As we continue dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, employment lawyers have been helping millions of people across the country who are out of work, who have important legal questions about various circumstances at their workplaces, and who are facing unique situations we haven’t experienced before. So what are some of the major changes employers have been required to make, and what are the latest developments in employment law? Here are some of the issues we’re asked about frequently:
What changes to my workplace or worksite should my employer implement?
In order to provide a safe environment for all staff, employers have been advised to frequently sanitize high-traffic and common areas, install barriers that reduce foot traffic and congestion throughout, limit the number of people allowed at one time in elevators, escalators, and stairwells, rearrange workstations to adhere to social distancing guidelines, ask all staff to wear a face covering, and limit the number of people allowed in a single meeting room.
Can my employer fire me if I miss work due to COVID-19?
In the state of New Jersey the answer is no. If you have been told by a medical professional that you must quarantine and are therefore unable to attend work, your employer cannot fire you for missing work. New Jersey state law also protects you from harassment and discrimination as a result of COVID-19.
Is my employer under any legal obligations in regard to COVID-19?
Yes, your employer is required to provide you with a workplace that is free from hazards that can cause death or serious bodily harm. For COVID-19 this means providing you with necessary PPE, modifying your workplace to allow for social distancing, and allowing you to work remotely where possible. It also means asking staff who tested positive to isolate, including those who may have come in contact with someone who tested positive.
When to speak with an employment lawyer
If you have any concerns about the above-mentioned issues, or if you’re concerned that your employer is engaging in unfair employment practices as a result of COVID-19, we recommend speaking with an employment lawyer as soon as possible. This pandemic has pushed us into unfamiliar territory in regard to employment law, but it’s always best to know your rights as an employee and know what’s required of your employer.
If you need advice from an employment lawyer, or if you have any questions about your employment rights during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact SCC Legal today. Discover why so many people in New Jersey choose us as their trusted employment lawyers. We look forward to hearing from you.