COVID-19 Safe Return to Worksites FAQs for Managers/Supervisors

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are provided to state government managers/supervisors to help provide guidance regarding questions and situations they may encounter when supervising employees pertaining to necessary safety measures being utilized to ensure the structured, orderly and incremental return to worksites.

As COVID-19 conditions continue to evolve, this resource will be updated as needed. Managers/supervisors are encouraged to contact their Agency Human Resources Office regarding specific concerns and how topics may impact them.

VERY IMPORTANT: Managers/supervisors should read and understand all Employee FAQs.  For questions, contact the Agency Human Resources Office.

Additional COVID-19 information:

These FAQs will be updated as conditions continue to evolve. Please check back regularly for updated information.

Updated July 7, 2020

COVID-19 Safe Return to Worksites FAQs for Managers/Supervisors

What should I do if an employee tells me they do not feel safe at the worksite or while performing any work duty due to COVID-19-related concerns?

What should I do if an employee tells me they do not feel safe at the worksite or while performing any work duty due to COVID-19-related concerns?

If an employee approaches their supervisor about not feeling safe, the supervisor should listen to their concerns. They may identify a safety concern that has not been considered by an agency in preparing for the return of employees. Share their suggestion with your manager. If the concern regards a worksite safety topic, contact your agency safety officer. 

If the employee starts to discuss their medical conditions, let the employee know that this confidential topic should be discussed with someone in the Agency Human Resources Office.  An Agency human resources specialist will respond to the employee’s concern.

What happens if CDC Guidance, OSHA rules or other guidance changes about COVID-19 safety in the workplace?

What happens if CDC Guidance, OSHA rules or other guidance changes about COVID-19 safety in the workplace?

Your Agency Human Resources Office will provide you with revised information pursuant to newly issued guidelines.

What should I do if an employee requests an accommodation related to COVID-19? For example, an employee tells me they are “high risk” or want to take FMLA?

What should I do if an employee requests an accommodation related to COVID-19? For example, an employee tells me they are “high risk” or want to take FMLA?

Direct the employee to contact the ADA/EEO specialist in the Agency Human Resources Office to learn if they are eligible for an accommodation. Do not volunteer an opinion regarding potential eligibility or outcome.

What should I do if an employee requests to continue teleworking rather than returning to the worksite?

What should I do if an employee requests to continue teleworking rather than returning to the worksite?

The ability to continue to telework will be based on multiple factors, including your agency’s operations and onsite staffing needs. Contact your supervisor or Agency Human Resources Office to discuss available options.

What should I do if an employee appears to have COVID-19 symptoms, as defined by CDC?

What should I do if an employee appears to have COVID-19 symptoms, as defined by CDC?

Follow specific instructions you have received from your Agency Human Resources Office or contact them immediately.  Necessary actions if the employee does have COVID-19 symptoms will include isolating the employee, making arrangements for the employee to be safely transported home or to a medical facility, and disinfection of the worksite as required.

What should I do if an employee tells me they contracted COVID-19 at work?

What should I do if an employee tells me they contracted COVID-19 at work?

Immediately direct the employee to contact the Agency Human Resources Office to discuss their concerns. Agency human resources personnel will respond to the employee’s request.

What should I do if an employee refuses to complete a COVID-19 health screening assessment?

What should I do if an employee refuses to complete a COVID-19 health screening assessment?

Contact Agency Human Resources staff for immediate handling and instructions on what actions, if any, are necessary for you to take in response.

What should I do if I am informed that an employee that I supervise has tested positive for COVID-19 after having returned to the worksite?

What should I do if I am informed that an employee that I supervise has tested positive for COVID-19 after having returned to the worksite?

Notify your Agency Human Resources Office immediately. Agency human resources personnel have been provided detailed guidance on how to manage this complex situation, which includes promptly removing the employee from the worksite (if present), sending a general email that does not identify the COVID-19 positive employee to notify coworkers who may have been exposed, and handling necessary disinfection of the worksite per CDC guidelines. 

What should I do if I am informed that an employee that I supervise has been placed on an order of quarantine due to COVID-19 after having returned to the worksite?

What should I do if I am informed that an employee that I supervise has been placed on an order of quarantine due to COVID-19 after having returned to the worksite?

Notify your Agency Human Resources Office immediately. Agency human resources personnel have been provided detailed guidance on how to manage this complex situation, which includes promptly removing the employee from the worksite (if present), sending a general email that does not identify the exposed employee to notify coworkers who may have been exposed, and handling necessary disinfection of the worksite. 

What should I do if an employee refuses to wear a cloth face covering while performing work duties when six feet social distancing is not possible?

What should I do if an employee refuses to wear a cloth face covering while performing work duties when six feet social distancing is not possible?

  • Executive Order 147 requires employees in Cabinet agencies to wear a cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth at all times when social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. Other State agencies are highly encouraged to adopt this requirement.
  • If an employee with a disability needs a related reasonable accommodation under the ADA (e.g., modified face covering for interpreters or others who communicate with an employee who uses lip reading, or a religious accommodation under Title VII (such as modified equipment due to religious garb), the supervisor should direct the employee to go to the Agency Human Resources Office to discuss the request.
  • If the employee will not comply, immediately contact Agency Human Resources staff for instructions regarding what actions, if any, are necessary for you to take.
What should I do if an employee tells me they are “high-risk” and does not want to report to the worksite as instructed?

What should I do if an employee tells me they are “high-risk” and does not want to report to the worksite as instructed?

Employees may be understandably concerned if they or a member of their household is vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Instruct the employee to contact the Agency Human Resources Office to request an accommodation.  After receiving a request, the Agency Human Resources Office may seek medical documentation to help decide if the individual has a disability and if there is a reasonable accommodation, barring undue hardship, that can be provided. The employee’s ability to continue to telework during the pandemic will be based on multiple factors, including your agency’s operations and onsite staffing needs. Advise the employee to contact your Agency Human Resources Office to discuss available options.

What should I do if an employee tells me they have tested positive for COVID-19 and they have been at the worksite in the past seven days?

What should I do if an employee tells me they have tested positive for COVID-19 and they have been at the worksite in the past seven days?

Notify your Agency Human Resources Office immediately. Agency human resources personnel have been provided detailed guidance on how to manage this complex situation, which includes promptly removing the employee from the worksite (if present), sending a general email that does not identify the COVID-19 positive employee to notify coworkers who may have been exposed, and handling necessary disinfection of the worksite per CDC guidelines.

The local public health department in the positive employee’s county of residence will handle contact tracing and provide necessary medical information as needed to specific individuals.

What should I do if an employee tells me that they live with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 and they have been at the worksite in the past seven days?

What should I do if an employee tells me that they live with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 and they have been at the worksite in the past seven days?

Notify your Agency Human Resources Office immediately. While exposure to COVID-19 is different from an official diagnosis, the employee still poses a risk to coworkers. Agency human resources personnel have been provided detailed guidance on how to manage this complex situation, which includes promptly removing the employee from the worksite (if present), sending a general email that does not identify the exposed employee to notify coworkers who may have been exposed, and handling necessary disinfection of the worksite.

What if an employee that is not high-risk decides not to report to work due to COVID-19 safety considerations?

What if an employee that is not high-risk decides not to report to work due to COVID-19 safety considerations?

Safety and healthy working conditions are always of utmost importance and subject to review on a case-by-case basis.  Once an employee’s COVID-19 safety concerns have been addressed if feasible, a refusal to report to the designated worksite may be grounds for disciplinary action.

If I supervise an employee that I know has a high-risk condition, may I go ahead and make accommodations before the employee requests an accommodation?

If I supervise an employee that I know has a high-risk condition, may I go ahead and make accommodations before the employee requests an accommodation?

You should wait for the employee to first request an accommodation before taking any action.   If you have any concerns about the employee’s ability to safely perform their duties without an accommodation, contact the ADA/EEO specialist in your Agency Human Resources Office.