Coronavirus: Can My Employer Fire Me for Having COVID-19?

a woman fired while wearing a mask

As the spread of COVID-19 continues, more and more employees are being affected. Unfortunately, not all employers are following laws that protect employees. If your employer fired you during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to understand your legal rights—especially if you have tested positive for the virus. If your employer has fired you for having COVID-19, you may be able to sue for wrongful termination. Our employment law attorneys explain what you can do if your employer fired you for having COVID-19.

Fired for Having COVID-19 & Requesting Time Off

If you tested positive for COVID-19 and/or you requested time off from work, and you were fired, you might be able to recover damages for disability discrimination, a failure to accommodate or retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

According to the FEHA, employers are not allowed to discriminate against an employee based on a disability. Under the FEHA, a physical disability includes a physiological disease, disorder, or condition that affects a person’s immunological or cardiovascular systems and limits a major life activity. The FEHA also covers people who are perceived as having a disability. Accordingly, an employee who has COVID-19, or has come in contact with someone with COVID- 19, would likely be covered under the FEHA.

Reasonable Accommodations

Under the FEHA, an employer must engage in a good-faith interactive process to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee with physical or mental disabilities. Reasonable accommodations include giving leaves of absence or allowing an employee to work from home. Under the FEHA, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees by firing that them for taking or requesting a leave of absence or a reasonable accommodation based on COVID-19.

If your employer has fired you for having COVID-19 or has refused a reasonable accommodation, contact our Los Angeles attorneys today at (213) 292-5444 to schedule a case review!

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