Current conditions at nursing homes here in Illinois and elsewhere around the country make these facilities breeding grounds for deadly illnesses to spread to staff members and their families.
While present conditions make this situation more dire than ever, it actually is quite common for the lowest-paid workers in nursing homes to be at greatest risk for infection.
Moreover, some of the at-risk staff have sought to blow the whistle on these dangerous conditions. Unfortunately for these breadwinners on whom their families must rely, many have been terminated for sounding the alarm about the dangerous conditions under which they are expected to work.
But the current working conditions have now turned these challenges into a full-blown crisis for these workers — the majority of whom are women and people of color — who have suddenly found themselves on the front lines of the pandemic, with limited protection and outside oversight.
The federal government and the Department of Labor have no requirements to inform nursing home staff when patients are infected with deadly pathogens. The facilities are also not required to follow the present guidelines to reduce the spread of viruses set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While their protections from viral agents may be limited, these workers do indeed have protections under federal labor laws against retaliation for reporting dangerous conditions.
If you face these risks of retaliation in your own workplace for reporting dangerous conditions, you may want to seek the guidance of an Illinois employment law attorney to guide you through the process and protect your rights.