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Why COVID-19 Employment Lawsuits are on the Rise in California

While many businesses have found themselves struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several have been facing numerous legal issues to cope with maintaining their companies. Our Beverly Hills employment law team outlines how businesses of all sizes are observing a rise in lawsuits below.

The Lawsuits Being Filed

Even though vaccinations have steadily become more available and positive COVID-19 rates are decreasing, many employers have become too optimistic when relaxing their guidelines from the pandemic. From January 1, 2020, to April 19, 2021, over 500 COVID-related employment discrimination cases were filed in California. These cases are commonly centered around:

  • Wrongful termination
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Whistleblower retaliation

The Reason for the Rise

Unsafe Working Conditions

While many of these lawsuits have been a result of employees exposing customers and coworkers to the virus, some employees have filed suits on the basis of workplace health and safety, termination, and discrimination.

Some instances of unsafe working conditions include:

  • Unenforced mask-wearing
  • Unenforced social distancing
  • Lack of personal protective equipment and proper sanitization

Discrimination

As employees are beginning to return to work, discrimination claims, particularly related to age and pregnancy, have been seen to rise as well.

Even though the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits employers from preventing older or pregnant employees from returning to work, even if they believe they are acting in the employee’s best interests, employers may wish to keep their at-risk employees safe by keeping them at home. This has put them in the middle of several discrimination claims.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been another source of COVID-related discrimination claims. It governs what medical information employers are able to acquire from employees, as well as requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. This includes those who are at high risk for severe illness, such as COVID-19.

No matter the reason, no employee should have to face undue hardship at their place of work. If you or a loved one has endured wrongful termination or discrimination at their job, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (310) 340-1550 to schedule a consultation.