COVID-19 Employment Issues
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the workplace. Rodman Employment Law’s COVID-19 Practice provides counsel to employees who have been, or fear they will be, laid off or furloughed without any proper basis in law or fact. Our attorneys are uniquely positioned to provide valuable legal advice during this crisis.
Severance Agreement Review.
As the number of layoffs mount, our clients need legal advice in connection with a severance offer which was presented to them at the time of termination. Before signing anything, employees need to understand what they are signing, and the legal consequences of what they are signing. This includes: (i) determining if the severance money offered is sufficient consideration (for the obligations that the employee agrees to undertake as a result of signing the severance agreement); (ii) figuring out whether the employee has any legal claims of value which may be used in negotiations to increase the severance offer; (iii) making sure that all terms are understood and can be reasonably satisfied; and (iv) understanding all future obligations required of the employee after signing the severance the agreement. Our attorneys are equipped to handle these reviews quickly and efficiently, providing maximum benefit to our clients.
Not every COVID-19 termination is lawful. This portion of our COVID-19 practice focuses on helping clients who have either been displaced from work already, or anticipate being laid off/terminated, and they believe that their employer has wrongly relied on COVID-19 as an excuse to let him or her go. In other words, the employer claims that the reason for the lay off or termination is COVID-19, but the client believes, and has evidence to support, that the employer is disingenuously using the pandemic as its basis to terminate the employee. Our attorneys know from years of experience that unlawful discrimination, retaliation, and harassment is rarely overt; instead, it is subtle and often occurs behind a façade created by the employer to block the employee’s ability to identify and report it. We suspect that there are unscrupulous employers who have or will use the Covid-19 pandemic (a.k.a. Coronavirus) as a pretextual basis to terminate someone because of their membership within a protected class, or because that someone objected to an illegal act or practice of the employer. Our experienced attorneys can identify such claims and plot a course for leveraging them to a favorable resolution.
Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations under the ADA.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees. The ADA covers both physical and mental disabilities (like anxiety, depression, and PTSD). COVID-19 has magnified the need for accommodations. Not all employers recognize their obligations under the law, to the detriment of employees. We are available to assist in requests for accommodations, and in dispute resolution as needed.
Violation of the New Laws Protecting Employees.
On March 18, 2020, the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the FFCRA), a temporary law under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which is intended to stymy the disastrous affects of COVID-19 on working families. Under FFCRA, eligible employers are entitled to paid sick leave from covered employers to deal with certain events arising out of the COVID-19 crisis. However, not all employers can be counted on to comply with the law. Our COVID-19 practice counsels clients when their employer has violated the law, by interfering with, restraining, or denying an employee’s exercise of or attempt to exercise any right under the FFCRA or FMLA, or by discriminating against an employee for opposing any practice made unlawful by the law. Employers who violate the FFCRA may be exposed to significant liability and damages. Our litigators are dialed into these issues.
If COVID-19 has adversely impacted your employment, we invite you to contact us to learn how we can help.
COVID-19 Links & Resources
- COVID-19 Layoff Separation Agreements – Three Things to Consider
- Parental Leave in the Age of COVID-19
- Returning to Work: Retaliation for Complaining about Unsafe Working Conditions
- Wearing a Mask at Work
- Can an Employer Reduce an Employee’s Salary During COVID-19?
- Traveling for Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Interviewing During COVID-19: 5 Unlawful Questions