The reality is, due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, many Californians are being laid off. In most cases, such lay offs are legal and legitimate. However, laws protecting employees’ rights are still applicable, to make sure employers do no wrongfully terminate or discriminate against employers based on disability, pregnancy, age, race, religion, gender, or sex, using the Pandemic as an excuse.
California Employment Legal Group is dedicated to serving the interests of the employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you think you have been victimized by your employer, CONTACT the California Employment Legal Group today for a consultation with an experienced CA employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.
Can I be fired for COVID-19 Coronavirus?
California employment laws protect employees against employer’s retaliation to employer’s valid concerns, requests, or complains concerning COVID 19, including requests to work from home when possible, and requests for additional protective measures at the work place.
In short, generally your employer cannot fire you for getting sick from COVID 19, or for seeking reasonable accommodations to avoid getting sick from COVID 19.
In general, California laws protect employees from being terminated or discriminated against based on their poor health and disability. If due to your poor health, age, disability, or pre existing conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, raspatory disease, you and/or your doctor believe you are at risk for serious complications from COVID 19, you may seek family leave time, or certain reasonable accommodations.
Can I get fired for asking to work from home during the COVID 19 Pandemic?
Although continuing to report to work may put your health at risk, you are not necessarily entitled to work from home as an accommodation for your disability (serious health concerns). If you can, for the most part, efficiently and effectively complete your work tasks from home, then requesting to work from home to accommodate your disability is likely reasonable. For example, most computer programmers are able to do their work from their home. On the other hand, a computer technician who physically works on computers probably would not be able to effectively work from home.
However, even if ‘work from home’ does not apply to your position, you may still be entitled to certain accommodations to protect your health at work. For example, a computer technician who still needs to report to work, can seek to sit at a desk which is isolated from others, and/or ask for certain personal protective equipment (i.e. masks), to protect self from complications form COVID 19. If the employer fails to discuss and consider such requests, or if the employer refuses to provide for such accommodation requests, or if the employer retaliates against you and terminates you for making such requests, you may have a valid case against your employer.
Keep in mind that if your employer requires you to work from home, your employer must still pay you.
If it is reasonable for you to ask for such accommodations, but your employer fails to discuss and consider your requests, or fails to comply with your requests, and instead retaliates, discriminates, or terminates you because of your request, you may have a valid case against your employer.
Can I ask to go on ‘Family Medical Leave’ for getting COVID 19?
If you are infected with COVID 19, or if you have to take care of a family member who gets infected with COVID 19, you may qualify for family medical leave for a period of time. If your employer denies such proper request, or if your employer retaliates to your request, permanently replaces you, and/or terminates you, you may have a valid case against your employer.
If you suspect that you may have been infected with COVID 19, and seek to be quarantined for a couple of weeks, to protect yourself and others, but your employer does not allow you such time, or retaliates against you or terminates you, you may have a valid case against your employer.
Can COVID 19 be used as an excuse to fire me?
If you are told you are being laid off due to financial difficulties relating to COVID 19, but you know in fact that you are being terminated for a different discriminatory reason, such as your disability, pregnancy, gender, sex, age, race, or religion, you may have a valid case against your employer.
In short, if you truly believe your employer laid you off because your employer is facing financial difficulties due to the COVID 19 pandemic, you probably do not have a valid case against your employer. However, if you truly believe your employer terminated you because you were infected with COVID 19, or because you sought reasonable accommodations to avoid getting COVID 19, then you may have a valid case against your employer.