Covid question - I work for a small firm (7 lawyers, 4 staff) and do estate planning and probate. They stopped WFH in May, and my office’s Covid policies have been... lax. No masks, half the office has gotten it, I’ve had to self isolate because of work exposures, etc. Now they want to go back to having clients in the office for estate planning meetings instead of zoom. I don’t feel comfortable being in an hour long meeting with people outside my household - do I bother saying anything?

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My firm is the same as yours, and half of the partners got Covid from a super spreader in-person meeting. You have to decide how much to push back without losing your job. If you can show there is no interruption in your work and you aren’t a burden on firm resources (insert eye roll), they may let you continue Zoom meetings. Be prepared for them to say no- my firm told me my concerns about Covid at work were unfounded, despite no precautions in the office being taken. I then found a new job and they acted shocked

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If you haven’t already, put something in writing and cite the CDC recommendations in your email. If you have special reasons why you or the people you live with are more at risk I would disclose that. My dad’s firm was being lax about covid then one employee wrote a letter complaining to HR and they had to tighten up after that. Hope this helps!

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I’ve pointed out my concerns w our covid policies before and they’ve pretty much said “we listened, we understand, but no” so I feel pretty powerless. Cases in my state are down a lot, but as far as I’m concerned, the risk for me hasn’t changed and I’m terrified of being a long hauler/brain fog

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My prior firm was the same. Even though we served primarily the elder population (and had nurses on staff), after awhile they all stopped wearing masks - even when meeting with clients. I continued to wear a mask at client meetings and advised everyone “Since I also work with elderly clients, I am continuing to wear a mask to try to prevent the spread to them. I hope you don’t mind.” People would give me a sideways eye sometimes, but no one protested it because protesting would sound like a lack of caring for the elderly. Most of my clients seemed appreciative.

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You are pretty powerless, unfortunately. Definitely stand up for yourself and maybe even request additional protections (plexi in the city defense room perhaps?). But if they say no and you refuse, if you’re at will it’s totally legal for them to fire you. Just be aware. (Also totally legal for them to fire you if you agree, that’s the joy of at-will employment!)

I'd leave a firm that was this cavalier, but Im in NorCal and we take covid very seriously.

I would be concerned too. The risk is not worth it. There will be vaccines soon, would the firm really want to risk loosing a profitable employee over waiting a just few more months? Your negotiation position may be better than you think. You are making good money for them after all.

I think you can say that you find it easier and more effective to communicate via zoom versus wearing double-masks, which you otherwise will do to protect yourself and the clients. If they don't care about your concerns, i would at least think they'd care about your productivity.

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