Norovirus and the Anti-Worker Id

I’ve never understood the opposition to sick leave, especially by those who can afford to eat out: do you want someone who is sick handling your food? ‘Makers versus takers’ bullshit aside, one would think self-interest would kick in. Yet it would appear that some people favor ideology–and norovirus–over their own health (boldface mine):

Every year, 5.5 million people are sickened by norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal bug. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus is the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States and is spread primarily by “infected food workers.” Last year cooks, waiters and other workers were involved in about 70 percent of the outbreaks.

This is just one example of the critical role that food workers play in our nation’s economic and public health systems. And yet, while we often tailor employment rules for work that has a special impact on the public, the law has yet to recognize food workers as a distinct class — an approach that harms consumers, the economy and the workers themselves.

Sick restaurant workers provide a particularly vivid example of the kind of legal reform that’s needed. Until recently, very few restaurant workers had the legal right to paid sick time, which meant that many of them went to work very ill (last week voters in Massachusetts and three cities passed paid-sick-leave laws). Federal law can fix this problem by requiring employers to provide their workers with paid time off.

Someone should tell opponents of sick leave–who just happen to mostly be conservatives–that another solution would be for lawyers to bring suit against restaurants that knowingly put their customers at risk: after all, no one would tolerate other adulterations of food that would make customers sick, so why should norovirus be exempt from this?

By the way, norovirus kills an estimated 570 – 800 people every year, unlike…EBOLA!! ZOMG11!!11 Just saying.

Or, you know, we could just pass some sick leave legislation–which probably won’t happen unless some Congresscritters start puking and shitting non-stop due to norovirus.

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1 Response to Norovirus and the Anti-Worker Id

  1. realthog says:

    another solution would be for lawyers to bring suit against restaurants that knowingly put their customers at risk

    Alas, this would probably just motivate many restaurant owners to fire employees at the first sign of possible sickness. No, the paid-sick-leave legislation is what’s required.

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