Employee Rights Group, LLC, is implementing a social distancing policy to slow the spread of COVID-19 based on the recommendations of the public health authorities. So, our offices are closed to walk-ins and all visitors unless approved in advance. All appointments and meetings will be conducted by phone or videoconference until further notice. Thank you for your understanding as we work together to keep our clients, staff, and communities healthy.Are You Being Involuntarily Excluded From Your Workplace Due To Covid-19?
What are an employee rights in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and being involuntarily excluded from work when you are ready and able to work?
As a general matter, employers may direct employees not to report to work as a response to the pandemic and/or the economic impacts of the pandemic. That said, to the extent that an employer excludes employees from work due to their age, race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected category this may violate state and federal discrimination laws. Employees with disabilities have been asking a lot of questions about their rights and there is information about their rights on the EEOC's website here: What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19. So long as an employer does not discriminate in the manner it excludes employees from work then there are likely no violations of employee rights laws.
Regarding pay while absent from the workplace due to the pandemic and the effects of the pandemic, employers generally are not required to pay employees for periods that they are not working though see the the Department of Labor's webpage for more details. The State of Maine has passed legislation that will enhance eligibility for unemployment benefits to include situations where an employee is not working due to pandemic related reasons. Therefore, if you are out of work due to the pandemic you may be entitled to unemployment benefits. Here is a link to the Department of Labor's webpage with Covid-19 related information: Information About COVID-19. The federal government is also considering steps for providing financial relief for employees who are out of work due to the pandemic.
Please contact us for more detailed information if you are:
- In a situation where you are being required to report to work in a manner that you believe would endanger your health and safety;
- Denied the opportunity to work remotely due to a medical condition; or
- Experiencing discrimination in the manner your employer is responding to the pandemic.
We hope this information is helpful to you and that you are safe and well during this extraordinary time.