Louisville, KY asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Kentucky

Q: Can my employer fire me for not going back to work to my non-essential job during covid-19?

I am a receptionist for a privately owned dental office. I have been laid off for a couple weeks. The doctor has been going in by himself to treat emergencies only. He just got approved for the PPP loan and tells us today (Friday) that all his staff have to come back to work Monday or they will be fired. Is this legal? And can I still draw unemployment if he fires me for this? I am also immune compromised.

1 Lawyer Answer
Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Columbus, OH

A: This is a tough situation. It sounds like your employer is a small employer (employs 50 or less employees). If that is the case, then the job protections set forth in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act may not apply to you. However, you may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act if your employer employs 15 or more employees, depending on the nature of why you are immune compromised. If you are covered under the ADA, then you can request additional unpaid leave time as a reasonable accommodation for a disability. If you are fired on this basis, you will still be able to collect unemployment payments.

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