Eighty students at Boston College fell ill reportedly due to a suspected outbreak of norovirus at a local Chipotle. The sick students included half of Boston College’s basketball team, causing some players to miss a game.
In response to the outbreak, a city inspector was sent to the Chipotle outlet and “… found three serious violations of sanitary rules: Chicken and beef were not kept hot enough; an employee had come to work ill on Thursday; and multiple patrons had reported being sick.”
Though it has not been confirmed that the sick employee was the source of this outbreak, other outbreaks of illness can be traced back to sick employees according to the Center for Disease Control. Incidents of so-called “presenteeism” — showing up to work despite injury or illness that should be treated at home — can be problematic for businesses and communities, especially for contagious illnesses like the flu or norovirus.
If the sick employee was the source of the infection, then this incident of presenteeism will have not only contributed to Chipotle’s existing stock problems related to incidents of food-borne illness, but could also be implicated in Boston College’s sports team loss. The issue of presenteeism isn’t just about an individual employee being ill and needing time off to recover, it is about protecting the health of other employees, customers and the business.
Unfortunately, presenteeism is astoundingly common.
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