The state Department of Labor has only started investigating the nearly 380 complaints it has received about alleged violations to Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order imposing workplace rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

State officials said Friday that three public-sector and 375 private-sector complaint were filed through the department's online reporting tool.

"Since the executive order has been in effect just over a week, there have been no punitive enforcement actions, but there are ongoing investigations," state Department of Labor spokeswoman Angela Delli-Santi told Townsquare Media News in an email.

The order took effect on Nov. 5. It requires face masks for most employees when not working at least six feet apart or in closed offices, and daily screenings. Employers are required to provide protective gear and breaks for handwashing.

Murphy has previously warned offices that don't comply could be shut entirely.

"Our overarching goal is compliance and safety, not punishments and shutdowns. We conduct further fact-finding and investigations depending on the nature and severity of the allegation," Delli-Santi said.

Delli-Santi would not disclose the nature of the complaints or say if any employers who are the subject of complaints have been contacted.

The executive order states that employers could be penalized by closure of the business by the Department of Health, a maximum fine of $1,000 and six month prison term.

Also among the mandates:

  • Workers have to be able to remain 6 feet apart when practicable.
  • Job sites have to sanitize high-touch work areas.
  • Job sites must have daily health check-ins for employees.
  • Employees must be required to stay home when they're sick.
  • Job sites must notify workers of any known exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

Employee reports can be filed at this Department of Labor website.

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