Glen Oaks, NY asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for New York

Q: Laid off due to COVID & now the company is rehiring.

Hello! I was furloughed from my employer in March. There was no communication during this process or news from my director. Eventually they have brought almost all employees back & I was told they don’t have much info on when I will be allowed back. A week later I was sent an automated email from HR stating that I was being laid off due to financial effects the company is dealing with due to COVID. Now, not even a week after, I am seeing job postings online for the company and for my exact position. It seems as though the company and my director have used a COVID lay off as the blame for them just not wanting to hire me back. Is there a case for this? I am feeling really frustrated from how this was handled. I believe they knew for months they had no intention of brining me back and all of this time that passed I could have been looking for new employment instead of waiting around thinking I was getting my job back.

1 Lawyer Answer
V. Jonas Urba
V. Jonas Urba
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Tarrytown, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Many feel your frustration. Not to make excuses but employers are dealing with a new set of circumstances every day. Some are closing for good.

I assume that you received unemployment benefits. Those require you to look for work. Also every employment discrimination complaint requires mitigation of damages or ongoing job searches. Employment claims require work for both lawyer and client.

That means you should be keeping detailed records of the jobs you will be applying for effective now. You will need those records.

You have 1 year to file a complaint with the NYS Division of Human Rights. You should probably consider applying for your prior position. It's inconceivable that you would not be the most qualified for it no? They may offer you the job after you file your complaint with NYS DHR if you were or are being discriminated.

COVID is being used as an excuse by some employers. But employers are allowed to make mistakes. They can also change their minds. And in today's world they may not know what their operation will look like first of the year.

If discrimination was a motivating factor file your complaint within 1 year of being laid off or furloughed. Many are resolved short of hearing which may include yours if there was discrimination of some kind?

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