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What a return to the workplace might look like and how to handle its challenges

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Posted at 5:24 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 18:22:37-04

NEW YORK — After working from home for weeks, what will the eventual return to the office entail?

Licensed psychologist Jeffrey Kassinove believes it won't be the same for everyone.

“I think some people are going to be very gung-ho to jump right back in, and there's certainly going to be a large percentage of people that are going to be very anxious," he said.

The CDC released new guidelines for employers, suggesting before workplaces re-open they should intensify cleaning and encourage employees to wear face coverings. Social distancing inside the office is also recommended.

“I’m thinking the cubicle might make a big come back,” media and executive coach Barbara Barna Abel told PIX11 News.

To protect your rights in the workplace, new laws and regulations have been put in place. In New York, before a workplace can return to full operations, an employer must have plans to conduct health screenings.

If your boss fires you for a reason related to COVID-19 or forces you to work while sick, you can file a complaint with the New York State Department of Labor.

In New Jersey, the law now protects employees who have to take time off from work because of COVID-19 symptoms.

“If you're sick or you get diagnosed and you're caring for someone who's diagnosed with COVID, or if you're quarantined or if you are watching your children and you can't go to work because the school is closed, you have a number of different rights,” explained employment attorney Jon Bell.

Bell suggests before filing a complaint over workplace issues, ”communicate with your employer, try to work it out, this way you'll be more comfortable. Look for solutions.”

If you believe further action needs to be taken, in New York City you can reach the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection by dialing 311 or visiting nyc.gov/workers.