County assessor accused of forcing employees to return to work, despite COVID risks

More than half of the employees at the Santa Clara County Assessor’s office say they are being forced to return to the office, despite the ongoing risk from COVID-19 and the county’s prohibitions.

According to a report from the Silicon Valley Voice, 153 of 270 Assessor’s employees sent a petition to County Supervisors. The August 11 document states that Assessor Larry Stone is pushing them to return to in-person work unnecessarily.

Stone told the Voice that more than 70 employees returned on a rotating basis in May. Stone defended his office as essential and that Assessor’s employees qualify as essential.

Santa Clara County health orders to apply to government entities as well as commercial businesses. Stone argued to the Voice that having his staff work from home doesn’t allow for maximum productivity. Workers disagree, having met recent deadlines for property assessments.

In a particularly startling line, given the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in the region, Stone seemingly disregarded employee health concerns.

“Just not feeling safe is not a reason for us to allow somebody to do something,” Stone told the Voice.