FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Despite the governor’s public health order requiring employees in non-essential industries to stay home, CBS4 has learned some employers are finding loopholes and are still forcing employees to go to work. The state-wide public health order was put in place to stop the spread of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak in Colorado.
The stay at home order took effect Thursday morning and will be in place through April 11.
Employees at Qualfon, a call center in Fort Collins, say they’re being asked to go to work, even though their industry isn’t really essential.
“It feels like I’m being treated like I’m expendable, it feels like I’m being treated like my loved ones that I could carry disease to are expendable,” explained one employee, who wished to remain anonymous, for fear of losing his job.
The employee said his boss considers their business as part of the media exemption of the state order, but the employee fears he could get sick if he goes to work in a crowded office.
He’s not alone.
CBS4 has heard from other employees in the Denver metro area, who are worried their employers are also trying to find loopholes, including an appliance retail store.
“It’s absolutely terrifying, there are so many orders out there, so much information, so many smart people telling us exactly what we can do to fix this, and we’re still using language to give people the loophole,” the anonymous Qualfon employee said.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the governor may “take additional actions” if the issue persists.
“That’s really unfortunate to hear, that people are looking for loopholes in what is really for the good of all of us, so I’m disappointed to hear that companies are doing that,” said Mike Willis, the Director of the Office of Emergency Management. “It’s really unfortunate that an employer would put their employees in that position.”
CBS4 has reached out to Qualfon for a comment, but so far, has not heard back.
If you feel as though your employer is unfairly asking you to go to work, there are some steps you can take.
A state spokesperson says, “the governor’s order is an executive order, which means it’s the law of Colorado. It’s illegal to break the law. If people suspect that someone is violating the order they should first contact their local public health agency and report any concerns.”
You may also file a report with the Attorney General’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org if local law enforcement or a local public health agency is unresponsive.
For more information about public health orders and how they are enforced, click here.