No one wants a side of Norovirus with their steak and fries.
That's Colorado State Senator Jessie Ulibarri's (D-Westminster) opinion as he tries to pass a bill that would require restaurant owners to post a notice on their door if their employees aren't granted at least five paid sick days per year.
Interesting concept for sure. We live in a society that's obsessed with knowing what's in everything we eat and where it comes from (understandably so!), but we don't seem to give much thought to the folks touching and prepping our meals and utensils.
Senator Ulibarri says the bill has nothing to do with the E. Coli outbreak that hit several Chipolte franchises in 2015. He said a few workers in his district alerted him that they've had to decide between working sick (see: get paid) or staying home. Taking the day off would keep from spreading their illness to co-workers and patrons, but they'd also lose vital income. For a lot of restaurant workers, that's a huge financial and ethical conundrum.
Flowchart: Should your employee stay at home?
There's no question that restaurant patrons don't want sick employees handling their food, but unless the server is sneezing, coughing nonstop, or looks like a possessed Regan MacNeil then it can be difficult to tell.
This law brings up two issues that bar/restaurant owners and operators need to consider:
1) Would a We don't give our employees sick time sign (a "Scarlet letter" as the Denver Channel calls it), detract possible patrons from eating at your venue?
2) Should food establishments be required to give their employees paid sick time?
What do you think? Good law? Bad? Do your servers already get paid sick time off? Let us know in the comment section below.
Original header image photographed by William Murphy, Photoshopped by TheRail.Media.