NPR’s strict masking policy encourages coworkers to tattle on violators

National Public Radio is encouraging staffers to squeal on each other if they do not comply with the company’s Draconian mask-wearing policy in the office.

According to a strongly-worded memo sent out Thursday, NPR employees are not only required to wear masks in the office, but if they see someone who isn’t complying with the mandate, they are encouraged to correct their coworker or rat them out to higher ups.

“If you notice someone who has forgotten their mask, you might tell them, “Hey, you forgot your mask,” the memo said, adding they can also let a superior know so they can “remind” them or they can get human resources involved. Repeat offenses could lead to the maskless offender getting fired.

The strict policy is a departure from the majority of COVID safety policies in offices and public places across the country. In Washington, DC, where NPR is headquartered, mask mandates in gyms, restaurants and stores were dropped in March† last month, airports and airlines ditched mask mandatestoo.

NPR mask policy
Workers must get special permission “in advance” to not wear a mask.
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Office staff respecting social distancing during a meeting.
Mask-wearing in public places has relaxed in recent months, but NPR still enforces a strict policy at its offices.
Getty Images

NPR did not return requests for comments on its mandate or memo.

In the memo, the company said reminding employees to wear a mask is “actually helping” them because they aren’t “intentionally trying to evade the rules.” The bizarre missive advocates for employees to say “thank you” for the reminder if they are violating the rule.

For coworkers who do not want to confront mask violators, the company has a system where they can secretly snitch on others.

The sign at WMFE, the National Public Radio station in Orlando
According to an internal memo, NPR staffers who repeatedly violate its mask policy could face termination.
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“You can also share an anonymous concern via the EthicsPoint system… and HR will address your concern promptly but that’s not the best option for an immediate fix,” the memo said, underscoring that if the masking requirement is not followed, employees may face “ disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”

The harsh rules do not apply to employees who are working alone in the studio or in an office with the door closed. The company will also permit workers to take off their masks momentarily when “actively” eating or drinking, the note said.

For any other maskless exceptions, workers must get special permission “in advance,” the company said.

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