Protections For California Workers Affected By COVID-19

Employees in California continue to have questions and concerns related to their changed workplace situation in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the legal protections that California workers should be aware of in the current national emergency.

If the employer retaliates against the worker who used paid sick leave, does the employee have any legal protection?

The Labor Commissioner’s Office in California has enforced various laws to protect workers against an employer’s retaliatory action if they exercise their labor rights. During the COVID-19 situation, and otherwise, employees must file a complaint of discrimination or retaliation if their employer retaliates against their use of paid sick leave.

As some of the rules related to the prevailing COVID-19 health emergency are still evolving, if you decide not to use your available paid sick leave, or do not have any other paid leave available, you should discuss with your employer regarding what paid and unpaid leave options may be available to you.

If your employer makes any immigration-related threat against you for exercising your labor rights, it will be unlawful retaliation and you can pursue a claim against them for unlawful discrimination or retaliation.

Can your employer ask you to furnish information about your recent travel to foreign countries that have a high exposure to COVID-19?

Your employer can request you to provide this information if you have recently visited one of the countries that the CDC has identified to be high risk areas for coronavirus exposure. But this provision does not weaken your right to medical privacy. Therefore, your employer cannot make an inquiry into areas of your medical privacy.

Can you be compensated when you report to work, but your employer sends you back home?

In general, if you report to work in California on your regular scheduled shift, but your employer sends you back early, they will have to compensate you for a minimum of two hours and maximum of four hours of pay. However, if the employer is forced to send you back or is unable to continue operations during a COVID-19 emergency on the recommendation of the civil authorities, you are not entitled to compensation in that case.

Can you claim disability insurance if you are sick due to COVID-19 exposure?

If you are exposed to COVID-19 or have tested positive for it, and are therefore unable to work, you can file for a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. However, you will also have to provide medical document to support your claim. You can file this claim online in the current situation, but you should also be prepared to submit your medical documents online at the same time.

Talk to an Experienced Employment Law Attorney in California

COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for workers in California. If you believe your employer may have violated your rights during this time, you should have a knowledgeable lawyer by your side. The skilled employment law attorneys at Makarem & Associates are committed to fight for your rights. Call us at310-312-0299 to schedule an appointment or email us at [email protected].

The first meeting with us is free – you have nothing to lose. If you have a viable case you want us on your side.

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