In recent months, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread across the globe and majorly impacted the United States. The virus is spreading easily, which explains how quickly it has traveled around the world. As a result, individuals and businesses find themselves scrambling to identify what to do. To help stop the spread of the disease, people with exposure to the Coronavirus and people exhibiting certain symptoms may find themselves placed in quarantine.
The Public Health Services Act gives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) certain rights. Some of those rights include detaining and monitoring anyone within the United States who may carry a communicable disease. Officials from the CDC work with state and local authorities to determine quarantine for specific groups and individuals. However, this leaves people with many questions. For example, if I am quarantined, how will this affect my job? Will my employer fire me due to my inability to go to work?
Federal Laws Protecting Employees During Coronavirus Outbreak
When asking these questions, it is important to know that there are several federal laws that protect employees during an illness. These laws include the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The FMLA gives sick employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, protected leave for medical reasons. Individuals quarantined for the Coronavirus will need inpatient care and ongoing medical treatment. As such, the FMLA should protect quarantined workers for up to 12 weeks.
The ADA may also protect workers under quarantine. To qualify for ADA protection, workers must have a qualifying disability that limits their major life activities. Many argue that quarantine impacts life activities greatly. The more symptoms of Coronavirus you have, the more likely you are to qualify for ADA protection. This means that your employer cannot terminate you simply because of the Coronavirus infection.
Yet, California is an “at will” employment state. This means that your employer can fire you without cause for any reason. Thus, if you are unable to perform your job duties, then your employer may be well within their rights to terminate your employment. However, they must also provide reasonable accommodations to workers with illnesses and injuries. Giving a leave of absence is often considered a reasonable accommodation.
In many situations, quarantined individuals can work from home remotely. The rise of modern technology gives many workers flexibility. They can teleconference and communicate via emails on important office tasks. Employers with employees in quarantine may wish to expand their technology during this time. This can help employees work from home during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Will You Lose Your Job?
It is uncertain how the Coronavirus outbreak will affect the employment status for many employees. Whether quarantine will affect your job status depends on many factors. Yet, if you lost your job due to quarantine, it is important to speak to an experienced California employment lawyer. He or she may argue that termination during quarantine is against federal law. During this time, your lawyer can hold your employer accountable for any wrongful termination or discriminatory behavior and protect your employment rights.
Contact an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA for a Free Consultation
Do you have questions about how the Coronavirus outbreak will affect your employment? If you are in quarantine, will you lose your job? At Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C., our employment lawyers in Los Angeles, CA can help answer these questions. To learn more about your legal options, call us at (310) 273-3180 or fill out our confidential contact form.