In response to a wave of verbal and physical attacks over mask and social-distancing requirements during the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering advice to deflect potential run-ins. The document, which can be accessed with other resources under COVID-19 Risk Management is “Limiting Workplace Violence Associated with COVID-19 Prevention Policies in Retail and Services Businesses,” It is intended for customer-based enterprises. To keep problems at bay, the CDC recommends posting signage informing customers about safety precautions, advertising COVID-19 policies on the business website, and coaching workers to recognize threats and resolve conflicts peacefully. In addition, CDC advises employers to develop an assessment and response plan for workplace violence and provide support for employees or customers involved in a hostile situation over COVID-19 rules. Expounding on some of these points, lawyers with Epstein Becker Green say employers must recognize that threats can originate not only from customers but also from disputes between coworkers. The attorneys emphasize the importance of clear, written polices and procedures for reporting incidents and protecting employees who raise concerns from suffering retaliation. Employers, they say, also should employ empathy in their messages to workers, taking time to remind them of about mental health or other support resources at their disposal.
This is all solid guidance which supports and supplements the information posted by Lions Gate on their COVID-19 Risk Management Page.