Warning: file_exists(): File name is longer than the maximum allowed path length on this platform (260): C:\zpanel\hostdata\zadmin\public_html\forexbr_com_br/wp-content/cache/supercache/www.forexbr.com.br/2020/03/15/justice-department-shifts-stance-on-working-from-home-during-coronavirus-outbreak-after-employee-groups-complaint/meta-wp-cache-d6d0b92830581837d34a179e7ba7892a.php in C:\zpanel\hostdata\zadmin\public_html\forexbr_com_br\wp-content\plugins\wp-super-cache\wp-cache-phase2.php on line 71 Justice Department shifts stance on working from home during coronavirus outbreak after employee group’s complaint – Forex Brasil

Justice Department shifts stance on working from home during coronavirus outbreak after employee group’s complaint

The U.S. Justice Department has ordered “maximum telework” after MarketWatch reported on staff members’ complaints about having to show up at their offices even after the coronavirus was detected among workers at a department building.

“I am directing Components to move to a posture of maximum telework in the NCR [National Capital Region] effective Monday, March 16,” read an undated memo from Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen obtained by MarketWatch. “All telework-eligible employees within the [Washington, D.C., region] should begin teleworking to the maximum extent practical.”

Justice Department employees who must still show up at work include most law-enforcement agents, deputy marshals, prison guards and national-security officials, the memo said. “These employees,” it explained, “must be in their workplace or their community to do their vital jobs.”

MarketWatch reported Saturday that an organization representing employees of the Department of Justice had urged Attorney General William Barr to allow staff to work from home following reports that the coronavirus was detected in two workers at a department office building in Washington.

The Justice Department had allowed staff to work at home if they were at high risk of infection, but this didn’t account for employees with family members at high risk, said a March 13 letter addressed to Barr and posted to the website of the Department of Justice Gender Equality Network, an employee organization citing 21 board members with email addresses in the usdoj.gov domain.

The Department of Justice last week assured staff that agency buildings had been cleaned to prevent infection. But a staff member interviewed by MarketWatch said the agency had been “reckless” in failing to protect employees.

In response to an inquiry about whether the “maximum telework” memo came in response to staff complaints, a Justice Department spokesman said the memo represented the “implementation of new guidance” given by the Office of Management and Budget.

George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California San Francisco, said in a Monday interview that he believed the latest Justice Department memo struck an appropriate balance between employee safety and maintaining the agency’s mission of keeping the public safe.

“I don’t think the FBI is going to take the day off,” he said. “This business about, you’re going to get everybody home? The answer is no. The FBI and law-enforcement piece is, they can’t work from home. The guards at the Bureau of Prisons aren’t going to work from home. They’re saying, ‘If you can work from home, do.’ ”

Matt Smith writes for MarketWatch and Barron’s Group from San Francisco.