I work in a group that has had to come in to the office regularly during COVID (lots of work with original documents and wet ink signatures). It’s real estate and title companies still require wet ink documents. One junior has refused to come in because he says he’s concerned about COVID. We all wear masks, close our doors, and socially distance. We’ve all had to pick up the slack for him. Just found out he’s taking his second vacation during COVID and visiting family in FL. I could scream.

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Isn’t the issue with covid and safety about keeping your contacts minimized.. Wfh all year allowed me to have very few contacts, such that I felt safe to see my family freely (some elderly, some pre-existing conditions, etc). If I was working in the office, my contacts would have been quadrupled and I would not have felt safe to see my family at all.. But even wfh, I still needed and took my 2 weeks vacation (and then quarantined for 2 weeks after, before seeing my family again).

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I’m someone who has allergies and takes meds all year round. I have 3-4 symptoms of allergies or covid at any given time and I am so thankful I could just wfh instead of agonizing daily over every “symptom” and whether I should go in. We had someone who had mild, routine allergy symptoms, was working in the office, tested positive, and got harsh criticism from multiple partners about “STAY HOME IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS.” In that moment I was so thankful I had just been able to just wfh all year and not felt pressure to go in. Still took my vacation though.

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Bury this person. No mercy

likefunny

Could it be that his trip to FL to see his family is not a vacation and there is some personal or health-related reason he needs to visit?

likesmart

A4, I think the issue here is more that he's claiming he won't go into the office for health concerns while simultaneously traveling to FL for vacation. On the face of it, it looks contradictory. That said, maybe he drove down there with an N95 for gas/rest stops and is staying with family that are all taking it v seriously. But even then he would still be exposing himself to additional risk.

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Obviously this person is a bad faith actor... but as a general rule, being a junior shouldn’t mean you have to come in over others during Covid. While a junior is likely younger / less susceptible to Covid, they also might be more likely to live in multi-gen households meaning they can just asymptomatically spread it to their family members. I have a grandparent at home who visits the other in the ICU (non-Covid illness). I’ve basically stayed home the last 9 months and when I’ve had to occasionally go into the office, I go in on weekends and nights to avoid others. Make me work 24/7 WFH if you’d like, but I did not bargain for killing my family because I’m a junior.

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Based on OPs initial descriptions.. I think you could read the rest of my post and see we are on the same side

The problem isn’t the junior, it’s your industry.

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WFH should be the rule, not the exception, during a global pandemic. Shame on any firm that requires its employees to report to work to perform non-essential tasks. Whether an employee chooses to take accrued vacation time to visit his family, regardless of the reason or the precautions he is or isn’t taking, should have no bearing on the firm’s WFH policy.

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I was a junior and asked to go in I got my butt in. Only some more senior people didn't go in. But as a junior no shouldn't be an anwser

likefunny

We’re on the same page. I suggest that you politely and professionally speak with management. It would be best if several of the associates (you plus others) spoke to management together. I have long said that all lawyers are idiots, so it’s entirely possible that your firm’s management doesn’t understand that Vacationman’s activities are having a deeply negative impact on associate morale. Immediately after rule #1 (“all lawyers are idiots”) is rule #2: happy people are productive people. While many lawyers in management will disagree with that premise, they know that UNhappy people are UNproductive people. If your firm is managed by decent people, they will at least hear you out. If they understand that Vacationman’s activities are negatively impacting morale, they will probably do something about it. Finally, you’re a lawyer. So do a little research and find out what the law says about Vacationman’s activities. Must the employer keep him? Can the employer insist that he return to the office? Is termination an option? Go into this meeting prepared, or be prepared to be stomped on. Be forewarned of one, remote possibility: if your employers are complete dicks, there is some risk that you could be fired for speaking up. I think that the risk is extremely remote, but make up your own mind.

likesmartfunny

Not surprising, most people who are “concerned about COVID” are just using it as an excuse to be lazy. Given how few people are actually at risk from the disease and how little sense the rules make (ie wearing a mask on a plane, except when they’re passing out food/drinks) I’d think anyone with half a brain could see this by now.

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You sound like the problem, work from home has been no less productive than being at work. Your view of productivity puts your loved ones and colleagues at risk for what? You want to look tough for partners?

Agreed this thread is silly. Lots of dead folks. Work from home

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I haven't been in since March but split time between my home and my mother's home about an hour and a half away. My husband is high risk and my mother is over 60. WFH allows me to do that safely. You don't know how he got to his family's place in FL (driving or flying). You don't know what precautions he is taking. Unless he posted pics on FB showing him partying maskless with people who aren't members of his germ pod, let's get off our high horses. He's entitled to take vacation, and you aren't privy to his precautions. Don't be mad at him. Be mad at an industry or partners that haven't caught up with the times.

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OP, I sympathize with your frustration, but also sort of want to challenge the premise. I’m also in real estate and work with lots of docs that require original signatures. We’ve all been WFH since March.

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I think that while it may seem like this junior is being a hypocrite at first glance, you would need more facts to be sure. For example, if they live in a household with a high risk person, they may not be able to come into an office every day on a regular basis because they’d be exposing that person. But they may be able to go to Florida (to see other relatives or whatever they’re doing that you may not know about) and then stay away / quarantine from their own home with the high risk relative for the recommended amount of time. I think it’s pretty judgmental to assume they are being a hypocrite without knowing more.

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Could she maybe be high risk with something he doesn’t want to explain to his firm? Or they could have driven (not sure how far) or maybe have wealthy relatives that flew them in safely on a private jet. Point is, maybe they found a way to do this safely or have an important reason for why they’re going and don’t want to explain these personal details to their firm.

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Not a team player. Absent this person (or someone they live with) having a seriuos co-morbity issue, and a family issue that made the trip not a vacation, they would be on my list for dismissal.

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Is the problem that he took vacation, or that he visited family on Florida? I took "vacation" between Christmas and New Year because I'm entitled to and had planned accordingly. Would you be firing him if he took vacation and then just didn't go anywhere? Why would you care about someone working from home if the work is getting done and hours are met? You aren't worth getting permanent heart and lung damage for, Partner. Very glad the partners at my firm don't think like this. I'd be gone.

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This sounds eerily familiar... Does this junior live in NJ?

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