COVID-19 UPDATE: White & Hilferty is open! Our team is working remotely and offering confidential consultations via phone, e-mail, and video conferencing. Learn More from Partner, Vincent White.

Protecting Your Rights in the Workplace

Coronavirus and Workplace Rights

Coronavirus Employment FAQ’s

With millions of Americans now facing job loss or other employment issues due to the Coronavirus, we wanted to share some helpful resources about the many employment issues individuals are experiencing. As the Law Firm representing the most employees in New York, let us help protect your workplace rights.

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Can my employer require me to come to work under the threat of Coronavirus? 

You have the right to work remotely by requesting a reasonable accommodation for an underlying disability that makes you high-risk for Coronavirus, and where the doctor says that exposure would worsen the condition (e.g., asthma, diabetes, COPD).

The FMLA and other Federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees who are unable to work due to a serious health condition from disability discrimination.  Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to such employees.

Work from Home Accommodations after Covid-19 

NYC offers even broader protections than the ADA by requiring employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s disability and engaging in an interactive dialogue.  Employers must be flexible and cannot deny the request by simply say No.  Learn more about working remotely as a reasonable accommodation after Covid.

If you have been turned down for a work from home accommodation after Covid-19, then it is time to speak with an employment attorney to protect your rights.  The argument that you should be able to work from home to accommodate a disability has never been stronger.

Matilda’s Law For Employees in New York

Governor Cuomo announced Matilda’s Law to enhance the social distancing measures that we are all dealing with in a COVID-19 world.  Non-essential businesses cannot force you to go to work or threaten you if you do not work at a place other than your home.   If you work for an essential business, employers cannot require you to go to a worksite if your job can performed at home or you are high-risk.

If I or a family member have Coronavirus, can I take paid time off work?

Under the new Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employees of companies with less than 500 employees can take up to two weeks (80 hours) of emergency paid sick leave if:

  • subject to a quarantine order or caring for someone subject to a quarantine or self-isolation order;
  • advised by a doctor to self-quatantine due to Coronavirus health concerns or to care for someone who has been advised to quarantine;
  • seeking a medical diagnosis because of Coronavirus symptoms;
  • caring for their child because their school or day care is closed due to Coronavirus (up to 12 weeks).

Am I eligible for NY Paid Family Leave under the new COVID-19 Laws?

New York State and City laws provide even more protection than the federal statutes for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The New York State Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides eligible employees up to 10 weeks of paid leave to care for a seriously ill family member; 12 weeks in 2021.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, NY passed a new Paid Family Leave Law that also provides paid leave for anyone subject to a government quarantine order and unable to work remotely, or parents of a child subject to a government quarantine.

NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law

Employers with at least five employees who work more than 80 hours a year in NYC must provide up to five days (40 hours) of paid leave.  Employers with less than five employees must provide up to five days of unpaid leave.  Employees can choose to use safe leave for themselves or to care for a family member in the event that a public official closes their business or child’s school due to a public health emergency.

Can My Employer Require Me To Work from Home?

Employers are prohibited from requiring employees to work from home because of a perceived or actual disability if it would cause an adverse employment action such as a pay cut or demotion.  Employers can prohibit you from travelling if it is part of your job, but cannot requre you to quarantine at home at all times.  However, they may prohibit you from the office after travelling for safety or health concerns.

Coronavirus & Workplace Rights Video Series

Watch our Coronavirus Videos to learn more about the many issues facing employees in today’s COVID-19 world.   Employment attorney Vincent White discusses what rights there are for both employers and employees in New York under the Coronavirus pandemic.

New York City Employment Attorneys

Schedule Your FREE Legal Evaluation

The best thing you can do is speak to an Employment Attorney to learn what your rights are and how we can help protect your job and income.  If you have any questions about a situation with your job because of the Coronavirus pandemic, please don’t hesitate to call 646-698-8990 or Contact Us for a free consultation and learn your rights. We are here to help.

Matilda's Law in New York