As Congress passes stimulus bills to prop up our declining economy due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), many employees are nervous about how the virus may affect their job status. Given the shutdown affect the virus will have on businesses and events in Mississippi and the nation, it is fair to assume that layoffs and downsizing will happen soon. Some employees may quarantine themselves and live in isolation because they have COVID-19 or have come into contact with someone who does. Some employers may be angry their employees are forced to quarantine and decide to fire their employees for isolating themselves.
The United States has certain protections in place to protect workers from these types of scenarios. First, the Families and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows for 12 weeks of job-protected leave. The FMLA only applies to private employers with 50 or more employees. Employees could also be covered if they are quarantining out of an abundance of caution due to possible exposure or if they test positive for the Coronavirus. The Americans with Disabilities Act or (ADA) protects workers from being discriminated against based on a disability. The ADA applies to employers who have 15 or more employees. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and other factors, being infected with COVID-19 could qualify as a disability under the ADA.
Finally, some states have laws against employers taking negative employment action. Mississippi has a public policy exception concerning whistleblowers who report illegal activity at their place of employment. Other states have used this public policy exception to allow for sick workers who quarantine themselves to be protected from being fired.
If you or a loved one are fired for isolating in Mississippi or have questions during these uneasy times, please call Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A., at (601)-948-8005 or contact us through our live chat on our website. We have lawyers dedicated to helping you and your family protect your rights. We would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing many parts of our world, but it doesn’t have to be the reason you end up without a job.