Take Action Against Wrongful Termination Because of Covid-19 | Employment and Labor Law Attorneys

The pandemic has lasted for more than two years, but with medical advances and new variants reducing the severity of Covid-19 illness, employers have started to take the virus less seriously. Employees are increasingly realizing that they could face wrongful termination for having to quarantine or taking time off due to getting sick from Covid-19

Fortunately, under some circumstances, getting fired for having Covid-19 can give rise to a legal claim against your employer. This may be a bit difficult to understand, so let’s explore some basic issues. 

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Topics and questions this article can help to answer:

Did You Face Wrongful Termination for Covid?

Can you get fired for having Covid? As the pandemic slowly normalizes, workers are increasingly finding that their employers are pressuring them to work despite getting Covid. Sometimes, a particularly “bad” employer will threaten to fire, or unfairly dismiss, employees who get Covid and decide not to come into work. This is unacceptable behavior. 

If you experienced unfair dismissal from Covid or were fired for having to take time off to recover from being sick, then your employer could potentially be found liable for wrongful termination for Covid. But, only if you don’t have medical days left to take off. 

Covid, Wrongful Termination And FMLA Leave

It’s important to understand that the United States does not actively protect sick workers from the bad behavior of their employers, even if they have an infectious disease, such as: Coronavirus. You can only claim wrongful termination for covid or unfair dismissal if your employer illegally fired you when you still had medical leave, as this is considered a violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

If you already used up your annual medical leave, however, then your employer is legally entitled to fire you for missing work due to Covid.

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Covid Discrimination At Work

That being said, all is not lost. If you were fired due to getting Covid, it is possible that other workers did not face wrongful termination despite getting Covid-19. And, it’s also possible that these employees have no medical leave. In that case, you may be able to show that you were wrongfully terminated for retaliation or some other discriminatory reason, such as your age, gender, race, religion, and so on. This in turn, would entitle you to a lawsuit against your employer for discrimination or retaliatory behavior.

Taking Time Off From Work For Covid

It’s also worth noting that even if you have no Medical Leave left at work, if your employment contract gives you the right to take time off due to Covid-19, your employer cannot violate that right. They could be found liable for wrongful termination for Covid, in that case.

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Can I Sue My Employer If I Get Covid?

This is an important and common question: can you sue your employer if you get sick with Covid on the job? It depends. First, in order to successfully sue your employer for damages, you would have to show that you suffered losses due to Covid. If you were not severely ill, or otherwise didn’t suffer any major, long-term consequences, then you may not even have any losses to claim as damages in a lawsuit. 

For example, suppose that you get Covid while at work. You get sick for 4-5 days, and the illness is relatively minor. You don’t experience any long-term effects as a result of being sick. Under these circumstances, there are no real losses to claim. 

Can I Sue A Company For Putting Me At Risk For Long Term Covid?

Let’s assume that you do have long term losses. Perhaps your experience with Covid was severe, you have long term Covid-19, and you sustained long-term harm to your lungs. You’ve permanently lost lung capacity, and now will be unable to engage in regular exercise. Your physical and mental health are now impacted for the rest of your life. Under these circumstances, you could potentially sue your employer for damages. However, you would still have to show that your employer is at fault for exposing you to a heightened risk of Covid. 

Covid Negligence Lawsuit

Whether your employer exposed you to a heightened risk of getting Covid depends on a number of circumstantial facts. For example, if your employer pressures your co-workers to come into work even when they’re sick, that would potentially be enough to find them liable. If your employer is negligent, doesn’t provide masks, or discourages employees from wearing masks at work, that could also be enough to find them liable.

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Were You Fired Illegally During the Covid-19 Pandemic?

If you’ve been fired from your job due to you getting sick with Covid-19, or in some way related to protocols for Covid-19, then you may have a right to sue your employer for damages. In certain cases, a Covid firing may qualify as wrongful termination, and is against the law.

Covid-related legal actions can be complex and difficult to understand. For that reason, it’s critical that you work with a wrongful termination lawyer who can help you navigate the legal dispute effectively. 

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