Local NewsCoronavirus


How much can employers influence what you're doing outside of work?

Posted at 2:56 PM, Jun 05, 2020

Businesses are making changes to workspaces to bring employees back safely, but there's a question of how much influence they can have over what you're doing outside of work.

Some employers are implementing return to work surveys that will ask if you've been around somebody who's been exposed to COVID-19.

A St. Louis County executive is pushing for companies there to ask workers if they've been social distancing outside of work, along with others they've been with. This comes after leaders there learned people traveled outside the city over Memorial Day and didn't do this.

“The society for human resource management" tells us employers have to be careful,” said Amber Clayton with the Society for Human Resource Management. “It’s not very practical to have an employer actually monitoring someone's social media and you don't want to make an assumption either that someone is not social distancing just because you heard about it or saw it in a picture. They may have been with immediate family members that they've been in the house with for a very long time.”

But she says if employers know for a fact you haven't been social distancing and have been exposed to COVID-19, they can require you to work from home or to self-quarantine for 14 days.

You may not get paid while you're self-quarantining, though.

If your boss asks you what you're doing for the weekend, it's really up to you if you want to share this information.

Employers are providing workers with the CDC guidelines about social distancing and wearing masks to keep them safe. But then, it's really up to you.

“The employers and the employees need to trust one another, and employees should be letting their employers know if they've been exposed even if there hasn't been an implementation of a survey in place,” said Clayton. “They should let their employers know if they're sick, if they're not feeling well, so that they can stay home or leave work if they actually came into work.

There are "lifestyle discrimination" or "off duty conduct laws" that protect you outside of work, if what you're doing is lawful.