As corona cases continue to grow, many states are taking extreme measures to curb the outbreak, and most Americans are being forced to stay at home. Several businesses are being ordered to close to ensure people do their part in social distancing. This means that many workers will be laid off while they wait for the pandemic to pass.
Businesses that weren’t doing well in the first place may not be able to weather the storm. These businesses may have to shut down completely, leaving their entire staff out of work.
All this leads to a lot of financial uncertainty.
We don’t know what the future may hold for workers that have been displaced, but we do have some answers regarding what you can do to make sure your rights are protected and to keep money coming in during the lockdown. Read on to find out more.
FAQ’s on How the Coronavirus Can Impact Your Employment
Can my employer ask my doctor if I have the coronavirus?
No. Doctors and patients have a confidentiality agreement. If an employer requests medical information about you in regard to the coronavirus or any other health issue, this will be seen as a violation of this confidentiality.
Do employers have to pay you if you were laid off during the pandemic?
No. If you were fired or laid off due to the pandemic, employers must pay you for any sick days or vacation time you are owed. They have no obligation to pay you beyond that.
Can you collect unemployment if you were fired or laid off during the pandemic?
Yes. You can apply for unemployment on the EDD web site.
Is it legal for employers to ask their staff to take unpaid time off or work at a reduced rate during the pandemic?
Yes. Businesses are hurting, and it is perfectly legal for employers to ask staff members to take time off or work at a reduced rate to help them get through. However, this must be done in an equal and equitable manner.
For instance, requests the employers make should be extended to the entire staff. If they are only asking specific groups like women or disabled workers to take time off, this would not be considered legal.
Are people in the medical industry entitled to hazard pay?
Many people in the medical industry are working long hours and risking their lives, helping patients who are sick with the coronavirus. It is hopeful that their employers are providing them with extra compensation for the hard work they are putting in.
Can employers pick certain workers to work from home?
Yes. Employers may ask certain workers to work from home based on their job duties. For instance, if you are working in an administrative position that entails responsibilities that allow you to work from home, it makes sense for employers to allow you to do so. However, if you work in a service position that requires you to be on the field, you will be unable to work from home.
However, the decision for employers to allow you to work from home must be based on your job duties only. It cannot be based on any other factors like race, gender, culture, or job performance.
Can I get fired if I choose to stay home during the lockdown?
If your company is not is allowed to stay open during the shutdown and your boss chooses to continue operations, you are perfectly within your rights to stay home, and your employer cannot fire you for doing so.
However, if the company was not ordered to shut down, the employer may choose who will continue to work and who will be staying home.
Furthermore, if employees get sick during the lockdown, they cannot be fired, and they must be treated as they would if they had gotten sick under any other circumstances.
Can I be fired if I’m asking to work from home, and I don’t have the resources to do so?
No. If an employee asks you to work from home, it is up to them to provide you with the resources you need or reimburse you for any resources you buy yourself.
What guidelines specify what businesses must shut down?
The guidelines that specify what businesses must shut down and which can stay open vary from state to state and city to city. For the most part, any company that does not provide emergency services is ordered to shut down.
If my company employs less than five people, am I obligated to pay them during the lockdown?
No. It doesn’t matter how many people you employ. You are not obligated to pay your employees during the lockdown.
What can I do if I feel my employer has violated my rights?
If you feel that your employer has done anything to violate your rights during the coronavirus lockdown, you need the help of a reliable lawyer. If you are looking for a lawyer in Columbia, SC, the Jeffcoat Firm is highly recommended.
The Jeffcoat Firm has years of experience dealing with work-related cases. They know how important your case is, and they treat their clients with the care and respect they deserve. They will let you know your legal options and keep you in the loop at every step of the decision-making process.
These are uncertain times. If you have questions, Jeffcoat has the answers. Turn to them to make sure your rights are protected.