Delta is seeing major puahback about an email sent to more than 25,000 members of their crew asking them to "Please refrain from notifying other crew members," if they test positive for the virus.
Flight Attendants are pushing back against the policy, with one anonymous flight attendant telling HuffPost that they felt the policy infringed on crew members' freedom of speech.
The flight attendant, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of losing their job, told HuffPost:
"Employees have freedom of speech about their health. No employer can take that away. We have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, our coworkers and everyone we come in contact with."
The email from Delta told employees:
"Please refrain from notifying other crew members on your own. Once you have completed the reporting procedures listed above, leaders will follow the established process to notify any impacted flight attendants."
This might seem reasonable at first glance, but the letter also cautioned employees against sharing health information via social media.
"Please do not post on social media (including SkyHub) about your health status."
An update soon followed on Delta's employee intranet, trying to clear up the company's message.
"we take the responsibility of notifying all of our Delta people seriously and have a strong protocol in place to ensure we get in touch with anyone potentially exposed to provide support."
Spokesperson for Delta, Morgan Durant, told HuffPost that Delta didn't intend to "cause confusion among flight attendants on this." He further stated that the company has no plans to penalize anyone who fails to comply with the policy.
Twitter users were also highly critical of Delta's move toward secrecy about diagnoses in a time when knowing you may have been exposed is so important.
@People4Bernie That might be illegal. If it isn’t, oh boy, it oughtabe— 😷SilleryRouge😷 (@😷SilleryRouge😷)1586737970.0
@People4Bernie @solon594bce Since when do corporations have rights over people's personal information and what they… https://t.co/2bH53Z3Jxu— Zinnia (@Zinnia)1586738651.0
@People4Bernie So they’re supposed to pretend everything is hunky dory while you could be possibly dying??— Jay Green (@Jay Green)1586736395.0
This is far from the only recent virus-related scandal to come from Delta in the past few weeks. A leaked video seemed to indicate that Delta executives had told pilots to withhold information about being sick from fellow flight crew members.
Since that video was leaked, the number of pilots who have tested positive for the virus has increased to 57, according to the website of the pilot's union.
The country's largest flight attendants' union, AFA-CWA, has recently called for an end to all leisure travel as risk to flight crews rises.
AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson called for a coordinated effort from all involved parties to minimize risk to travelers and flight crews alike.
"We're calling on a coordinated government response, we're calling on all our airlines, and we're also calling for leadership from DOT and FAA on advising the public that we do not need any leisure travel right now."
It may be true that nobody knows precisely how to fix the public health crisis the world is currently facing, but secrecy about who may have been exposed to the virus is far from the current recommendations from medical experts People can't self-isolate to protect others if they, themselves, don't know that they have been exposed.