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Working through COVID-19

Easy to apply tips for communicating with your employer during the 2020 pandemic

by Whitehurst, Blackburn & Warren

COVID-19 isn’t the only concern plaguing our nation right now.

As the virus continues to spread, uncertainty and anxiety have hit the the American worker hard. The circumstances that led to shuttered businesses across Georgia forced many to deplete their savings’ accounts — placing those at the lowest socioeconomic strata at the highest risk.

To help combat the pandemic, many professional industry leaders, including the team of attorneys at Whitehurst, Blackburn & Warren in Thomasville, Georgia, took their cues from government officials and moved their services remote for the past month. Even with the decisions at the state level to slowly reopen businesses, WBW does not plan to return to a work environment void of precautions.

“Our priority is to serve our clients and staff responsibly,” said WBW Attorney Joseph C. Cargile. “For us, right now that means conducting business in a setting that might not be traditional. The last thing we would want at this time is for an employee to come to work and be uncomfortable or feel unsafe because of health concerns. We’re taking our social responsibility very seriously.”

Members of the retail, hospitality and manufacturing industries will have a harder time adhering to an extended timeline that mandates social distancing. Those employees will be coming back to work soon, and will be in close contact with their coworkers and customers. According to Cargile, if an employee is concerned about their health regarding COVID-19, positive and timely communication with their organization’s leadership is critical.

“There’s always a balance that can typically be found,” said Cargile. “We know not everyone is able to say, ‘well, I’ll just work from home,’ depending on what type of industry they’re in. It’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution.”

With the new legislation from Governor Brian Kemp having gone into effect Friday, April 24th, employers are beginning to address these concerns as they welcome both employees and customers back to their establishments.

If an employer is not taking proper safety steps, the team at WBW suggests going to your supervisor with a clear plan to mitigate exposure — especially for workers in industries newly deemed eligible to reopen. Presenting solutions, instead of problems, is always a good place to start. For example, suggesting adjusted or staggered hours for staff members, or increased sanitation procedures, could be the push in the right direction your team needs.

If conversations get off-track though, Cargile says that hiring legal representation before a second wave of the virus is able to impact your family may be warranted. Returning to work in an unsafe way, or simply too soon, could potentially produce serious health ramifications, ultimately resulting in even more loss of work.

“The right time —and this goes for any situation — when you need to get an attorney involved is when you’re facing a situation where your finances are at risk, when your health is at risk, and when your family is at risk.”

To discuss your rights with your legal representation, please contact WBW at (229) 226-2161 or by visiting

Three Tips on Working Through COVID-19

  1. Communicate — If you’re uncomfortable with your work environment, speak up.

  2. Solve — Present your supervisors with solutions that could mitigate your team’s risk of exposure.

  3. Support — If you hit a roadblock in communicating with your supervisor or contract COVID-19 while at work, reach out

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