COVID-19 Legal Q&A

The coronavirus has changed everything. In just a few weeks, the entire world is upside down. Friends and relatives are being kept apart, masks and gloves are being worn, and businesses everywhere are being ordered to shut down.

Business shutdowns are resulting in a loss of income, and many workers don’t know where to turn. If you have questions regarding ways to receive income during the COVID-19 lockdown or the way your employer is treating you at the time, we have the answers. Read on to find out more.

Does my employer have the right to force me to take time off, ask me to work reduced hours, or fire me during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Yes, many employers are having to lay off workers and reduce their hours during COVID-19 to keep their companies running. If your employer has laid you off, asked you to work reduced hours, or even fired you because of COVID-19, you may receive income by applying for unemployment on the EDD web site.

To apply for unemployment, you must have past earnings and an immigration status that allows you to work. If you have been fired from your job, you must look for a new job to continue to receive unemployment.

I’m Asian or from another country, and my employer has been treating me differently ever since the corona outbreak. Is he allowed to do this?

No, your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you for any reason. If your employer is treating you differently due to the coronavirus, you are within your rights to file a case against him.

My employer is forcing me to stay home because a member of my family has just returned from traveling to an affected country. Is he allowed to do this?

No, your employer can’t make you stay home because he suspects you may have corona. However, if you have a family member that was quarantined by the government, you may be entitled to sick leave to stay home and care for that relative.

If I have a disability, is my employer responsible for providing me with reasonable accommodations so I can work from home? 

If you have a corona-related disability such as a weakened immune system or pneumonia and need to work from home for safety reasons, your employer must provide you with the accommodations you need to make this possible. He must also reimburse you for any supplies you purchase to make working from home possible.

Note, in these situations, cold and flu symptoms would not be considered a disability.

Can my employer ask me if I have a health condition that puts me at risk for the coronavirus?

No. Your health records are protected by a confidentiality agreement between you and your doctor. Any request for these records or information on these records would be seen as a violation of this agreement.

If I traveled to a country that is affected by the coronavirus, is my employer allowed to let me stay home during the two week incubation period?

Yes, the CDC is recommending that all travelers stay home for two weeks after returning from travel to an affected country. Your employer has a right to enforce this in the workplace.

If I have the coronavirus, can my employer tell others about my illness?

No, all your medical information must be kept private and confidential.

Can my employer take my temperature at work?

Ordinarily, this type of behavior would be frowned upon. However, given the current health climate, your employer may take your temperature to keep you and those around you safe.

If I start showing coronavirus symptoms at work, can my employer send me home?

Yes, the CDC is recommending that employers send workers home if they begin showing coronavirus symptoms.

How do I continue receiving income while I am home sick with the coronavirus?

There are several ways to continue receiving income while you are at home with the coronavirus. These are as follows:

  • Cash in on Accrued Sick Days: You are entitled to collect payment for your accrued sick days while you are home with the coronavirus. However, some companies will only give their workers three sick days, which will not be enough to cover your entire leave.
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Put into effect on April 2, this act provides for workers who are employed by companies with fewer than 500 employees. Eligible workers may be entitled to an additional two weeks of paid sick days if they qualify.
  • State Disability Insurance (SDI): Some displaced workers may be eligible for SDI. You can apply for SDI through the EDD web site.
  • Worker’s Comp: If you got sick at work, you might be entitled to worker’s compensation. To start the process, you must file a DWC-1 claim form with your employer. The form is available at the following link: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html.

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

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

You may also be entitled to up to 12 weeks of protected time off. Here are some requirements you will need to qualify:

  • You must work for a company that has at least 50 employees working within 75 miles of your worksite
  • You must be working for your company for at least a year
  • You must have accrued at least 1250 work hours within the year you are requesting time off for

What can I do to receive income while I am at home caring for a relative that is sick with the coronavirus?

If you are staying home to care for a relative that is sick with the coronavirus, you can use your paid sick days to continue receiving income. You may also be eligible for paid family leave.

You can apply for paid family leave through the EDD web site to receive 60-70% of your total income for two weeks. To qualify, you must have a certified health care worker provide proof of your relative’s condition.

Finding the Right Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

If you have questions concerning how your work was affected during COVID-19 or the way your employer treated you as a result of the health scare, Tyler Moffitt can get you the answers you need.

Located in Carrollton, GA, Moffitt Law, LLC has years of experience helping his clients get favorable outcomes. He has a reputation for being honest, respectful, and accountable to his clients. He is known for his aggressive representation, his straightforward approach, and his affordable rates.

These are confusing times, and it can be hard to determine what your rights are given the unique situations we are facing. Tyler Moffitt can clear up the confusion and make sure you are protected. Call him to make your job is one less thing you have to worry about.

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