Can an Employer Force Me to Work During COVID-19? | Mann & Elias
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Can an Employer Force Me to Work During COVID-19?

Know Your Rights: Our Employment Attorney in Los Angeles Can Help You

Most states have relaxed COVID-19 rules while others have fully reopened. This has led to most employers to start recalling their employees back to work.

However, some employees such as those working remotely and furloughed ones are still hesitant to go back. For employees whose employment is terminated prematurely, hiring Los Angeles unemployment lawyer can help in getting justice.

Many people are getting benefits that they didn’t have while working. For such people, the option of returning back to work will definitely reduce their income significantly. Other employees are reluctant to go back because of the fear of being infected by COVID-19 on their way to work or by colleagues at the workplace. Another group of people not ready to go back to work are those with pre-existing medical conditions. This is because they are at risk of more complications in case they contract the virus.

This leaves one with the question–can your employer force you to return to work during the pandemic?

There are several factors that can help one argue their case in a situation where they are forced to go to work by an employer. In addition, employees will need a good Los Angeles workplace lawyer in case they are dismissed because of refusing to work during COVID-19.

Essential Employees

Every state has its own rules describing who essential employees are. There are basically 14 categories of services or employees considered to be essential–although some states have added more to this category.

Examples of essential workers include first responders, health workers, agricultural and food employees, critical manufactures, food, and sanitization. This group of employees and others have no choice but to report to work when they are called upon by their employers. They can only be exempted if they are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19.

An Existing Contract

The other important thing to note is that an employer can demand you to return to work during COVID-19 even if you are not an essential worker. This can happen in a situation where local businesses have reopened in states that have at-will laws such as Illinois. You should also try to get more clarification from an employment attorney in Los Angeles. He or she will be able to advise on the steps to take if an employee was fired for refusing to work because of coronavirus.

If an Employee is Sick or Has Come in Contact With a COVID-19 Patient

If you exhibit symptoms or have come in contact with an infected person, your employer has a right to have you examined to determine if you are fit to work or not. If it is found that your health is perfect and that you don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms, then your employer can force you to work during COVID-19.

When Caring For a COVID-19 Patient

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) gives extended leave for peopleworking for companies with 500 or fewer employees. This means that in case you have a child who is out of school because of the effects of COVID-19 and you want them taken care of, then the FFCRA act gives you ample time to find help. Additionally, the law also demands that the affected employee or the person being taken care of be provided with leave allowance.

High-Risk People or People With a Disability

In case a person is disabled under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), they are entitled to certain exceptions such as being granted permission to work remotely. In addition, if a person has a post-traumatic disorder and the condition can be exacerbated by the fear of contracting coronavirus, an employer will be forced to allow the individual to work from home.

In case you are working for an employer who is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), then you qualify for leave–provided you have worked for them for more than a year or you have an underlying health condition.

What if You Are Wrongfully Terminated From Work?

If your employer dismisses you from employment and yet you had a binding contract, then you can sue them for damages or reinstatement. However, you will need a highly experienced wrongful termination attorney Los Angeles to increase the chances of winning the case.

In a nutshell, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about numerous challenges in almost every aspect of life. One of the most affected areas is the employment sector. Most employers have been left confused about how to handle employees who are unable to report back to work. The best option is for employers and employees to negotiate and arrive at an amicable solution. If push comes to shove and your employer decides to terminate your employment contract unceremoniously, all you can do is to seek the services of an employment attorney in Los Angeles.


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