Have you ever lied on your daily screening form before going into work? Employment lawyers say don't.

As part of Governor Murphy's executive order on workplace safety, he required all companies to screen employees daily. How companies do this varies, but many require you to fill out a questionnaire that goes to your supervisor about your potential risk. New Jersey 101.5's Dino Flammia has been speaking with employment lawyers and they agree it's best to tell the truth. Aside from jeopardizing the health of fellow employees, you could forfeit your own workplace protections.

Under Governor Murphy's ongoing public health emergency declarations, an employer cannot fire you for being unable to work due to COVID-19 infection. However, if you lie to your boss about being infected and your company finds out about it, not only can you be fired but you could face criminal charges for knowingly or recklessly spreading a deadly disease to another person. While criminal charges are not likely, hiding your symptoms and potential risk could make you ineligible for unemployment insurance, temporary disability insurance and/or workers' compensation.

On the employer side, Governor Murphy continues to encourage workers to report any workplace violations. A form on the state's COVID-19 Information Hub allows employees to anonymously report non-compliance for things like employees not wearing masks or remaining socially distant. While it is not clear how many reports the state has taken to date, almost 400 were received in week after the new rules went into effect.

Among the state mandates that went into effect on Nov. 5:

  • Workers have to be able to remain 6 feet apart when practicable.
  • Workers and visitors must wear face coverings when entering the worksite.
  • Job sites must offer employees free masks.
  • Job sites must provide handwashing materials to employees and allow them time to wash their hands.
  • Job sites have to sanitize high-touch work areas.
  • Job sites must have daily health check-ins for employees.
  • Employees must be required to stay home when they're sick.
  • Job sites must notify workers of any known exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has vowed a crackdown on those who "jeopardize public health and undermine public safety," but State Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo says the goal is "education and compliance, not punishment and penalties." The labor department is charged with investigating allegations of non-compliance, and begins an investigation with a call or a letter to an employer detailing alleged violations. The employer then has an opportunity to respond with details about corrective action. If investigators are satisfied with the response, no further action will be taken.

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