COVID-19 Employment Law Q&A by State

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COVID-19 Employment Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for California on
Q: Can I sue my manager for hipaa violation?

I took a covid test and my manager sent me a text saying she “snuck on the covid site and seen my results” without me asking her to do so.

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on May 4, 2021

No. HIPAA is a medical provider and insurer statute, not an employer statute. However there are laws that protect an employee's medical privacy. That said, in today's climate there is nothing unlawful about an employer knowing your status as infected or not with the virus. Anyway, the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Michigan on
Q: Company keeping vacation time. Is this legal?

Company is based in Florida. Company asked employees to take vacation time (without taking days off) last year to “get the dollars off the year end books” with a promise to make it up to employees post-pandemic. Just announced everyone who gave up time will get 2 additional days this year, but... Read more »

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on May 3, 2021

From the employee's perspective, it depends. Generally the employer and employee can agree to modify the employment relationship anytime.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Workers' Compensation for New York on
Q: if on STD and HR calls and says someone one saw you at the hotel you stay at while working is that legal? I had a stroke

Called once to see how I was than immediately called back stating someone saw me and explain

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Apr 27, 2021

It could depend on the timeline and the severity. And those are things that a physician, not an attorney, is qualified to speak about meaningfully. The fact that you were at a hotel, in and of itself, is not evidence of the absence of a disability. Your post remains open for two weeks. Consider... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Michigan on
Q: Is it legal for an employer to fire a worker for catching covid and potentially exposing people on accident?

This is in Michigan. My friend was last in work on Friday and had symptoms starting Sunday the. called into work on Monday and hasn’t gone in since the Friday she left. She was fired on Tuesday for the reasons being “You caught covid and potentially exposed me and my family” they terminated... Read more »

Jay D Mukerji
Jay D Mukerji answered on Apr 21, 2021

I am sorry to hear about this situation. It is impossible to answer without more details. Without knowing all the details, At-will employment means an employer can fire a person at any time for any reason except an illegal one. There are numerous conflicting policies/laws at play, including... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Oklahoma on
Q: Can my husband's company require him to get the COVID vaccine? It's a private company with over 25 employees.

We are declining the vaccine based on our religious beliefs. Is this a violation of The Title VII inequality act of 1964? He was told he can work from home, but NEVER return to the office if he does not get the vaccine. Is this legal?

Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson answered on Apr 15, 2021

An employer can require its employees to get a vaccination with the exception of the employee having a medical condition or in some instances, a religious belief. I don't see an issue with the employer requiring him to work from home. More information may be needed however. I would reach out... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Maryland on
Q: can my employer force us and make it mandatory to get the covid vaccine or be fired

my job made it mandtatory to get the vaccine or lose your job...is that legal? can they do that?

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Apr 14, 2021

Generally, the answer to this question is yes. However, there are two main exceptions: (1) if you have a disability that renders you unable to receive the vaccine; or (2) if you have a religious objection to the vaccine. If you fall under one or both of these, then you are permitted to request an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Oregon on
Q: Termination for not getting covid vaccine

Is a religious accommodation request my only option in the state of Oregon to prevent me from getting terminated for not getting a vaccine? Its my understanding that because there is only an EUA and no FDA approval,covid vaccine can't be mandated.

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Mar 30, 2021

Generally, employers are permitted to require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, there are two exceptions to this rule - the religious accommodation you've mentioned, and an exception for individuals with disabilities who are unable to receive the vaccine because of their... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for New Jersey on
Q: Am I suppose to get paid for time of if exposed to covid 19 ?

if another employee tested positive for covid and the doctor advised to stay home for 10 days after exposure.

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Mar 23, 2021

The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law that governs the payment of wages, and it only requires that you be paid for time you are actually performing work. So, while employers have the option to pay employees for time off for illness or injury, it is not required under the FLSA.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for New York on
Q: Garden leave.. I signed a contract 2yrs ago agreeing to give 90 days notice if I resign.

My wife got pregnant and in January (3 months) I informed my employer and asked if I could work from home. (Currently I work in our office 4 days a week on a IT help desk answering calls and going to users to fix technical issues.)

My wife’s Dr. wrote a note advising that if possible... Read more »

Carrie Dyer
Carrie Dyer answered on Mar 10, 2021

The ADA does not apply to you here, so there is no legal obligation for your employer to honor a request for an accommodation of working from home due to your wife's pregnancy. If you entered into a contract agreeing to give 90 days' notice of your resignation, and you resign... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law on
Q: I have been asked to sign a form at work regarding the fact I have declined my covid vaccine and so I won’t get sick pay

I have been asked to sign a form at work regarding the fact I have declined my covid vaccine and this therefore means I may not receive sick pay if I contract covid along with some other statements I need to agree to, and I don’t know what my rights are if I don’t sign it

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Mar 3, 2021

Since there is no federal law that mandates paid sick time or any other form of paid time off, your employer may limit or condition your receipt of sick pay it does offer. Your employer's above condition on sick pay is lawful.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Health Care Law for California on
Q: Is it legal for an employer to terminate you if you’re dying at the hospital?

My father is being hospitalized from COVID and his prognosis is grim. It’s likely he will not be returning to work indefinitely. I need to update his address on file to my address as he no longer lives at the house he was renting. I have to go through the HR department at his work in order to... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Mar 1, 2021

An employer can lawfully terminate an employee who is out on leave if the leave is indefinite and there is no communication to the employer that suggests additional unpaid leave would allow the employee to return to work within a reasonably defined period of time. If he is terminated and dropped... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can my employer count my vacation eligibility time from post-pandemic-layoff rehire date rather than original hire date?

I began work Nov. 2019, and was "terminated" in March 2020 due to pandemic-related business downturn. I was rehired in June 2020, although I was not required to take a drug test again or submit my driving record again. I would have been eligible for paid vacation Nov. 2020, but now they... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Feb 25, 2021

Well, if they give you a raise it looks like they are not having it both ways. Your vacation time is usually based on time accrued and does not count time off for personal days, family leave---or when you are laid off.

Year to date money means just that. If you were paid x dollars then...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Federal Crimes and White Collar Crime for Texas on
Q: Can I file a lawsuit to have a fraudulent W-2 revoked?

Can I file a lawsuit to have a fraudulent w-2 revoked?

I am an independent contractor.My life line during the pandemic depends on gig worker assistance. A company fraudulently re-characterized me as a w-2 employee after I terminated all business relationship with them due to consistent... Read more »

Teri A. Walter
Teri A. Walter answered on Feb 24, 2021

I don't know what claims you could make yourself, but you could report the situation to the IRS. If they claim you were a W-2 employee, they should have been paying payroll withholding, and weren't. That can result in a 100% penalty against the company, and against anyone who had... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Employment Law for California on
Q: Is there any legal standing for harassment protection from being forced to wear a face mask as condition of employment?

I am being forced to wear a mask at my desk. I already got covid and recovered in a couple of days.

Louis George Fazzi
Louis George Fazzi answered on Feb 23, 2021

The short answer is no. Even though you were fortunate to recover from Covid-19, you can still spread the virus to others. Your employer is most likely required by your county health department to continue requiring all employees to wearing a mask if you are otherwise in an indoor, office setting... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Florida on
Q: Should i get paid for working myself and another assistants job?

Got hired on into a 3 assistant position. After Covid, was down to myself and 1 other assistant. This assistant would call out/quit/not show up 2-3 times out of the week on a weekly basis. This would leave me alone to hold up the entire Office and all the patients by myself. First asked owner of... Read more »

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Feb 23, 2021

No, it's apparently not discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or other suspect classification. Other than that kind of discrimination, an employer can employ, or not employ, whoever the employer wants. And no, they don't have to pay you for, in effect, working multiple jobs at once.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for North Carolina on
Q: Can I sue for an employer giving me grief and writing me up due to school schedule issues caused by COVID?

I am being constantly harrassed by my employer due to the fact that I have kids, and the current school schedule has caused me to be late. I have also requested the same schedule that has been allowed for another employee, but was denied the same curtesy.

Ina Shtukar
Ina Shtukar answered on Feb 13, 2021

Are you a member of a protected class? Based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability? If you are a female and your coworker is a male individual, you could have a potential claim for discrimination. Similarly, if you are an African American and your coworker is white, you may... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Employment Law and Workers' Compensation for California on
Q: My friend's boss was covid positive last week Thursday, but he showed up to work today on Monday. He won't leave too.

How can she protect herself and her co-workers and does she have a legal case?

Ina Shtukar
Ina Shtukar answered on Feb 9, 2021

Interesting scenario! If your fried becomes sick (only if she becomes sick), she would probably have a cause of action under the workers' comp act. Many states now have a presumption for COVID, which makes it work related and compensable. However, based on the fact that the boss was aware of... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Texas on
Q: What does my Appeal mean?

I received both ruling. I am not sure if I will get unemployment benefits after my appeal. That is what it says and I am not sure what exactly does it mean.

Valid Claim:We affirmed the previous ruling.

Separation from work : We reversed the previous ruling.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Feb 3, 2021

A Texas attorney could advise best, but your post remains open for two weeks. As a GENERAL matter in ANY type of case, if an appeal contains multiple elements, courts could rule categorically on them, denying some and affirming others. A Texas attorney who works in Employment Law would have the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Washington DC on
Q: Washington DC employer refuses employment verification.

Last year my employment was terminated by a non-profit based out of Washington DC. It was because I anonymously blew a whistle on my supervisor's conduct. I was told if someone were to call for employment verification, the organization would only give out the start and the end date.... Read more »

Matthew T. Famiglietti
Matthew T. Famiglietti answered on Feb 2, 2021

It is highly unusual for a former employer not to give verification of employment of a former employee. Usually the verification is very general, for example Mr Smith worked for Company A from Jan 1 2020 to Jan 1 2021. You would need to contact a licensed attorney in DC for a more in depth... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Do 1099 contractors have rights regarding possible COVID exposure?

I’m a photographer (1099 contractor) for a real estate business in California that makes virtual tours using business owned equipment. I have done nearly 50 listings, mostly residential, spanning the last 7 months.

In many instances, not all, the listing has been vacant and I signed... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Jan 30, 2021

An independent contractor's rights and duties are defined by the contract between you and the other party to the contract. For the most part, laws enacted to protect employees will not protect independent contractors, with some exceptions. Whether your contractual partner can force you to... Read more »

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