The highly contagious nature of Covid-19 and the large number of essential workers in New York City raises the issue of what protections employees have if they call in sick or are required to quarantine or self-isolate. The large number of state and federal laws can be confusing, so here are the current protections and rights for New York workers who contract coronavirus in this pandemic.
New York Laws in Place to Protect Workers
Employees who contract Covid-19 should call in sick and avoid going into work to limit exposing others to the virus. You cannot be fired for calling in sick in this case if you are self-isolating or in quarantine due to an order originating from:
- New York State
- The Department of Health
- Any governmental agency
The protection against termination will exist as long as the order exists.
- The Family Medical Leave Act protects eligible employees unable to work because of a serious health condition
- If you have any underlying condition or disability that makes you more vulnerable to catching coronavirus, you have protections under the Americans with Disability Act
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act makes it illegal to discriminate against, terminate, or otherwise discipline employees who try to take their legally entitled leave.
Remedies for Unfair Treatment at Work Due to Coronavirus
If you are being treated unfairly at work as a result of contracting Covid-19, there are options you can pursue to seek relief. Depending on your situation, an attorney can advise you on the benefit of remedies such as:
- Filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Filing a complaint with the NYC Commission on Human Rights
- Filing a compliant with the New York State’s Office of the Attorney General
- Filing a complaint with New York State’s Division of Human Rights
Rights to a Reasonable Accommodation
If an employee needs an accommodation at work due to Coronavirus treatment or recovery, employers have a legal obligation to reasonably accommodate a short or long-term disability if accommodations are needed for an employee to perform their job. This may include offering the employee the opportunity to work remotely or changing their work hours.
New York Employment Lawyer
In uncertain times, some New York employees risk contracting Covid-19 as they continue to go to work and face exposure from coworkers or customers who may have the virus. Those who do contract the virus may face stigmatization due to fear of the virus, but they should be aware of their right to make sure they do not face negative consequences at work or lose their job. To get guidance and learn more about protections available for coronavirus-positive employees and an employer’s legal obligations, contact the experienced employment lawyers at MOWK Law. We know how to help employers and employees alike avoid costly legal missteps and have years of experience looking out for the best interests of all our clients. Contact us today with your questions and to get started.