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Middle Tennessee essential workers share health concerns

Middle Tennessee essential workers share health concerns (FOX 17 News)
Middle Tennessee essential workers share health concerns (FOX 17 News)
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Workers have been gathering virtually and sharing health concerns.

“We’re being put in these situations and endangering our lives and the lives of our family and friends," a man who works at an Amazon warehouse said.

Amazon did end up giving part time workers personal time off because of the pandemic to stay home if they're sick.

Others, like Lewis Graham, a line cook in Nashville have concerns too.

“We’re all walking time bombs," Graham said. "We get no training in cross contamination, no masks, no gloves, no PPE (personal protective equipment) This is the perfect storm to keep the coronavirus going strong in our city.”

Adam Calli, Founder of Arc Human Capital, is a human resources consultant. He says the legal rumblings of massive lawsuits by employees after COVID-19 is nothing to ignore.

“All of the lawyers are going to be very busy," Calli said. "So, the question is which side do you want to be on Mr. and Mrs. employer? Do it right, avoid the lawsuit or do it wrong. Hey, even if you win the lawsuit, how much time and energy and money is it going to cost you to defend it? A lot more than it would have cost you to buy some darn masks and gloves.”

Calli points out OSHA requires employers to provide a safe workplace, but if your employer can't find gloves and face shields, he says an employer may consider this reimbursing you explaining,

“If i can't find it, but you do, I’ll reimburse you the $26 bucks for it," Calli said. "Seems reasonable to me.”

Calli says every option should stay on the table. Try to make safety suggestions to your boss first and step up to help organize changes and solutions. Finally, lean on your HR department for help.

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Calli concludes, because Tennessee is a Right To Work state, that means if you choose not to go to work as an essential employee because your employer isn’t taking enough safety precautions, you are in essence quitting your job in many cases.

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