The worldwide spread of the coronavirus has taken its toll on the economy. Everywhere you look, businesses are closing. While most of us are financially in the same situation, we still wonder what the best steps may be regarding our finances.
New York attorney Gary Falkowitz answers some of your questions regarding job loss in this article, and to inform you of what your legal rights are in a difficult situation.
FAQ’s About Your Job and COVID-19
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions our office has received regarding our client’s jobs and the COVID-19 virus.
Can My Employer Call My Doctor to Find Out if I Have COVID-19?
The short answer is no! Your employer doesn’t have any right to contact your doctor to see if you have COVID-19 or any other illness. Your doctor must abide by the patient-doctor confidentiality rights that are in place, and your employer cannot violate your legal rights – even during this pandemic.
However, your employer may request that you grant them access to your medical files to keep the work environment safe for everyone. Still, it’s up to you as to whether you grant your employer permission to see your medical records.
Does My Employer Have to Pay Me if They Close Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic?
No, your employer doesn’t have to pay you or any of their employees for the time you will not be working for them. However, if you are fired or laid off, your employer must pay their staff for any vacation time or sick days you are owed.
During this pandemic, many employers are doing their best to keep their employees working or receiving some income. However, if your employer cannot do so, they have no obligation to do so according to the law.
Can I Collect Unemployment During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Yes. If you were laid off or terminated due to the coronavirus pandemic, you are eligible to collect unemployment.
Can My Employer Request that I Take A Vacation Day and Receive a Pay Cut Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Yes, but it depends on how your employer chooses to execute that plan.
During this challenging time, it may not be easy for your employer to maintain you, their staff, and keep everyone working. Your employer can ask you to take a day off and receive a reduced pay rate is one way they can keep people working.
However, doing this can become illegal if your employer offers this plan only to individual staff members. As an example, if your employer asked that only women and disabled workers take time off, this action would be considered illegal. It is only legal if it’s done in an equal and equitable fashion.
Are Medical Industry Workers Entitled to Hazard Pay?
If you are a medical worker during the pandemic, we’re sure you are feeling the pressure of having to work long hours and face exposure to the coronavirus. We hope the organization you are employed by are doing everything they can to make you feel your efforts are appreciated by paying you extra for overtime as well as compensating you for the risks you are taking.
Can My Employer Pick Specific People to Work From Home During the Pandemic?
Yes. Many employers keep their businesses open and their employees safe by choosing to allow as many employees as possible to work from home. However, depending on the industry your employer engages in, some positions are better suited to work from home than others, and it makes sense to let those workers that can work from home.
Can My Employer Fire Me if I Stay Home to Avoid Getting COVID-19?
Many businesses are being ordered to shut down during the pandemic. If your company chooses to stay open despite shut down orders and forces you to come to work, you may decide not to do so, and you cannot be fired for disobeying your employer in this case.
However, if a shutdown order is in place, it’s up to your employer to choose who continues to work and who doesn’t. Furthermore, if you get sick and stay home, you cannot be fired, and you must be treated in the same way as you would be if you got ill under different circumstances.
Can I Get Fired If I’m Told to Work From Home But I Don’t Have the Resources?
If your employer is telling you to work from home, it’s up to your employer to provide you with the tools you need to accomplish this. Your employer may choose to provide you with those tools directly or reimburse you for the items you purchased to continue working.
What Guidelines Specify Which Employers Can Shut Down?
Federal and local guidelines are putting guidelines into place every day that determine which businesses are ordered to shut down. This may vary from state to state and even city to city, but in general, it mandates that companies who don’t provide emergency and essential services should be shut down.
Finding the Right New York Attorney to Protect Your Rights
If you or a loved one believes their rights may have been violated due to actions taken by your employer during this pandemic, you will need a good attorney by your side. New York lawyer, Gary Falkowitz can help. We have the experience you need to represent you in all work-related legal matters.
We are living in uncertain times, and if you feel your employer has taken actions that put your employment in jeopardy during this pandemic, you have the right to take legal action and New York lawyer Gary Falkowitz is here to help.