July Cartoon: Sick Employees


According to recent reports, 51 percent of food handlers have admitted to working while they are sick. No one wants to find out their food has been handled by an ill person. Avoid passing symptoms on to an unsuspecting victim and keep your consumers safe by knowing what symptoms and illnesses are required to be reported to a supervisor. Let’s take a look at what information you should notify to your manager.


You may feel some days that you should just tough it out and go to work instead of informing your manager that you aren’t feeling well, but that could be dangerous. If you are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, or a fever accompanied by a sore throat, the FDA requires that you report your symptoms to your manager. You may feel like you are doing the responsible thing by hiding the truth from your manager.

Going to work when sick could endanger numerous customers and other employees. Be responsible and report any of the above symptoms to your manager and stay home to avoid spreading of the illness.

Foodborne Illness

In addition to the above symptoms, you are required to report to your manager if you have been diagnosed with any of the “Big 5”, the five most common foodborne illnesses. These illnesses are:

  • E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Norovirus
  • Shigella
  • Hepatitis A

These illnesses are very contagious, so if you suspect that you have been exposed, report it to your manager and stay home.

Reporting it to your manager could prevent an outbreak of the illness from your restaurant. Although it may be tempting to go to work, especially if you do not exhibit severe symptoms right away, staying home could prevent spread of any illnesses.

Responsibility of Managers

It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure their employees are educated on the importance of staying home when sick with any of the above conditions. Often, employees try to hide their illness or symptoms to help out with the workload or because they believe they cannot afford to miss work.

Encourage your employees to be responsible and report symptoms or illnesses to you. Ensure them that there will be no pressure to work when sick. Emphasize the importance of protecting customers.

You are responsible for the safety of your customers, so remember to report to your manager if you are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, a fever accompanied by a sore throat, or have been exposed to one of the “Big 5.”

For more information or other food safety tips, visit StateFoodSafety.com.

Updated: 06/18/2019 — 9:59 pm
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