Q: Can I get fired for contracting Covid -19? Does my employer have the right to refuse me hours since I became ill?
I work for a small business of less than 10 employees. I contracted covid over a month and a half ago. Initially my employer told me to take two weeks off, then told me to take the rest of December off and they would schedule me for more hours in January. Then Jan came and they told me they wouldn’t schedule me unless I test negative and have a doctors note. After providing such they said they would “let me know by early next week”. It’s already next week / over a week since I provided doctors notes and they have not given me any hours , updated me on the schedule or allowed me to work. They keep saying “schedule revisions are still in process”. At this point I have been out of work for seven weeks. Am I going to get fired? Is there something I can do? What can I say to my employer?
A: No one here can know if you are going to be fired. As to what your options could be, it would be important to know if you work for an employer that has at least 5 employees. If not, there is little you can do. If yes, then you are protected by the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which may give you some rights.
Under the FEHA, if you have a temporarily disabling condition as defined under that law, your employer must provide you with a reasonable accommodation of unpaid leave as long as it does not create an undue hardship on the employer. It is less well defined if you are not disabled but simply required to quarantine. We are in a very unique period of time and there is little legal precedent for us to rely upon to tell you what you may or may not be entitled to.
If the employer can be believed it might make sense to wait a bit longer for the employer to adjust the schedule. If not, it would be wise for you to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a free or low cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to you.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.