As New Jersey advances through the stages of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees returning to work or experiencing an uptick in their job duties and hours may be faced with unique challenges and decisions.
For instance, what if an employee does not feel safe returning to work or simply cannot return due to a lack of childcare or other reasons? Furthermore, upon a return to work, what if an employee is put in situations by their employer that they feel are unsafe or if it is clear that their employer is not taking proper precautionary steps to protect its employees?
Lastly, and most importantly, what if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs at a workplace or an employee becomes sick due to their exposure to the virus while performing their job? These are important questions that will assuredly face employees as we make our return to normalcy and continue to weather potential future outbreaks.
Fortunately, despite these pressing concerns, employees within New Jersey have some of the most expansive employment protections in the Country at their disposal. These protections not only include laws that were specifically passed to address COVID-19 issues, but also statutory protections that have spanned decades within the State which may provide assistance and avenues of relief for aggrieved employees. For example, employees who become sick at work may be able to seek relief for the physical consequences of this infection.
Furthermore, and no matter where an employee contracts the virus, employees may be protected under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), which generally prevents employers from taking action against employees for qualifying disabilities such as a COVID-19 infection and also requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s course of treatment.
Finally, an employee who is retaliated against by their employer for objecting to or reporting unsafe working conditions, including practices that fail to account for the dangers of COVID-19, may be a whistleblower who is afforded relief under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”).
Therefore, as we begin to return to normalcy within New Jersey, it is important that employees know their rights and take action if these rights are violated.
Contact Us Today
If you feel that your employer is putting you or other employees in danger, has terminated or taken some other action against you relating to a COVID-19 infection, or if you simply have other questions or concerns about your employer’s actions or your rights within the workplace, contact the employment law attorneys at O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble at (908)-928-9200 or through our website for a free consultation.