March 31, 2020 - Posts
What Workers Should Know About Their Rights During The Coronavirus Pandemic
As the scale of the coronavirus crisis has become clearer, companies in the U.S. have been taking dramatic steps that impact their workers. These companies have lawyers in their corner. Too often, workers—who are the most vulnerable during this crisis—do not. At Barrett Johnston Martin & Garrison, we believe workers deserve the same level of guidance about their legal rights as the companies that employ them. Here are some of the rights you have during this difficult and uncertain time:
- Proper pay for all of the time you work
- Paid and unpaid leave related to coronavirus
- Reasonable work accommodations, including working from home, if you are at high risk for coronavirus exposure
PAY FOR ALL OF THE TIME YOU SPEND WORKING
During the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have not paid their employees properly. Some examples include:
- Laying off workers without paying their final paychecks: As some businesses close during the pandemic, they are failing to pay workers for the work they have already performed. If you have performed work, you are entitled to be paid for it.
- Requiring workers to work even longer hours without proper overtime pay: In many industries, workers have begun to work even longer hours than before. For example, healthcare workers, grocery store staff, warehouse pickers, and delivery drivers have worked long hours since the crisis begin. If you work more than 40 hours in a week, you must be paid time-and-a-half for the hours over 40.
- Making employees work from home, but not paying them for all work time: Other businesses have switched to work from home or remote work. If you are working from home, you are still entitled to be paid for all of the time you spend working each day. For example, just because you are at home, your employer cannot begin to dock your pay for your normal 10 or 15-minute paid breaks or for ordinary bathroom breaks. Whether you are at home or in the office, your employer has to pay you for all of your work time.
If you believe you have not been paid properly, we are here to help 7 days a week. For a free and confidential consultation call us at (615) 744-9379 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAID AND UNPAID LEAVE
- Family and Medical Leave Act Continues to Provide Unpaid Leave: The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) has always provided many workers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year when they suffer from a serious health condition or when they must care for family. For more information on FMLA rights, here is a helpful fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA Benefits: For many workers, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) expands the FMLA rights above and provides paid sick live. The FFCRA provisions are effective on April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. But how does FFCRA expand workers’ rights?
- (1) Paid Sick Leave. First, FFCRA contains the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. This provides two weeks of paid sick leave for employees of covered employers when certain coronavirus-related conditions require the employee to take off work.
- (2) Expanded FMLA Rights including Paid FMLA Leave. Second, FFCRA contains the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. This provides an additional ten weeks of paid leave for employees of covered employers when certain conditions are met. Specifically, some employees are eligible for paid FMLA leave when caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
For more information on how FFCRA expands workers’ rights to paid leave, here is a helpful poster from the U.S. Department of Labor.
If your employer has denied you leave or retaliated against you in any way for seeking leave, we are here to help 7 days a week. For a free and confidential consultation call us at (615) 744-9379 or email us at email@example.com.
REASONABLE WORK ACCOMMODATIONS FOR WORKERS AT HIGH RISK OF CORONAVIRUS EXPOSURE
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), employers must make reasonable accommodations for certain workers with disabilities. Workers with underlying medical conditions that place you at greater risk of coronavirus infection (for example, asthma, compromised immune systems, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, etc.) may qualify for reasonable accommodations under the ADA. One accommodation some employers can make is allowing work from home where possible. You must make a request for an accommodation if you need one.
For more information on how work from home can serve as an ADA accommodation, here is a helpful fact sheet from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
If your employer has denied a request for a reasonable accommodation, we are here to help 7 days a week. For a free and confidential consultation call us at (615) 744-9379 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The coronavirus pandemic and the government response to it has led to a changing legal landscape. We are here to help you navigate it. If you think your rights may have been violated, call us at (615) 744-9379 or email us at email@example.com for a free and confidential consultation.
At Barrett Johnston Martin & Garrison, LLC, we put people first.