Are you an essential worker? Says who? And what if you don’t think your job is worth the coronavirus risk?
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Are you an essential worker? Says who? And what if you don’t think your job is worth the coronavirus risk?

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An employee oversees SweeTart Ropes as they come down the line at the Ferrara Candy Company in Itasca on June 13, 2019.

CHICAGO — So you’re an essential worker. That means you can go to work while the rest of Illinois abides by a mandate to stay home in hopes of minimizing the spread of the coronavirus.

Some people are grateful for the continued paycheck. Others worry their own safety concerns aren’t being considered, and dispute how indispensable they really are.

“There are certainly going to be instances where employees who are deemed essential will be concerned about going to work,” said Lauren Novak, a partner in the labor and employment practice at Chicago-based Schiff Hardin. “Employers will need to be flexible but also be very clear that they have to show up. It is going to be very difficult for employers in essential industries to strike that balance.”

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