Yes, provided you don’t qualify for FMLA leave. Unfortunately, the EEOC has ruled that the COVID-19 pandemic represents a “direct threat” to businesses and their employees. When such a direct threat exists, the EEOC has stated that no discrimination exists in terminating an employee with a “disability” that poses a direct threat, such as COVID-19.
However, based on the new legislation, nearly everyone will qualify for FMLA leave, therefore, it will be important to request FMLA leave from your employer once you discover that you have COVID-19 and will need to leave work.
While Virginia is an at-will state, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act expands FMLA coverage to almost every employee in Virginia who has been working for at least 30 calendar days. If you request FMLA leave for the Coronavirus, the FMLA will bar your employer from terminating you for taking that leave.
Additionally, COVID-19 Emergency Leave may allow you to keep your PTO during the first 10 days of your absence from work for COVID-19 related leave.
Your employer may be able to furlough you, or terminate you, however, they may not require you to work for less than minimum wage. Further, they are required to pay you for work you do. If you are a full time, exempt employee and you go into work even for one day in a week, they are required to pay you for that week (they may use your PTO to cover the other days however).
If you are an hourly worker then your employer must pay you for the work you do. In some cases, even if your employer sends you home early, you will still be entitled to “reporting” pay.
Yes, federal and state law provide for civil remedies for when your employer violates your rights. While it is unlikely that you will get your job back, a civil action can help you be made whole from your loss and bridge the gap into your next job.
Discrimination is not limited to race or gender. Age and Disability are relevant factors as well. Call Brandon T. Bybee, P.L.C. if you believe your employer has discriminated against you.
You should likely immediately file for unemployment benefits, the typical week long wait for unemployment application has been waived.
However, if you believe your employer has eliminated exclusively employees over 40, you may have a claim for age discrimination. Call Brandon T. Bybee, P.L.C. to find out more.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act creates emergency paycheck coverage for employees, whether full or part time, who cannot work due to COVID-19. The FFCA ensures that your employer must pay you 2/3 of your hourly rate for work you miss for qualifying reasons, up to $511/day or $5,110 total.
You do not have to take your PTO beginning on April 2, 2020, you can request that your first ten (10) days be covered by COVID-19 Emergency leave and that your PTO be preserved.
Unfortunately, depending on how long you are out of work, it is unlikely. The applicable FMLA cap is $10,000 for 12 weeks of FMLA leave and the COVID-19 emergency pay is capped at $5,110 under certain circumstances.
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