Q: Can my boss refuse to let me work from home to balance caretaking for a sick parent and also being aware of the pandemic
I have been working for a company w/ 2 employees for 10 months part-time. This company was considered an essential business during quarantine, so even though my boss told me to come in to work during March-June, I requested to work from home. I got an OK eventually, though afterwards I learned she talked badly about me "getting" to work from home to my coworker.
Anyways, my dad now has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. When asking to work from home some of the days to better balance taking care of my dad/still work, I got a resounding no. Her idea of flexibility/compromising is allowing me to call out any time, unpaid. Being as my work is all remote capable and I didn't get any negative feedback about my work during quarantine, I don't understand. She thinks her allowing me to work from home during this time is giving me preferential treatment. I pointed out that me not working is lose-lose, but she does not care. If I get fired, can I still get EDD?
A: The first problem is that the protections against discrimination fall upon employers of 5 or more people. Otherwise you may be covered by the CFRA- Cal. Family Rights Act- google it. Even if you are not subject to the specific benefits of the act, your employer cannot discriminate against you if it is against public policy. There is a lot of public policy relating to COVID these days coming from the Governor's office and elsewhere, and the CFRA is also a statement of public policy in Cal. But you have a difficult time. You should definitely consult with an Employee Rights attorney in your area about your particular concerns.
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A: I am sorry to hear about what you and your father are going through. Unfortunately, when you work for such a small employer, the laws that protect you against discrimination on the basis of your association with a disabled individual do not apply to you. Therefore you have no protection under the ADA, the FMLA, the Fair Employment and Housing Act or the CFRA (California Family Rights Act) when you work for an employer with only two employees. And although there is also a tort known as wrongful adverse employment action in violation of public policy, there is no public policy that extends to employers with only two employees, so even that is unavailable to you.
If you get fired, apply for UI benefits. If you are denied benefits because the employer takes the position that you were fired for misconduct, be sure to appeal and when you have your hearing be sure to argue that matters were completely out of your control. You may well still get benefits. It costs you nothing to try.
Good luck to you.
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