COVID-19 Legal Q&A

The coronavirus is sweeping the world, accounting for millions of illnesses and deaths. There is no hiding place.

To keep people safe, governments are ordering the shutdowns of non-essential businesses. While it is hopeful that these shutdowns help people stay healthy, it is also putting people out of work, making them uncertain about their financial futures.

If you have questions regarding how your employer is treating you during these uncertain times, David Aylor Law Offices has the answers. Read on to find out more.

My employer made me cut my hours, take unpaid leave, or ended my employment due to COVID-19. What are my rights?

If you have been put out of work due to COVID-19, you can file for unemployment. It would help if you had past earnings and an immigration status that allows you to work to be eligible. If you have been permanently displaced, you will also have to look for work to keep collecting unemployment.

My employer is treating me differently during COVID because I am Asian or from another country. What can I do?

An employer can not treat you differently based on your culture or ethnicity under any circumstances. If you feel your employer is discriminating against you, you can file a case against them.

My employer is forcing me to stay home because one of my relatives just returned from an affected country. Is he within his rights to do so?

No, your employer cannot make you stay home because he thinks you may have the coronavirus. However, if the government quarantined a family member, you may be given up to 2 weeks of sick leave to stay home and take care of them.

Is my employer required to provide me with accommodations for working at home if I have a disability?

Yes. If you are staying home due to a disability like a weakened immune system, your employer must provide you with everything you need to work while you stay at home. They also have the option to reimburse you for any money you shelled out to buy the necessary supplies.

Bear in mind that cold and flu symptoms would not be considered a disability. However, pneumonia could be seen as such.

Can my employer ask me if I have the coronavirus or any conditions that put me at high risk?

No. Your medical records are your private information, and a doctor-patient confidentiality agreement protects them. If your employer asks for your records or any information on your records, it a violation of this agreement.

If I traveled to a country that was affected by the coronavirus, can my employer ask me to stay home during the incubation period?

Yes, the CDC is asking all travelers to stay home for 14 days after returning from an affected country. Your employer is well within his or her rights to enforce this.

If I have the coronavirus, can my employers let my co-workers know about my condition?

No, your employer cannot tell anyone about your medical condition, including your co-workers.

Can my employer take my temperature at work?

Usually, this kind of behavior is frowned upon but, given the current health climate, it can be acceptable in certain situations.

If I start getting corona symptoms at work, can my employer send me home?

Yes, employers are advised to send anyone that is showing corona symptoms at work home immediately.

If I am unable to work because I am sick with the coronavirus, what can I do to continue bringing in an income?

If you have to stay home because you are sick with the coronavirus, there are several things you can do to continue bringing in income. One is to collect your accrued sick days. However, some businesses may give their employees as little as three sick days, which will not cover their entire leave.

Another option is to collect money under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Put into effect April 2, this act applies to all workers working for companies with less than 500 employees. Those that are eligible will get an additional two weeks of paid sick leave.

You can also try applying for State Disability Insurance. You can apply through the EDD web site to find out if you are eligible.

If you contracted the coronavirus while at work, you may be able to file a worker’s compensation claim to receive compensation.

Can I lose my job because I’m out sick with the coronavirus?

No, you can’t lose your job because you’re out sick with the coronavirus. You may be eligible for two weeks of sick leave.

You may also qualify for up to 12 weeks of protected time off. Here are some eligibility requirements:

  • Your employer must have at least 50 employees that work within 75 miles of your worksite.
  • Your company must have employed you for at least a year.
  • You must have worked at least 1250 hours within the work year you are requesting time off.

How can I receive income while I’m staying home to care for a family member who has coronavirus? 

If you work for a company that employs 500 employees or less, you can use paid sick days to make up for lost income. If your company has 500 employees or more, you can use the paid sick days you have accrued.

You can also use paid family leave to maintain an income while caring for a sick relative. You can apply for paid family leave through the EDD, and you may receive 60-70% of your total income for up to two weeks. You must have a certified health care worker to confirm your relative’s condition to receive this income.

Finding the Right Lawyer to Make Sure Your Rights are Protected

If you feel like your employer has acted in a way that may have violated your rights during COVID-19, you need a reliable attorney on your side. If you are looking for an attorney in the Charleston area, David Aylor Law Offices is recommended.

David Aylor has over a decade of experience in various practice areas and has handled several work-related cases. Over the years, his team of lawyers has delivered favorable outcomes for many of their clients. They are known for treating their clients fairly and with the utmost care and respect.

If you are questioning your employer’s behavior during the COVID-19 outbreak and you’re not sure where to turn, David Aylor Law Offices can give you the information you need. He will make sure your rights are protected during this difficult time.

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