There have been a number of wrongful termination and other employment related claims stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are examples of lawsuits that have been filed as a result of the current health crisis:
- Discrimination and unlawful termination claims due to employers failing to properly consider an employee’s personal situation during the pandemic
- Pregnant and disabled workers being terminated over concern for their health during the pandemic
- Retaliation claims where an employee is demoted and then terminated after raising concerns about the employer’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including violation of stay at home orders
- Employees of healthcare facilities fired for reporting patient abuse and neglect during the pandemic
- Employees terminated for taking leave to care for a child, spouse, or parent during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Workers suffering from COVID-19 being told they would be paid while recovering from the illness, but later being told that all PTO had been exhausted
- Minority workers being denied promotions and advancement
- Age discrimination case with employee being fired after complaining about not being paid earned commissions during the health crisis
- Real estate agent fired after raising concerns about giving in-person tours during the COVID-19 pandemic and about noncompliance with state laws by threatening tenants with eviction where moratorium on eviction in place
- Dental office employee terminated after expressing concern about returning to work during the pandemic
- Trucking company violated the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) by failing to allow workers to take leave due to risk of Covid-19
Anti-discrimination, harassment and retaliation laws are in full effect during these times, and additional protections have been acted to protect employees.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
In Los Angeles, a new Emergency Order was approved whereby eligible employees who work at least 40 hours per week or are classified as full-time will receive 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave, based on their average biweekly pay between February 3 and March 4, 2020. Employees may use supplemental sick leave for the following purposes:
- Due to their own COVID-19 infection or because a public health official or healthcare provider recommends they isolate or quarantine themselves;
- Because the employee is at least 65 years old or has certain health conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19 (e.g., heart disease, weakened immune system, etc.);
- To care for a family member who is not sick but is being quarantined or self-isolating; or
- To provide care for a family member whose senior care provider or whose school or childcare provider temporarily ceases operations, if the employee is unable to secure a reasonable alternative caregiver.
It is illegal to discriminate against pregnant or disabled employees, even if the employer believes it is protecting these workers.
If you have been the victim of a wrongful termination related to COVID-19, consult an employment law attorney without delay.