I've searched the forums but not been able to find anything related to this so does anyone have any experience or guidance when it comes to dealing with Covid deniers in the workplace?
We hired someone a couple of months ago and despite making our Covid-19 procedures clear ahead of her first day we were a bit taken aback when they turned up to work without a face covering on (having seemingly ignored the signs of the front door stating this was mandatory and required by law) and when challenged stated they didn't believe in them and didn't wear one in any other settings, however they have complied with our requirements since then.
Recently, a number of colleagues have raised concerns to their manager that this employee has been making their views on Covid clear (that they think it is a hoax etc etc) which has upset a number of people who have either had it themselves or friends/ family who have and in some cases known people who have sadly died because of it. This employee has also supposedly told people they doesn't pay any attention to Covid restrictions outside of work which has caused some further anxiety amongst their colleagues who fear this person may introduce it into the workplace- as a manufacturer we have a number of employees who are unable to work from home.
Ironically, we are a scientific company and even been involved in the fight against Covid-19 by manufacturing hand sanitizer, disinfectants and testing kits for Covid- and this employee has a BSc in Biological Sciences! We have been incredibly fortunate thus far in that we have had no cases of workplace transmission and this is in no small part due to the efforts of our employees, both in and outside of work. I know we can't control what people do outside of work and everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how misguided it may be. I'm also aware that in a company of 350 people we probably have more than one Covid denier but this is the first one to make their position know (we certainly have a few anti-vaxxers but that's another matter!).
I'm doubtful that this person will pass their probationary period as just 2 months in is already showing a bad attitude but I'm curious to see if others have encountered this and how they have dealt with it. The employee's manager did have a quiet word recently and this was immediately met with "so i'm not allowed to have an opinion?" but the manager left it at asking them to be mindful of the impact such opinions could have on others at such a difficult time for everyone.