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My co-worker just flew back from vacations in Ft. Lauderdale and had previously said she needed to get checked at Employee Health before returning to work, but she just showed up.

I asked her whether she'd gone, and she said that she didn't need to. I emailed my boss who emailed her back telling her that she needed to get checked.

She left in a huff to work from home (didn't say she was leaving) -- I haven't heard anything from her (she's working at home). Did I really screw up here? Do I need to apologize?

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  • Why do you think that she needed to get checked? If she "previously" said it, does it mean she really have to? Also, is it safe where you are but danger in Florida? – Lamba Dawet Mar 25 at 17:15
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    @LambaDawet From the fact that the company sent her for testing and mandated that she work from home it's a pretty easy deduction that the company has a policy of testing and isolation. – DJClayworth Mar 25 at 18:59
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    I infer that the course of events was like this - prior to the vacation, co-worker had been told (or there was already a company policy in place) that she would need to get checked when she returned. Went on vacation. Came back. Then just showed up at work, without going through that checking process because she "didn't need to" (why?). OP, is that the correct order of events? You might want to edit your post to make the timescale of these things a bit clearer. – seventyeightist Mar 25 at 19:55
  • Also, OP can you clarify (if you know the answer) whether these "checks" with Employee Health are related to the coronavirus pandemic or if it's something separate? as I think that will influence a lot of the answers. – seventyeightist Mar 25 at 19:58
  • @DJClayworth OP did not mention that it was a company policy, OP said that the co-worker herself said that she (maybe would want) to go check herself. – Lamba Dawet Mar 26 at 14:56
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You did nothing wrong.

Your co-worker did something that endangered all the people she worked with (including yourself) and was contrary to company policy. You were completely correct in pointing this out to management, who directed her to take the correct action, which she did.

Your co-worker may not know who it was who told her boss. In any case she is not in a position to complain since it was her who broke the rules. Her huff is probably just temporary annoyance at being caught. When she gets back she will probably realize that she did something stupid. In any case, you can safely ignore any complaints she addresses to you about the problem.

  • Why are people downvoting this? – Tymoteusz Paul Mar 25 at 19:26
  • I also noticed in the Q that the co-worker "left in a huff" to WFH (presumably, but not actually stated, mandated by the company until she could get checked out) and since then OP hasn't heard anything from her. That's potentially an issue in itself if the OP normally works as a team with this co-worker and now she (cw) is essentially sulking and going incommunicado. (dependent on timescale, of course!) – seventyeightist Mar 25 at 20:07
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    Don't forget, everybody's scared by this epidemic, and nobody has lots of prior experience in doing the right thing. Be patient, with yourself and with others. – O. Jones Mar 26 at 12:03
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    Hi -- Thanks for everybody's feedback. My co-worker is currently working from home and not really corresponding much with anyone at work. For whatever it's worth, she did mention to another of my co-workers yesterday that even her son wanted her to self-quarantine/stay away from his family for 2 wks. – WF Perseus Mar 26 at 21:30
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You are way out of line, and you need to apologize.

There is no part of the United States that has not been "touched" by the viral outbreak. Whether or not a person traveled recently does not automatically make them more "suspect" than anyone else.

If they were IN CONTACT with someone who has since tested positive, THEN you should be concerned.

Unless you have specific and direct knowledge of this person being in contact with someone who has tested positive, no accusations or demands for testing are appropriate.

FWIW: Medical professionals decide who warrants testing, not coworkers.

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    The boss said she did need to be tested. And the company mandated she work from home. Companies can also decide who warrants testing among their employees. – DJClayworth Mar 25 at 18:57
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    @WesleyLong You are reading into this details that aren't present in the question. The OP said she had to get "checked at Employee Health" not that she had to get the Covid-19 test. As you point out in a comment tests are unfortunately a limited resource. That doesn't mean that Employee Health can't check for a fever, and interview her about her contacts. Not Florida, but the CDC has now recommended that anyone who's traveled to NYC in the last few days should assume they've been exposed and should self-quarntine, so clearly some travel locations do warrant heightened concern. – Charles E. Grant Mar 25 at 19:40
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    @WesleyLong For testing, absolutely. For one thing, I don't think there is anywhere in the US where you can get a COVID-19 test without a doctor signing off on it (and maybe not even then). On the other hand, at this point, I don't think a medical consult is required to set a company policy saying that if you are at high risk of having been exposed, you need to work remotely for a couple of weeks. And contrary to your answer, at this point there are still definitely high risk and low risk areas: NYC vs Bismark ND for example. That will probably change in the coming weeks. – Charles E. Grant Mar 25 at 20:05
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    Sorry to wade in but I think it was implicit in the OP, or can be deduced. Co-worker "needed to get checked at Employee Health" => OP didn't say 'tested' so it implies temperature checks or screening of some kind => 'Employee Health' is obviously an internal department or function. I think it's safe to infer from the OP that there is some kind of policy in place whereby employees are supposed to get screened in some way by this internal Employee Health function before returning to work. Why would co-worker unilaterally say she had to do that and then say "it wasn't needed"? – seventyeightist Mar 25 at 20:15
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    @WesleyLong it indicates that she was aware that of a requirement. Followed by the boss confirming, "Yes, go get checked out". – Charles E. Grant Mar 25 at 20:15

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