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How COVID-19 Has Affected Employment Law

The COVID-19 pandemic has created one of the worst jobs crises since the Great Depression in the 1930s. There is a real fear that the crisis will not only increase poverty but widen the gap of inequality. Our Houston employment law team outlines some of the ways the current health crisis has affected the employment atmosphere below.

Employment Litigation on the Rise

Even though vaccinations have steadily become more available and positive COVID-19 rates have decreased, many employers have become too optimistic when relaxing their guidelines from the pandemic. From January 30, 2020 to August 31, 2021, 3,404 employment litigation cases have been filed. These cases are commonly centered around:

  • Wrongful termination
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Whistleblower retaliation
  • Sick leave conflicts
  • Remote work

Why Employment Law Cases Have Sprung Up

Unsafe Working Conditions

While many of these lawsuits have been a result of employees exposing customers and coworkers to the virus, some employees have filed cases on the basis of workplace health and safety, termination, and discrimination.

Some instances of unsafe working conditions include:

  • Unenforced mask-wearing
  • Unenforced social distancing
  • Lack of personal protective equipment and proper sanitization

It is no secret the unsafe conditions described above leave employees at further risk of contracting the virus. When employers cut corners and become careless, their employees have the right to pursue compensation for the damages done.

Discrimination

As some employees have returned to work in-person, discrimination claims, particularly related to age and pregnancy, have also seen a rise.

Even though the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits employers from preventing older or pregnant employees from returning to work, even if they believe they are acting in the employee’s best interests, employers may wish to keep their at-risk employees safe by making them stay at home. This has forced them in the middle of a number of discrimination claims, whether the grounds are legitimate or not.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been an additional source of COVID-related discrimination claims. It dictates what medical information employers are able to acquire from employees, as well as requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. This includes those who are at high risk of severe illnesses, such as COVID-19.

Get in Touch With Kennard Law, P.C. Today

No matter the reason, no employee should have to face undue hardship at their place of work. Our experienced employment law team is dedicated to protected employee rights with compassionate services and a personalized approach.

If you or a loved one has endured wrongful termination or discrimination at their job, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (855) 499-4514 to schedule a consultation.