This week, TraveLaw Online is responding to travel agents’ questions about the workplace and the responsibilities of both the employer and the employee which have become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s the second question in this three-part Q&A, with travel law experts, Doug Crozier and Tim Law of Heifetz, Crozier, Law responding to an query about how employers should handle a situation in which an employee is not taking COVID-19 protocols seriously.
Q: I have a good employee in my Agency, who I’d not want to lose. But she isn’t taking this COVID-19 stuff seriously. She touches the desks and phones of others in the office, paws the fridge door, the coffee pot handle, and the photocopier and never seems to wash her hands. What can I do?
A: It’s not so much what you CAN do, but rather what you MUST do. As an employer, you have a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace for everyone in the office.
It doesn’t sound like you can, with an employee acting in the way you have described.
Warn her in writing that she must change her ways immediately, with specifics, and set out the consequences of her failure or refusal to do so.
Get her to acknowledge in writing her receipt of the warning letter and your general office policy re COVID-19 measures to be taken.
Do it again if she fails to comply the first time.
Get help from a lawyer, so that you do this properly, and that you don’t terminate her prematurely.
But that is your ultimate recourse, and something you must do if she doesn’t come around, no matter how valuable a counsellor she is to your Agency.
If you have a question, you can contact Crozier or Law at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with Bob Mowat at Canadian Travel Press/Baxter Media at email@example.com.
Heifetz, Crozier, Law is a Toronto law firm that has for years represented all aspects of the Canadian travel industry. The lawyers at HCL also maintain a non-travel practice, covering litigation, real estate, Wills, corporate/commercial matters, etc. To contact HCL, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.