Wrongful Discharge Related to COVID-19

With stay-at-home orders and business closings, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the workforce in ways that most have not experienced in their lifetimes. Many companies have been forced to make difficult decisions, while employees are left frightened, confused, and unsure of their legal rights.

The experienced employment litigation attorneys at Shaw Cowart LLC have extensive experience in helping both employers and employees in complex matters of business law, including wrongful discharge.

How Wrongful Discharge Laws Apply to COVID-19

Terminations that are most likely to be considered wrongful in relation to COVID-19 deal with matters of public policy violations. An employer may not terminate a worker’s employment for:

  • Taking family leave
  • Complaining about or reporting illegal actions of an employer
  • Refusing to commit an illegal act

These laws can apply to COVID-19 in certain situations. For example, if the government has ordered a business to close, yet that employer still expects employees to report to work, that can be interpreted as asking them to commit an illegal act. Employees should not be expected to refuse a government-mandated order on behalf of an employer.

Similarly, an employee cannot be legally fired for adhering to a doctor’s order to self-isolate after exhibiting potential COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, the Family Medical Care Act gives employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave and subsequent job protection to deal with family and medical needs, as well as individuals who face childcare responsibilities that result from school closures.

Other Examples of Wrongful Discharge

Other illegal reasons for termination include:

  • Complaining about or reporting OSHA violations
  • Retaliation
  • Discrimination
  • Terminations that violate public policy

Business litigation cases can be incredibly complex, and require the knowledge, skill and resources of an experienced lawyer. Shaw Cowart LLP has helped both employees and employers in these matters. We have served as regional and national counsel for a wide range of clients, from small, locally-owned businesses, to public entities and Fortune 500 companies. We understand the law and know how to build your strongest case.

Schedule Your Wrongful Discharge Consultation Today

If you are in need of an experienced wrongful discharge attorney, contact Shaw Cowart LLP today at our Austin or Houston office online or at 512-499-8900 to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced lawyer.

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