New rules put into place to allow businesses to re-open mandate that employees must wear face masks, and can be disciplined or even fired for refusing to do so.
Bloomberg law noted last week that face coverings are being mandated as a “term of employment,” and can only be avoided in very limited circumstances.
Anyone refusing to go along with the rules means “In essence, they’re saying ‘I really don’t want to work here. That really is like someone coming in and saying ‘I don’t like your rules.’” said Katherine Dudley Helms, an Ogletree Deakins attorney who represents employers.
Employers have a “basic right to devise and enforce nondiscriminatory work rules, including those pertaining to clothing,” said Fordham University School of Law professor James Brudney.
The report notes that this was the case before the coronavirus outbreak, given that an employer can mandate that employees cover tattoos, or adhere to a dress code. The new mandates simply insert face masks into the equation as part of the dress code.
Workers “who refuse to wear a face covering out of political conviction would still probably lose in court,” said attorney Mark Frost, noting that employers are within their rights to terminate workers for any reason, as long as it doesn’t break the law.
In addition, there is an increased eagerness to punish people seen not wearing masks.
Last month, a local Colorado media outlet ran an undercover sting on their nearby Home Depot store following reports that employees were flouting mandatory face mask orders.
On Twitter, CBS Denver news director Tim Wieland announced their investigation was based off tipsters who reported violations of Gov. Polis’ executive order, which expires May 17.
Our investigative tips email is filled with people reporting on essential workers ignoring Colorado's mask order. So reporter @KatiWeis set out to learn who's not wearing them, and why. https://t.co/4fTrSsBL1I
— Tim Wieland (@CBS4Tim) April 29, 2020
Footage of a man being dragged off a bus by police in Philadelphia because he was not wearing a face mask went viral recently.
This is now the new normal. Inform on and punish those who choose not to follow the rules.
do riders know that they might be pulled off a SEPTA bus by 10 cops for not having a mask? pic.twitter.com/NnHXJC02E8
— Philly Transit Riders Union (@phillyTRU) April 10, 2020
Early on during the outbreak, it was universally noted by virologists and doctors that face masks are largely ineffectual against the spread of the virus.
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Infections, admitted “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”
The US Surgeon General also advised the public not to wear masks:
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
However, once the CDC applied pressure…
There remains scant evidence wearing a mask- especially improperly- provides much benefit to a healthy wearer.
However emerging data suggests facial coverings may prevent asymptomatic disease transmission to others.
We always follow and react to the data – @CDCgov is studying
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) April 2, 2020
And Fauci now wears a mask at every press briefing, admitting that it is a ‘symbol’ of following the ‘rules’:
3 types of mask wearers.
– Older people who are genuinely at risk (fair enough).
– People who have been so terrorised by media coverage, they think COVID is literally everywhere outside.
– People who want to feel smug in their obedience & to broadcast they are better than you.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) May 5, 2020
In addition to all of this, there are currently more than one thousand US patents that cover the N95, 3M’s medical mask. If masks are now mandatory, why are certain government approved companies allowed a monopoly on production?