Stay home if you are sick or might be sick, even if symptoms are mild.
Be aware of COVID-19 signs, symptoms, and transmission prevention. The employer must provide adequate training.
Social Stigma and Microaggression
Stigma occurs when people associate a risk with specific people, places, or things, such as a minority population group. Stigmatization is common in disease outbreaks. Groups that may be experiencing stigma during the COVID-19 pandemic include:
Certain racial and ethnic minority groups, including people of Asian, African, or Latin-American descent.
People who are or were in COVID-19 quarantine or isolation, tested positive for COVID-19, were sick or have recovered from being sick with COVID-19.
People who are or were closely associated with COVID-19 positive individuals.
Emergency responders or healthcare professionals.
Other frontline workers, such as grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, or farm and food processing plant workers.
People who live with disabilities or developmental or behavioral disorders that cause them to have difficulty following health recommendations.
People who cough frequently due to underlying health conditions.
People living in congregate (group) settings, such as people experiencing homelessness.
People who are unvaccinated or vaccinated.
Microaggressions are subtle verbal, non-verbal, and environmental snubs or insults that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages. These messages target persons based on the group the other person perceives them to belong to. Individuals who may be experiencing microaggressions during the COVID-19 pandemic include those listed above and individuals perceived to be ignoring or downplaying public health advice.
The language we use can reinforce false assumptions and harm individuals’ well-being. Be mindful and use factual language when referring to the virus and people who have or may have it.
Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies
During the stress of a pandemic, the risk of violence or harassment toward certain individuals, those working alone or people performing critical tasks (e.g., providing care or other services to the public, working with vulnerable individuals, etc.) may be greater.
Employers are encouraged to establish or review risk assessments and policies on violence and harassment prevention in the workplace. Employees who are experiencing or have witnessed harassment or violence are asked to report the circumstances to their employer or supervisor as soon as possible.
Everyone has a role to play in preventing microaggression and social stigma related to COVID-19. Employers can provide information from reliable sources about virus transmission and steps that workers can take to protect themselves and their families. Display posters or send email updates to staff.
Know the facts:
Diseases (including COVID-19) can make anyone sick, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Someone who has completed quarantine or isolation is not a source of infection to other people.
Note that this guidance is just some of the adjustments organizations can make during a pandemic. Adapt this list by adding your own good practices and policies to meet your organization’s specific needs.
For further information on respiratory infectious diseases, including COVID-19, refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Disclaimer: As public and occupational health and safety information may continue to change, local public health authorities should be consulted for specific, regional guidance. This information is not intended to replace medical advice or legislated health and safety obligations. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency, and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.