exposed to COVID-19 from someone at work. Do I have a right to refuse work that is dangerous to my health or the health of others?

Even if your workplace remains open and your boss expects you to work, Arise believes workers should choose whether to go to work, and whether their working conditions are safe and healthy. If you do not believe your workplace conditions are safe or healthy, take action with your co-workers as a group. There is power and safety in numbers. Co-workers taking action together to address workplace issues is considered to be “Protected Concerted Activity” under federal law. Practicing Protected Concerted Activity means that your employer cannot lawfully retaliate against you and your co-workers for taking action together to stay safe at work (see more here: https://cwa-union.org/covid19organizing). You and one or more coworkers can communicate with your employer, ideally in writing in the form of gathering signatures to sign a petition that states your specific demands for a more safe and healthy workplace. Present this petition to your boss and remind them that your health is at risk when you are forced to leave your home and go to work. If your boss refuses to comply with the demands of your petition, gather your coworkers to stop work or go on strike. Contact Arise Chicago (info@arisechicago.org / 773-769-6000) for support for collective actions such as these.

 

Can the government stop my employer from forcing me to work?

     Take Action at Work:

If your employer is telling you to work but your workplace is not an “essential” business:

Contact the Chicago Office of Labor Standards (for workplaces located in Chicago)

Contact the Illinois Attorney General Labor Bureau (for workplaces located outside of Chicago)

Contact the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

 

 

Is it safe for me to go to work?

If you must work, practice social-distancing--stay 6 feet away from other individuals and follow all other recommendations such as washing your hands, cleaning surfaces, and avoiding touching your face. The State of Illinois ordered that people stay home from work if possible. Unfortunately, there is no law that says that you don’t have to go into work during this crisis.  

If your employer is not practicing social distancing or maintaining a sanitary work environment:

Contact the Chicago Office of Labor Standards (for workplaces located in Chicago)

Contact the Illinois Attorney General Labor Bureau (for workplaces located outside of Chicago)

Call 844-740-5076 or Email workplacerights@atg.state.il.us

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