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COVID-19 & Workplace Rights

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In New York State, more than 35,000 individuals have died from COVID-19. In addition, more than 1,000,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. So many aspects of life have been impacted by the global pandemic and workers’ rights have been no exception.

At Brown Kwon & Lam, we know the fragility of COVID-19 has made workers’ fear of safety, employment security, and rights become a balancing act. We’ve compiled a list of COVID-19 workplace rights issues you should know.

COVID-19 Workers Rights & Disability

As a result of COVID-19, employers had to rethink their employment policies when it comes to disability discrimination. As the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many traditional office jobs into a remote setting, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has developed accommodation guidelines. Accommodations include:

Under federal and state laws, employees are still protected by the:

COVID-19 Vaccination & Discrimination

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes readily available, employees may wonder what obligations they will have to employers if they have a religious objection or medical objection to the coronavirus vaccination. If you have a religious objection to the COVID-19 vaccine, here is what you need to know.

Whistleblower Protections and Coronavirus – Workplace Rights

Since the onset of COVID-19, many New York employees have feared retaliation or have already faced wrongful termination as a result of raising concerns for workplace safety during a global pandemic.

As a result, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted protections for New York State and City employees during this uneasy time. Employees may file complaints against employers for the following reasons including, but not limited to:

Unfortunately, employees still fear retaliation as whistleblower protections are still not in a place they need to be as the virus is one year in.

COVID-19 Sick Leave Laws

Though not directly tied to COVID-19, New York State has put a paid sick leave law into place. Effective September 30, employers are now required to begin recording accruals for paid sick leave for every employee, and the accrued time will carry over year to year starting January 1, 2021. New York State Sick Leave explains that employees are to receive sick leave benefits at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. An employer can also elect to frontload all sick time at the start of the year. The minimum hours that an employee may use each year are determined based on employer size and income as follows:

Sick leave time under the law can be used for any of the following conditions for the employee or the employee’s family member:

New York State Employee Rights In COVID-19 Era

New York employees have a right to a safe work environment, to be free of discriminatory practices, and to take care of the ones they love. But when COVID-19 complicates your day-to-day, you have options.

Brown Kwon & Lam is here for your New York employee rights in the COVID-19 era. Contact us today.

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