Monday, August 10, 2020

Coronavirus Update 8-10-2020: Indians quarantine of pitcher Zach Plesac is a teachable moment in handling irresponsible employees during this pandemic

The Cleveland Indians have sent pitcher Zach Plesac back to Cleveland from their current run of road games for breaking the team's COVID-19 protocols. 

According to, MLB security personnel caught the pitcher returning to the team's hotel early Sunday morning after he had gone out with friends. The team has its own coronavirus code of conduct, which in part required Plesac to obtain permission before leaving the hotel. According to ESPN, the Indians hired a car service to return Plesac to Cleveland so that he would not share an airplane with his teammates and potentially place them at risk. The team's management has said that he will remain quarantined until he receives two negative tests.

Bravo to the Indians for doing what they feel they have to do to keep their employees safe and the team playing games. 

Your business may not be able to dictate how your employees spend their free time, but you can hold them to consequences if they choose to act irresponsibly when "off the clock." We are living through a pandemic. Every employee has a responsibility to their employer, their co-workers, and the business to make sure that they do what they can to avoid brining COVID-19 into the workplace, and every employer has the same responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent an at-risk employee from entering the workplace when it's discovered. 

These are strange times for sure, and I will not fault any employer that errs on the side of caution in how it manages its employee respective to mitigating workplace coronavirus exposures. I'm not advocating for, or in favor of, employer monitoring of employee off-duty conduct. If, however, irresponsible, reckless or dangerous behavior comes to an employer’s attention, it shouldn’t ignore it in the name of privacy either.

* Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash