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Avoiding Workplace Violence: How Businesses Should React if Customers Become Violent When Asked to Wear a Mask

July 20, 2020 21:38 PM

Here’s an article we found from Littler that you may find helpful:

As businesses begin to reopen at varying rates and capacities, subject to state and federal containment measures, companies will be faced with the challenge of complying with safety standards while accommodating customers and clients. Face coverings, gloves, and social distancing remain standard preventive measures, and numerous jurisdictions have encouraged or even mandated such measures in public. The pandemic and the resultant restrictions have tapped a new source of fear and anger for some individuals. This article addresses concerns in navigating the reopening landscape when customers or clients aggressively refuse to abide by public health requirements.1

New Normal, New Obligations

While formulating a plan for reopening, businesses should be mindful that they must keep up-to-date on applicable state, local, and federal guidelines and orders, which may indicate a business’ obligation to enforce public health and social distancing measures or risk re-closure or additional penalties.2 At this time, over 40 states and hundreds of local governments, as well as the District of Columbia, have enacted orders requiring face masks to some degree. None, however, have provided guidance to businesses as to how to enforce such requirements. Even in the past week, governors of several states have issued executive orders requiring masks to be worn in all public places. This has resulted in businesses becoming de facto enforcers of COVID-19-related safety mandates. When emotions are running high and stressors are prevalent, however, businesses can expect to be met with some resistance in their attempts to observe public health requirements, including individuals who become aggressive when required to wear a face mask.

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