The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things within our communities and businesses, including the way employment law is handled. Many employers and employees are questioning what constitutes a safe workplace and what is considered wrongful termination. Attorneys have been flooded with questions regarding employment law during the pandemic and how to handle certain employment situations. Just like everyone else, attorneys are navigating this virus for the first time. Unfortunately, laws and regulations are slightly hazy in the way they should be applied.
The most common type of lawsuit recently filed involves remote work and leave of absences. These types of lawsuits will likely rise in numbers now that school has resumed. Many employees claim that they have been discriminated against by their employers for having to stay home with their children. Other people claim that they were not given the opportunity to work from home or were told not to take advantage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), which requires businesses to offer paid or extended leave in response to the virus. Some employees lost their job as a result of the need to work from home to take care of their family, which led to the government implementing the FFCRA. Unfortunately, this legislation was overlooked by many employers, and workers were fired for needing to stay home.
Returning to work has also produced legal challenges. Many employees have inquired about whether employers can require workers to get tested for COVID-19 before they return to work. Testing can be required, but the employer must pay for the time it takes to perform the test. Employers also have the right to send a worker home who shows symptoms of COVID-19, but they do not have to name those who tested positive from the workplace. The most common lawsuit when returning to work involves an unsafe work environment. A safe workplace involves providing personal protection equipment, including masks and hand sanitizer, to prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits
If someone is unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program may be able to provide them with temporary benefits. These benefits may be provided to certain unemployed workers who are eligible. Many states have responded to the pandemic by expediting the application process and expanding eligibility to ensure that unemployed workers receive the benefits they deserve.
Although not a law, the government is continuing to ask employers to allow their employees to work from home, if possible. This helps contain the spread of the virus and protects workers from getting sick. Teleworking is not being mandated, but it is a precaution that each workplace should be taking. If an employee’s request to work from home was denied, they should contact an employment lawyer for more information on how the request can be approved.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Fight for Employees’ Rights During the Pandemic
If you have been unlawfully terminated or discriminated against by your employer during this difficult time, contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. for help with your case. Our legal team will work with you to obtain the compensation you deserve. Fill out our online contact form or call us at 215-574-0600 today for an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.