EMPLOYEES SHOULD KNOW THEIR RIGHTS DURING THE COVID 19 CRISIS
Recently enacted Federal legislation, the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and certain state laws may entitle you to some new and existing benefits and rights as a result of COVID-19. If you have questions or want to talk to an attorney about your rights during this pandemic, please contact paralegal Terri Norath at [email protected] or call her at 314-356-9721. Ms. Norath will ask you for a few details and then have one of our attorneys contact you.
Paid or Unpaid Leave
You may be entitled to either paid or unpaid leave, if you have-
- COVID-19 or symptoms of it, such as a dry cough, difficulty breathing, chest pains, fever, loss of taste/smell and/or extreme exhaustion
- A mental or physical condition or your age that makes you particularly in danger of getting COVID-19
- Are living with or caring for someone with COVID-19
- Need to care for your minor children whose schools are closed or another childcare provider is unavailable because of COVID-19
- Are afraid to go to work because of safety issues.
- Are out of work because of a government quarantine or isolation, such as, a shelter in place order.
During the COVID-19 crisis, an employee or a self-employed individual, may be entitled to unemployment benefits, including an enhanced benefit of an extra $600/week for a period of time if you are partially or totally unemployed because of COVID-19 related issues. Depending on where you were employed, you can find out more information about these benefits and how to apply at:
- Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations: https://labor.mo.gov/unemployed-workers
- llinois Department of Employment Security https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/default.aspx
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation if you were infected with COVID-19 on the job:
- Illinois has issued an emergency Workers’ Compensation Rule with special provisions for frontline workers, such as, first responders, and health care, grocery store, and construction workers.
- Missouri has passed a special Worker’s Compensation Rule for First Responders.
- While not covered by these special rules, other workers infected by COVID-19 may also have Workers’ Compensation Claims.
Retaliation or Discrimination
Federal and State discrimination laws may also protect you during this crisis if:
- You believe your employer fires, lays you off, reduces your hours or wages or otherwise retaliates or discriminates against you because you have COVID-19 or its symptoms, or take COVID-19 related leave
- A COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms of it and an individual vulnerability to it may raises issues of disability or age discrimination, reasonable accommodations, and confidentiality of personal health information.
You may have a right to telework, if available, when you cannot be at the workplace because of COVID-19 related issues.
Workplace Safety Concerns
An employer that does not follow reasonable safety procedures may be in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).
- You may be able to file a complaint with OSHA.
- OSHA also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for filing a good-faith complaint with OHSA about safety concerns at work.
NLRB (National Labor Relations Board)
Unions have the right to information about COVID-19 safety issues and, depending on the circumstances, the right to bargain on COVID-19 related changes in the workplace. Even non-union employees have the right to engage in collective action for purposes of seeking a safer workplace and better wages and benefits.
This is a developing and changing area of the law which our firm is monitoring for the most up-to-date government regulations and guidance regarding its interpretation and application.
Remember the information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.
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