State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami) has been pushing for the state of Florida to adopt a set of workplace safety rules specific to the COVID-19 pandemic to define what safe work means for those on the job, seeking work or returning to work in the midst of the pandemic. On June 16th, Sen. Rodriguez formally asked the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Department of Health to develop such rules, see attached. Rodriguez says he has since followed up with DEO who have assured him of a response but no such rules have been issued and no justification has been given.
Members of Congress, on April 29th, had asked the U.S. Department of Labor for similar “safety first” rules at the federal level. The U.S. Secretary of Labor has since refused to have such federal rules issued.
Ahead of a press event today at 2:30PM where Governor Ron DeSantis will be joined by Secretary Scalia, Sen. Rodriguez renews his request for workplace safety rules asking “If the State of Florida will not adopt ‘safety first’ workplace rules to give workers enforceable standards and employers guidance, why not?”
Specifically, Sen. Rodriguez has asked the DEO for a workforce rule on when workers can and cannot reasonably turn down work as unsuitable. Without a rule from the Department of Economic Opportunity specific to the current COVID-19 pandemic, it will be up to reemployment appeals referees to sort this standard out.
In addition he has asked FDOH for specific to COVID-19 minimum standards in the workplace that would relieve businesses from having to compete with unscrupulous actors not following guidelines meant to protect patrons and employees.