The coronavirus pandemic has spawned hundreds of employment-related charges and lawsuits, including dozens of class actions.
Many of the recent claims have alleged retaliation for voicing safety or other legal concerns; leaves of absence for COVID-19 related illness, caregiving obligations, school closures, and accommodations under the ADA, FMLA, and FFCRA; discrimination in connection with the handling of accommodation requests and denials; breach of contract due to layoffs, furloughs, or other changes in employment; WARN and state specific mini-WARN violations due to mass layoffs and lengthy furloughs without the requisite notice; and wage and hour violations due to remote working without accurate timekeeping and overtime pay.
Among these lawsuits, claims have included:
  • A gender discrimination claim where a pregnant woman alleges she was furloughed due to the pandemic then replaced by a non-pregnant person.
  • A disability discrimination claim where an employee was allegedly forced to divulge a multiple sclerosis diagnosis to justify accommodation requests, and was later fired.
  • A sexual harassment claim where the employer allegedly used the pandemic as an excuse to end her employment after she refused her boss' sexual advances.
  • A worker who was sent home with flu-like symptoms and fired after presenting a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • An FMLA claim where a worker was terminated after missing work over 30 days because he was quarantining due to multiple positive COVID-19 test results and lingering symptoms.
  • Another gender discrimination claim where a woman was terminated for purported performance reasons after trying to juggle care for her two young children while she worked from home. 
Don't Be Next!
Legal compliance cannot be ignored simply because we are operating in unprecedented times.  Employers need to ensure their front-line managers and Human Resources professionals are well-trained with a solid understanding of their responsibilities and employee rights. 
Do you have questions about training programs and other ways to prevent pandemic-related litigation?  Don't worry - we can help!
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