Top 5 Employment Law Issues In Los Angeles
Los Angeles was one of the cities hit hardest by COVID-19. Businesses closed their doors and employees either had to work through a pandemic, work under lockdown, or were laid off. As the world reopens post-pandemic, the relationship between employers and employees has changed considerably as businesses and consumers face supply shortages and inflation. Here are some top four issues that may arise for Los Angeles employees after the worst of COVID has passed by:
Medical Leave During a Pandemic
COVID variants and the upcoming Monkeypox disease will inevitably lead to a lot of medical leave being requested. California, and Los Angeles in particular, often have generous laws for employee medical leave especially post-COVID. State and local ordinances for employee sick leave include the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, California’s Supplemental Sick Leave Act, the City of Los Angeles Supplemental Sick Leave, and California’s Health Workplace Healthy Family Act. Additionally, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides additional protection for employees taking medical leave. An employment lawyer can help resolve disputes over an employee’s medical leave.
COVID-19 has lead to an explosion of new health ordinances and laws. Some employees may be inclined to report businesses that don’t follow such rules. However, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees who are blowing the whistle on workplace violations. It is similarly illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for seeking a COVID disability accommodation.
Employer retaliation is any adverse employment action taken against an employee who has filed a complaint of harassment, discrimination, or a workplace violation. California Labor Code section 1102.5 protects employees against retaliation for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency or to the employee’s supervisor or to another employee who has authority to investigate and correct workplace violations. An employment lawyer can help resolve disputes over an employee’s medical leave.
Wage and Hour Disputes
The COVID pandemic was soon followed by the Great Resignation, as millions of Americans either retired, quit their old jobs, or changed jobs. The shifting labor market has lead to increased disputes in wages, hours, and remote work. Wage disputes occur if an employee disputes the amount of wages they are paid or if they were not paid at all. An hour dispute occurs when an employer is accused of improperly calculating the hours an employee works, typically by underreporting hours such that an employee is paid less than what he or she works.
Finally, COVID has dramatically increased the number of workers who work from home. While remote work may cut down on the number of sexual harassment claims in the workplace, they may also increase potential disputes over pay disparity as well as conflicts over employee time off.
Disability Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodations
COVID-19 may not always be lethal, but it potentially cause long-term damage and disabilities. California and federal law protects the rights of employees who may become so disabled. Additionally, disabled employees also have a right to reasonable accommodation. Such reasonable accommodations may include time off to go to a hospital, wearing facial masks in the workplace, or remote work where feasible.
Employee Privacy Rights
Individuals have certain privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). However, HIPPA only prevents healthcare providers, such as nurses, or doctors, from disclosing private medical information about a patient. Employers may still ask whether an employee has been vaccinated provided that the employer is not a healthcare provider. Similarly, employees are still free to disclose whether they have been vaccinated without violating or waiving their HIPPA rights. An employer may require that an employee take a COVID test, especially if the employee is seeking a reasonable accommodation due to COVID.
Do I Need an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles?
If your employer has violated your legal rights as a worker, then you should consider speaking with a Los Angeles employment lawyer for further assistance. A skilled employment law attorney can help protect your interests and defend your rights under the law. Your attorney can also assist you in filing a lawsuit against an employer and/or colleague and in recovering damages for any losses that you suffered.
If you are an employer who is being used by a worker, then you should hire an employment law attorney immediately to represent you. Your attorney will be able to determine whether there are any defenses you can raise and can discuss the potential outcomes of your case.