Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP Discusses Recent Examples of COVID-19 Workplace Retaliation

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As most of us have been staying home during the coronavirus pandemic, certain “essential” business employees have been diligently reporting to work. These employees are naturally exposed to more danger than the rest of us. But, their exposure cannot be unreasonable. The law requires employers to take reasonable steps to provide these employees with a safe workplace environment.

Unfortunately, employers have not always stepped up to meet their obligations to their employees. Reports about employers failing to address health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 are widespread. Worse yet, in many instances, when the employees complain about their poor and/or unsafe working conditions, the employers retaliate against them for speaking out against pandemic hazards. 

Below, Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani discusses recent examples of COVID-19 workplace retaliation and certain laws that protect employees from workplace retaliation.

Examples of Coronavirus Workplace Retaliation

Many workers allege that they were fired for speaking out against unsafe working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Hospital workers have reported losing their jobs after complaining about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) while treating COVID-19 patients. 

Amazon reportedly fired a Staten Island warehouse worker who organized a protest over fears of a coronavirus outbreak. Amazon claims that it fired the employee after he violated social distancing guidelines. But, many individuals believe that he was the victim of workplace retaliation.

What Laws Protect Employees From Workplace Retaliation?

Both California and federal law protect employees from retaliation. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 bans employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the statute. This includes registering a health and safety complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

Additionally, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) bans employers from retaliating against employees for participating in “concerted activities.” The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently indicated that healthcare workers may have a claim if they lose their job after complaining about work conditions at healthcare facilities. 

In California, Labor Code 6310 prevents employers from retaliating against workers who complain about employee safety or health. A terminated employee may be able to file a claim alleging that his or her employer violated this law. Likewise, employees may file claims pursuant to Labor Code sections 1102.5 and 232.5 which protect employees against retaliation when the employees complain about certain protected working conditions or employer conduct. Further, an employee may be able to file a “common law claim” for retaliation due to COVID-19. This is often referred to as a Tameny claim.

About Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP

Yadegar Minoofar & Soleymani LLP is a civil litigation law firm that services clients throughout Los Angeles. Their workplace retaliation attorneys handle civil claims, including discrimination, harassment and retaliation cases.​

Source: Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP

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Tags: COVID-19, Employment Attorney, Workplace Retaliation


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