Be careful what you tell your staff during flu season. You might be breaking the law.

I've ranted plenty about H1N1 (Swine flu) in recent blogs
here
http://www.fohboh.com/profiles/blog/show?id=1411008%3ABlogPost%3A323990
and here
http://www.fohboh.com/profiles/blog/show?id=1411008%3ABlogPost%3A322344

But not this time. This is a fair warning about communicating with staff and help you avoid breaking federal law.

When a worker comes down with what appears to be the swine flu, other staffers may want to know whether the sick employee is indeed suffering from the disease.

Owners and Management need to know it's against federal laws, including the Americans with Disability Act, to reveal health information about any employee. They'll have to tell the staff that they cannot discuss the matter.

If you have hourly managers, be sure they don't divulge any information either. I would make sure that managers are trained to respond to these kinds of inquiries....with silence.

It may sound outrageous but it is what it is.

I also see this as a double edged sword though.
If you know an employee was working while sick (regardless of whether you found out after the fact or not) and you don't warm the other employees that they have been working with a sick person, I can see all sorts of trouble coming from that as well.

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Non-Operator
Comment by Mel Kleiman on September 21, 2009 at 3:43pm
Steve the government is all wise and knows what is best and what makes good business practice. The law also is based on good common sense.
Comment by Steve Paterson on September 18, 2009 at 1:50pm
Sure, no problem Mel.

Here's what's fascinating to me.
If a sick employee has, say, a foodborne illness and other workers and guests get sick from him/her.....all hell breaks loose!
You're closed, reading about your biz in the paper and evening news, the health dept is all over you, they are swabbing, testing etc...and it's all your fault, irregardless of whether you knew or not.

If a sick employee with H1N1 infects guests and fellow staff, guess what?....Nothing....Nada...

Does anyone else find this as bizarre as I do?

Non-Operator
Comment by Mel Kleiman on September 18, 2009 at 1:44pm
Steve: Great piece of advice do you mind if I pick this up and post it on my blog and website with a link to yours or how would you like me to handle it. htt["//www.kleimanhr.com

Mel

Non-Operator
Comment by Kaffeenjunkie on September 18, 2009 at 1:01pm
Yup it is the ol' Catch 22.

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