Legal Rights During COVID-19 as an Employee | Mann & Elias

Speak to a Wrongful Termination Attorney Los Angeles to Learn Your Rights

COVID-19 has caused worry, fear, and havoc in the country. The state of California has been especially hit hard by the pandemic. Although the state took decisive action early to contain and curtail the spread of the virus, it has still made many Californians ill and led to the economic displacement of many more.

The big cities on both coasts were the first to be hit by the virus--Los Angeles among them. Businesses in the city have had to adjust their operations with little or no information about the pandemic. Safety has been the main concern of their employees. Because people can contract COVID-19 and not show any symptoms, many workers fear contracting the bug at work and bringing it home to their loved ones. Those who live with elderly relatives are especially concerned.

You may be one of the many workers who have decided not to go into work to avoid getting Coronavirus. Many employers have been willing to work with employees who have taken this option. Others have decided to fly in the face of reality and ordered their workers to return. Indeed, you may know someone who was fired for refusing to work because of Coronavirus. If you fear that the same thing may happen to you or already has happened to you, then you should hire a wrongful termination attorney Los Angeles.

In the midst of the deadliest pandemic in a century, it is more important than ever to know your legal rights as a worker. Here are a few of them:

You Cannot Be Terminated for Contracting COVID-19

The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) prohibits an employer from terminating an employee who gets sick. It is known that COVID-19 can leave its victims severely debilitated for months after the worst of the sickness is over, and that it also leaves permanent scarring of the lungs. This may count as a disability in which case it would be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To qualify for ADA status, you must prove that the disease has substantially limited one of your life activities.

Your Employer Must Pay You for Taking Time Off

The state has recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Under this act, employers with fewer than 500 employees must allow them to take up to 80 hours of emergency sick leave if they have been subject to a quarantine order or are caring for someone who is subject to such an order. The law also requires workers to give the same amount of time off for employees with children whose school or day care has been closed owing to COVID-19. Other situations similar to these are covered by the act. If you have questions, you should contact the Department of Health and Human Services.

You Can Work from Home if You Are in a Vulnerable Category

If you have an underlying condition such as asthma, heart disease, trouble with your lungs, or a compromised immune system, then you are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. You can therefore demand to work from home—that is, if your job is amenable to such an arrangement.

You Can Demand to Stay Home to Care for Your Children

You can also arrange to work from home if you must care for your children. And if you cannot work at all because of your need to care for your children and you have used up the 80 hours afforded by the FFCRA, you can claim another 10 weeks of sick leave at two-thirds pay.

You May Have Protections Against Pay Cuts and Termination

Employers cannot fire people on a whim. They must abide by certain rules when laying off employees. Federal law requires firms to give their employees 60 days of notice before mass layoffs or a worksite closing. You should also be informed in advance if your hours are being cut.

Small businesses in California have been especially hard hit by the pandemic. If the company you work for has had to close its doors and you have been laid off as a result, then you may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

You Can Claim Compensation if a Prospective Employer Withdraws a Job Offer

If you were offered a job and accepted it before you fell ill from COVID-19, then you may be entitled to compensation. Although employers can withdraw a job offer if you are incapable of performing it or you pose a risk to others, they must make reasonable accommodation if your illness falls under the ADA.

You should hire an employment attorney in Los Angeles and seek compensation for damages if an employer has refused to follow through with the hiring process. The Los Angeles unemployment lawyer you hire can help you recover money for such things as relocation costs and lost income from quitting your old job with the understanding that you had a new one. You should consult with a Los Angeles workplace lawyer if you find yourself in this difficult situation.

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