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Covid 19 Issues
Are You Afraid to go Back To Work?
The law on COVID-19 is quickly changing, but our lawyers are up to date on the latest developments and changes to your rights as an employee in these uncertain times. Our employment lawyers have the skills and knowledge to help you work towards a resolution with your employer, and if a resolution is not possible, they can help you understand your options for moving forward. The pandemic has changed the workplace in many ways, and our lawyers have the necessary skill and experience to help you understand and assert your legal rights. Let us help you.
- Employers are required to keep the workplace safe, and employees are not required to work in an unsafe workplace. Some context is required here, because some industries are inherently dangerous. However, even members of those dangerous workforces are entitled to protection from safety hazards, and should not feel they must work in situations that are unnecessarily unsafe.
- COVID-19 issues in the workplace can sometimes trigger human rights complaint for discrimination (i.e., someone has been terminated because they have had to miss work due to their child’s daycare or school being closed due to an outbreak, or someone is being forced to return to work when they have a medical condition that requires they continue to work from home). The deadlines for filing human rights complaints are relatively short, and so it is very important that if you believe you are being discriminated against at work due to your employer’s COVID-19 policies or rules that you get legal advice as soon as possible.
COVID-19 Resolutions FAQ
- Do I have to go back to work during COVID-19?
Some employers have specific limitations imposed by the government, and they have to follow those. If your employer is allowed to be open, they are required to take steps to keep the workplace safe, like physical barriers, sanitization, masks policies, and distancing measures. If you are vulnerable to COVID because of age or other health reasons, your employer may need to go even further or may be required to allow you to stay home.
- My employees do not want to come back to work during COVID-19. What can I do?
If you are an employer experiencing this issue, there are general rules and specific rules. You have to ensure you are allowed to be open and follow the government COVID rules, and to generally do everything within reason to keep the risk of infection low. For specific employees who are older or have health conditions, you may have to do even more or may not be able to insist they return to work right now. We highly recommend you speak to an employment lawyer on this before major mistakes are made.
- My employer is strongly encouraging all employees to get vaccinated. Can I get fired if I choose not to get vaccinated?
Employers may feel obligated to encourage all employees to get a vaccination in order to get back to business as usual. Whether or not your employer can legally force you to get vaccinated, or can end your employment if you choose not to get vaccinated is a complicated legal issue, and the answer depends on the specific facts of each case. If you feel you are being pressured into getting vaccinated, speak with an employment lawyer to learn more about your legal rights concerning your personal health in the workplace, and how the law can protect you.
- If I was dismissed for refusing to get COVID vaccinated, should I be getting severance?
If you were dismissed for refusing to get COVID vaccinated, you may be entitled to severance if there is no just cause for dismissal. Whether there is just cause will depend on your particular case, but relevant factors include whether you have a disability or religious exemption, whether you work remotely, and whether you work in a setting with people who are elderly or have compromised immune systems.