If you are like many California employees, you likely have some concerns over coronavirus and your workplace. Is it safe enough? Are you unknowingly being exposed? What’s more, if your company’s workplace policies and practices don’t make you feel safe while on the job, you may be wondering what you can do and what legal recourses are available to you. Do you report your concerns to your supervisor? Request that you are allowed to work from home? What if your supervisor or employer retaliates against you for expressing your fears? Read on for answers to some of our most commonly asked questions relating to coronavirus and safety in the workplace.
Share Your Concerns
If you are apprehensive about the safety of your work environment in light of coronavirus, you will want to immediately express your reservations to your supervisor. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows employees to engage in “concerted activity for mutual aid or protection,” which means you have the legal right to ask management to correct unsafe workplace conditions. In the event of an immediate danger, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides that you can refuse to work. Further, the NLRA protects concerted activity by employees which can includes a refusal to work because of unsafe working conditions.
Work From Home
In light of coronavirus and the shelter at home order currently in place in California, you may feel more comfortable working from home. Employers have an incentive to keep their employees healthy and happy, and while they are not required to allow employees to work from home, in some situations, it may be in everyone’s best interests.
Coronavirus workplace retaliation can occur when your employer punishes you, the employee, for engaging in a legally protected activity, such as reporting an unsafe workplace. Federal and state laws offer a whistleblower protection policy that prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for raising concerns about safety and health conditions. Retaliation can include obvious adverse job action, such as demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, or job or shift reassignment, and it can also be subtler. Subtle signs of workplace harassment can include minimizing or ignoring your concerns, turning co-workers against you, or generally creating a hostile work environment.
These times are extremely stressful for many employees in California. The fear of unsafe workplace conditions and/or losing your job for reporting it should not be an additional stressor. For a no obligation consultation about your workplace situation, contact the Law Offices of Eric A. Boyajian today.