Virginia Coronavirus and Workplace Rights Lawyer

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the world to its core and spread like wildfire across the nation, forcing countless businesses to shutter. As states reopen, a growing number of employees are confused and concerned about their rights and how to best protect themselves from the risk of contagion. Countless essential workers have been on the front lines of this pandemic from the very beginning. While many employers are taking every precaution to ensure the safety and health of their employees per federal, state, and local authorities, some companies have fallen short.

If you are concerned about how your employer has responded to the pandemic, whether due to pressure to return to work too soon, inadequate mitigation efforts, or otherwise, you should speak with a Virginia coronavirus and workplace rights lawyer. An attorney can help you more fully understand your rights and review your situation to determine whether legal action may be warranted.

OSHA Guidance for Employers

Federal agencies were swift to release guidance for employers across the nation in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an extensive pamphlet containing a wide range of guidance. These recommendations included steps companies should take to prevent the spread of coronavirus and how to handle situations when employees exhibit symptoms or are exposed to someone with the virus. Employers have been advised to establish a coronavirus response plan, which includes recognizing scenarios where employees may be vulnerable to COVID-19 exposures as well as employees who may be particularly at risk, such as due to preexisting health conditions or age.

Companies should consider ways in which to most safely continue their operations amid the pandemic, such as by utilizing remote support and spacing out work periods so that the number of employees onsite is not too great at any given time. Measures to maintain proper social distancing consistent with federal and state guidance should also be considered. OSHA has also advised employers to facilitate interdisciplinary training of essential staff to maximize productivity safely amid the pandemic.

Equipping Employees to Recognize Signs

Businesses are encouraged to promote their employees’ safety by training and equipping workers to quickly recognize and respond to signs of illness in themselves or others while urging employees who feel ill to refrain from coming in to work at all. Employers should have areas where both employees and visitors can sanitize their hands, and make sure that trash and tissues are readily available. Work areas should be routinely cleaned and disinfected. Virginia employees troubled by a lack of protection of their rights in the workplace during coronavirus may want to speak with a lawyer.

Relief for Workers Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

As of April 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) took effect. This act permits workers whose company employs fewer than 500 workers to use two full weeks of emergency paid sick leave in certain situations. The act applies to workers told by their doctor to isolate or taking care of a person in isolation. Parents home with their child who is sick with coronavirus or unable to go to school due to coronavirus closures may avail themselves of this emergency paid sick leave. The act applies to individuals displaying signs of COVID-19 and awaiting official confirmation from a doctor as well.

If someone’s Virginia employer failed to comply with the provisions of this act, and docked their pay or forced them to come into work when they otherwise should have been permitted to take emergency leave, they should contact a coronavirus rights attorney.

Emergency Leave

Workers forced to take emergency leave upon the advice of their doctor, because of the stay at home order, or who are ill with coronavirus and pursuing an official confirmation, should receive full pay, the Virginia minimum wage, or federal minimum wage for up to two weeks. Whichever amount is higher is the amount that will be paid out. In other covered situations, the worker should receive 2/3 their salary, the Virginia minimum wage, or federal minimum wage (whichever is greater) for up to the two weeks stipulated by the act. There are daily wage caps for this emergency leave.

Contact a Virginia Coronavirus and Workplace Rights Attorney Today

If you are worried about the steps taken by your employer during the pandemic, you can call a Virginia coronavirus and workplace rights lawyer. An attorney can assess your situation and what legal recourse you may have. Call now to discuss your concerns with an experienced attorney.