Fired During COVID-19: Was I Wrongfully Terminated? | Mann & Elias

Wrongfully Terminated During COVID-19? Contact a Wrongful Termination Attorney Los Angeles

Few lives have been untouched by the Coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak has tested the capacity of the entire nation to survive and thrive. The disease has struck at the heart of the economy. Business is predicated on the ability of people to come together in groups and work. The pandemic has made such organization risky in most situations and impossible in others.

Most employers are trying to cope with the crisis in a way that is fair and reasonable. They have made the health and safety of their employees a top priority and have allowed some flexibility in the work schedules. Others have decided to ignore the real threat of the virus. Some employers have taken this notion to the extreme and, owing to political commitments, have decided to do the exact opposite of what public health experts advise.

If the company you work for is not following laws on issuing protective equipment, maintaining social distancing, granting family and medical leave, and firing and laying off employees, then you should hold them accountable.

Moreover, if one of your work colleagues was fired for refusing to work because of Coronavirus and you believe the same thing is about to happen to you, it is important to know your legal rights. You should hire a wrongful termination attorney Los Angeles if you were fired from your job because you refused to work in a place that has not taken the threat posed by the pandemic seriously.

The Most Common Complaints

Going to work should not put your health in danger. Some employers simply refuse to recognize this basic fact. There have been alarming reports of employers who will not provide PPE and will not rearrange their workspace in accordance with social distancing rules. There are also employers who will not allow people who have come into contact with COVID-19 to take time off to self-isolate. And some employers have taken a hard line against working from home, even in lines of business in which this is possible.

Unfortunately, and bizarrely, the pandemic has become politicized. And you may be working for someone who makes decisions based on their ideological commitments rather than public health advice and the law. Indeed, the last of these is your last recourse. If trying to reason with your employer has failed, you can use the law to protect your health and your job.

Two federal laws govern workplace health and safety: The Occupational Safety and Health Act and the National Labor Relations Act

The Occupational Safety and Health Act  (OSHA)

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is the agency charged with keeping the workplace free of hazards to employee health and well-being. Employers must abide by the guidelines issued by OHSA as a result of the pandemic. These include social distancing, cleaning the workplace regularly with the right disinfectant solutions, and requiring employees who have fallen ill to stay at home.

Employers are prohibited from firing, disciplining, demoting, or taking any other adverse action against employees who speak out about health and safety. If your employer continues to defy OSHA regulations and you decide to stay home anyway, you may be entitled to compensation and other forms of restitution if you are fired.

You must first prove that you are in imminent danger owing to the spread of COVID-19. If, for example, you are a cook in a restaurant and your employer refuses to issue personal protective equipment, then you may have a case against them.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is the other major law that protects workers from hazardous work conditions. This law protects you from predatory, dangerous, or unsafe practices at work, including raising concerns about workplace safety and walking off the job owing to them. The National Labor Relations Board can issue a fine to an employer who puts employees at risk. They can also require them to correct the dangerous situation.

Taking Legal Action Over COVID-19 Safety Concerns

In California, you can file a wrongful termination suit against your employer if they maintained work conditions that compelled you to quit. If you have an underlying health condition such as asthma, heart condition, or trouble with your lungs, then you are especially vulnerable to severe illness if you contract COVID-19. If you live with an elderly loved one, there is a high chance that you can contract the bug and spread it—which can be fatal to them.

An employment attorney in Los Angeles can help you build a case against an employer who is being unreasonable in their COVID-19 response. A Los Angeles unemployment lawyer can help you claim damages if you have been forced to resign from your job.

California law also protects workers who must take time off to care for a sick child or loved one. You cannot be fired for doing so, and a Los Angeles workplace lawyer can help you get compensation if you were.

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