Employer COVID-19 Misconduct Compensation
California employment law attorneys help workers seek justice for preventable illnesses
As businesses across the country reopened following lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they had an obligation to heed guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and other authorities. These standards were created to protect workers and consumers, but, unfortunately, not every employer took the warnings to heart. Compliance required an investment of time and money, which some companies simply did not care to make. As a result, workers became sick, and some even died from the disease. If you or a loved one was infected by COVID-19 because an employer failed to implement basic protections, you may be entitled to compensation. For decades, Mastagni Holstedt, APC has helped injured California workers assert their rights to compensation for workplace injuries and occupational illnesses. We are ready to help you understand your legal options and take action if warranted.
Obtaining compensation for COVID-19 infection
As the COVID-19 pandemic prompted business closures across the country, many state governments wanted to provide a process for reopening that would protect businesses from liability for viral spread that was out of their control. In California, the State Assembly has proposed legislation that would shield businesses from liability as long as they scrupulously observed all applicable state and local heath laws, regulations and protocols. Under this standard, businesses would be protected from claims based on simple negligence. An injured party would have to prove a higher level of culpability that amounts to gross negligence, willful misconduct or unlawful conduct by the business.
In general, an employer has a duty to provide a reasonably safe work environment. Depending on the particular workplace, this might mean supplying employees with suitable safety equipment. External factors, such as the pandemic, can alter what reasonable safety measures need to be taken. Under the pandemic guidelines, employers might need to supply personal protective equipment and sanitizing products. They could also have to implement hygienic protocols designed to prevent spread. A business that refused to address these issues could be found to have committed willful misconduct, and could be held legally responsible for harm done to workers who became infected. These types of cases are fact-specific and require thorough investigation by an experienced employment law attorney to determine if a potential claim exists.
Retaliation against employees who refuse to work during the pandemic
Throughout the pandemic, the U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has repeatedly reminded employers that it is illegal to retaliate against workers who report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. If you refused to work because your employer did not implement sufficient safety protocols, threats made against you are illegal. If you were fired for refusing to work, your employer could be liable for wrongful termination, which might make you eligible for monetary compensation and/or reinstatement. Our employment law attorneys can review your circumstances and advise you about your rights.
Schedule a free consultation with our employment lawyers in Northern and Southern California
Mastagni Holstedt, APC helps workers assert their rights to a safe workplace and obtain compensation for an employer’s willful misconduct. To schedule a free consultation, call or contact us online. We have offices in Sacramento, Rancho Cucamonga, Pleasanton, Redwood City and Stockton.