CDC Guidance Weakens Protections for Essential Workers

[UPDATE: On November 16, 2020, the CDC reversed the dangerous guidance they issued on April 8th. The link in this statement is to the new and much-improved guidance.]

Following is a statement from Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding critical infrastructure workers who may have been exposed to COVID-19:

“Late yesterday, the CDC substantially weakened workplace protections for essential infrastructure workers from COVID-19. The new CDC guidance for businesses allows employers to require workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 to continue to work following exposure, provided they remain asymptomatic and some additional precautions are implemented.

“This is a total reversal of the policy CDC has for the public, which states clearly that people who have been exposed to COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days. It is well established that there is significant risk of transmission from asymptomatic and presymptomatic individuals; thus these guidelines risk endangering workers, their families, their communities, and the public.

“Essential workers in food processing, agriculture, janitorial, and many other critical industries are disproportionally workers of color, who are underpaid and already at increased risk of serious complications if they become infected with coronavirus.

“With this new policy, the Trump administration has completely abandoned its responsibility to protect workers.”

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About the Author

Rebecca Dixon

Areas of expertise:
  • Occupational Segregation,
  • Program Management,
  • Unemployment Insurance,
  • Workplace Equity

NELP is led by President and Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Dixon. Rebecca is a respected national leader in federal workers’ rights advocacy and is in great demand for her thought leadership on issues of labor and racial, gender, and economic justice.

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