COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Know Your Rights

by: John C. Cook

It is only a matter of time before employers begin to lay off employees due to the Covid-19 crisis. Some lay-offs may be inevitable. But not all employee terminations necessarily will be legal. Just because an employer says it must lay you off due to the crisis, that does not necessarily mean it is true. Here are some things to look for.

  1. Are people being laid off, but then replaced by new hires? If so, that really isn't a layoff.
  2. Do you notice any patterns among those laid off? For example, a disproportionate number of women or minorities in the layoff pool. Or, are people with disabilities, those who recently used Family and Medical Leave, those receiving accommodations, or those who have made discrimination or whistleblower complaints disproportionately affected? If so, certain selections for layoffs may violate the law.
  3. Not all actions will involve layoffs. For example, if you need extended leave due to the virus because of a compromised immune system, you may have the right to an extended leave accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). If your employer has 50 or more employees, you may be eligible for up to 90 days of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). If your employer carried short term disability insurance, this leave may be paid.

So, if your employment is impacted and you are unsure of your rights, please contact us at 703-865-7480 and schedule a consultation. We are here to help.

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